Early Morning in the Park

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I thought I’d take advantage of the panoramic option on my phone this morning and get a shot of the park where I take Charlie (he’s in the midground on the path on the left, by the way). The sun was shining and casting a beautiful warm glow, and everything was peaceful, with just the sounds of students on bicycles going past.

We had the park to ourselves, so I took advantage and let Charlie wander around on his own, sniffing whatever caught his fancy. I also try to work on getting him to come back when called. That’s hit or miss, though he’s getting better. He doesn’t run away from me, like Pippo did, but he does take his time getting back to me sometimes.

Unfortunately, if he sees something he’s interested in (mainly another dog), he’s likely to ignore me and go running over to see if the other dog wants to play. That’s why I only let him off lead if there’s no other dog in the park, unless that dog wants to play, too. I know Charlie isn’t aggressive, but the other dog could be, or it could be afraid. I don’t want to upset any dogs or owners. Fortunately, he ignores most people in the park, unless they have food. Basically, I try to keep an eagle eye out at all times for any approaching dogs or food. That’s also why I tend to pick certain times to hit the park, when I know it will be fairly empty.

Pure Puppy Love

Charlie
This week’s photo challenge theme is “pure”. It’s pretty much pure love when I look at Charlie. He has his moments, like any pet, but I am so absolutely in love with him. He’s an absolute sweetheart, well behaved, a total goofball, and pure stupid cute! That face tends to get covered in kisses. He usually kisses back.
Charlie
Charlie
Charlie
Charlie

Charlie and the Black Cat

Charlie and the Cat
Charlie is a smart dog. Too smart sometimes. He can open doors with ease, give you a high five, jump through hoops, and much more. But he does have his less than brilliant moments. Such as today. We were walking around the northern part of town, following the ring canal when I stopped to take a photo of this little bit of black cat wall art. I’ve seen this cat pop up in various spots around town, so I thought I’d get a photo of it.

What you see in the photo is the exact moment that Charlie spotted the cat. He’d been looking elsewhere until then. Being a good boy, he didn’t move until I started to walk. At that point he zoomed over to the (fake) cat. Poor thing can’t be blamed, as he does live with two black cats. But it amused me that he was taken in by the shape. It also amused the three girls who were walking past at that moment and saw him go straight for the painted flat cat. I wasn’t the only one laughing. Bless his heart.

Waiting for Santa

Charlie Is WatchingThat right there is 30 kilos of Staffordshire terrier sitting on a cabinet by the front window. Usually, it’s the cats who sit there. In fact, Lola is not happy that Charlie has invaded her space.
Get Your Own Window
I would say that he’s just waiting for Santa, but honestly, he’s been doing this for about a week or more now. If you don’t know where Charlie is? Check the front window. I need to sit over there more so I can see if anyone notices him when walking past. I’ve seen small dogs and lots of cats in front windows, but I’ve never seen a big Staffie peering out. He’s such a silly dog, and I love him to bits!

Happy Holidays!

 

Charlie Is WatchingCharlie Is Watching

Utrecht’s Light

Utrecht Sky
I was looking through some of my photos and trying to come up with a theme for some of them, but I didn’t have much luck, so instead you get a post of random photos around town.

While Charlie and I were out on Sunday to see the pope (statue), we ended up wandering around a bit more of town. We didn’t really go far, as the light wasn’t all that inspiring at the start. There wasn’t a lot that made me want to get out my camera. However, after a coffee break at one of the caf√©s along the Oudegracht, things started to look a bit better. Or maybe it was just the hit of caffeine. Charlie convinced me to head over to Neude to see if the oliebollen stall was open. It was. And as I juggled dog and a bag of warm oliebollen, I happened to glance up and see the impressive sky overhead. It had been dull and overcast for much of the morning, but the sun was making an effort to break through. As you can see, the result was a wonderful silhouette of the Domtoren and the Utrecht flag over Neude, with some amazing clouds.

We then walked back through Janskerkhof to smell the Christmas trees for sale and take a few more photos along the Drift. The sunlight was starting to come through and one of the beautiful buildings by the canal was starting to turn ever so slightly golden in the light.
Golden Drift
This is the view of the other side of the canal where you can see the sun starting to really glow.
Light and Shadow
Even Charlie caught the light to show off his lovely brindling.
Charlie by the Drift

Autumn Colors Along the Maliebaan

maliebaan herfst autumn colors trees changingFinally, there was no fog on our walk this morning. Just lots of sunshine and beautiful colors. We took a stroll along the Maliebaan. The Maliebaan is a historic and scenic street that has walking paths along both sides of the street, and even some pieces of sculpture along one side. This is also where the first bicycle path was created in the Netherlands in 1885. There’s a sign post that commemorates what would be the first of many cycling paths in this country.
eerste fietspad first cycle path in the netherlandsBut for a girl and her dog, it’s just a great place to take a walk on a crisp autumn morning.

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Charlie and the Golden Calf

Gouden Kalf
The annual Nederlands Film Festival is going on right now, and since the Stadschouwburg is undergoing renovation, the Gouden Kalf (Golden Calf) statue has been moved to Neude this year. Neude has always been one of the spots for the film festival. Pippo and I used to go check out the setup in years past. This year, the old postkantoor (post office) is also being used for some of the festival events. Charlie and I took a walk over yesterday morning to see the sights.
Gouden Kalf
Nederlands Film Festival
Nederlands Film Festival
While the Gouden Kalf was one of the things I wanted to see on the walk, my main destination was the square behind the Stadhuis. I had seen mentions on Twitter about 3D chalk art and wanted to see it for myself, especially before the festival was over or before the rains came again.

We were fortunate to have come at it from the correct angle, so it was fairly clear to see the image right away. But as we stood there at the official viewing spot, we saw people coming from the opposite direction and actually standing on the piece and not having any idea of what it was. It wasn’t until they got to the viewing spot that they realized.

Here’s Charlie sitting in the viewing spot (though getting distracted):
3D Chalk Art
3D Chalk Art
The piece depicts some of the symbols of Utrecht and the festival, with the Domtoren to the right, the Golden Calf in the center, standing in the Oudegracht, and the Inktpot with the UFO shown on the left, among other items.

As I said, if you come at it from the right angle, it’s easy to see. But when you see it from any other side, you realize how unusual and impressive it is!
Nederlands Film Festival
I’ve seen photos of work like this before, but this was the first I’ve seen in person. Definitely worth seeing, and a nice addition to the decorations around town for the festival.

Introducing Charlie

CharlieSo, a few of you noticed that I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I appreciate you reaching out and apologize for not responding directly. I’m ok, but various things meant that I had no desire to blog and didn’t really want to talk about it all. I’m still not sure how much I want to get back into blogging. Right now it feels like a lot of work on top of my actual work. But I do have a reason to get out and about a bit more now, so if nothing else, I’ll hopefully have photos to post!

I’ve missed having a dog to go on long walks with regularly, so a couple of months ago, I started searching for a new canine companion. It was surprisingly difficult, mainly because of our two cats. Finding a dog that could live with cats, get along with other dogs, and stay home alone for a few hours was a surprisingly big ask. A few times, we thought we’d found a dog, but it would either be adopted before we had a chance to see him or it turned out he wasn’t ok with cats or something or other.

Finally, last week, on my daily searches of various dierenasiel (animal shelter) websites, I came across a Staffordshire terrier who sounded like he would be a good fit. After exchanging a few emails with the shelter, it seemed like things could work out, so we asked them to reserve him for us until we could get there on Monday. (They’re all closed on Sundays and our weekends are Sunday and Monday.)

So yesterday morning, we headed out to Rotterdam to go see about a dog. I’m going to give you the condensed version as he’s currently trying to use my arm as a chew toy and sticking his big head up under my arm. Obviously, we got him. He’s only one year old, so he’s still got a lot of puppy enthusiasm. But he’s wonderful on walks! Not so great in the car, though. We knew he had the potential to be car sick, but we managed to get all the way to Utrecht, just minutes before we were home before he decided to be sick. Of course. Since then, we’ve been to see a few sights around Utrecht, though his selfie game needs work. He found a Nijntje yesterday. Charlie
He took a tour through the Pandhof at the cathedral.
CharlieCharlie

And today he took in some 3D chalk art by the Stadhuis (more on that tomorrow). 3D Chalk ArtAfter that mini wrestling match a few minutes ago, he’s now passed out on the sofa next to me, snoring away. He’s a big snorer.

As for the cats, he’s been fine with them, just curious. They, on the other hand, are not happy. Luna’s dealing better than Lola, which is funny, since Lola is the one who used to follow Pippo around everywhere. Oh well, I’m sure she’ll come around.