Utrecht seems to attract UFOs. First there was the one that landed on the Inktpot back in 2000. Sure, they say it’s just an art installation by Marc Ruygrok for Panorama 2000, but I’m pretty sure* it was a real alien landing along the lines of Area 51, and they’ve simply chosen to hide it in plain sight.
In fact, there’s even a special Area 51 exhibit over at the Stadhuis going on right now that I’ve tried to see, but was prevented from investigating more closely.**
And now, there was a sighting last night of UFOs over Voorstraat/Biltstraat, right in my neighbourhood! I’m pretty sure the cats were signalling to their fellow aliens. Luna was behaving particularly weird last night. Of course, everyone knows cats are from outer space.***
I hope they’re not coming for me! After all, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen alien spacecrafts. They keep trying to hide them in plain sight, such as on a mountain in Tennessee.
I’m onto them, though. I’ve got my tin foil and my towels ready. Boy Scouts weren’t the only ones taught to be prepared!
**I forgot they’re closed on Saturdays.
***This is completely true. Cats really are from outer space.
It’s time to take a pause from Dutch scenery and reflect on the beauty that is the United States of America, as its citizens, near and far, celebrate the founding of the country. Regardless of politics, the scenery can be absolutely breathtaking. There are times when I’m watching a program that features some of the country’s beautiful settings and I get a bit homesick. At times, I even get a bit homesick when I see your average suburbs. Simply because they are so very American. I feel like I’ve settled in very well here, but it doesn’t change the fact that I spent 30+ years in the US. It will always be home, in one sense or another.
So today, in honor of Independence Day, I thought I’d share a few photos of some of the beautiful natural scenery that I grew up seeing around Signal Mountain/Chattanooga, Tennessee, when I’d go visit my great-grandmother. Quite a difference from the flat landscape I grew up with in Florida, and am used to here in the Lowlands.
And two last shot of my beautiful white sandy beaches of Florida. I can practically smell the salt in the air …
Nope, no explosions here. Boom is the Dutch word for tree. Unfortunately, it’s not pronounced the same as it is in English (more like bome), but it’s still a fun word. I’ve always liked trees. I’m not weird about it or anything, as Tom Waits would say; I just like the way they change depending on the season. Bright and colorful in spring and autumn; cool and green in summer; stark and majestic in winter.
The thing is, with only a few exceptions, I rarely know the name of any given tree. I’m an admirer of nature, but on a superficial level. I know nothing about where different types of plants and trees grow or any other important information. Sometimes I wish I knew a bit more of the technical info, but that urge usually passes quickly.
Fortunately, if I want to know about any tree here in Utrecht, there’s an app for that! (Well, there’s a website.) It turns out the Gemeente has put together a bomenkaart (tree map), with information about every tree they’ve planted here in the city, including its scientific name, its location, and even the year planted! I know that some of the trees in Zocherpark on Lucasbolwerk have little plaques with some of their information listed, but not every tree. I imagine if you’ve got some tree allergies, this information could be quite useful.
For the record, only the first photo I posted here was actually taken in Utrecht, or even in the Netherlands. The rest of the photos were taken either in our neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina, or in the mountains near Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’ve been feeling a bit homesick for North Carolina in the spring, with all the azaleas and dogwoods, and even the stinky Bradford pear trees. Hey! Look at that! I do know some plant/tree names!