Author Archives: melvisx

About melvisx

This blog is intended to share my experinces teaching, travelling, and observing.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

I have no idea what that means, but it’s something my mom always said, and I love and miss my mom.

I woke up early today in hopes of getting some shots of Copenhagen in the sunlight. I didn’t, however fully appreciate what being at 55 degrees latitude actually meant.

It meant the sun didn’t rise until 8:40, and I had gotten up at 6:00. 🙄 So I had some breakfast and went a-roaming…

Copenhagen is gorgeous

There were several times, while wandering in the limited time I had, that my breath was taken away

capturing a corner…

entering a plaza

coming across Hans Christian Andersen

And those colors

Trying to be clever with my commentary for these but my lack of sleep is getting in the way, so I’ll try again tomorrow.

I will share one last story though… As I entered the check in line at the airport in Copenhagen this morning a gentleman from the airline said I would need to check my bag.

“I flew your airline to Europe and was able to carry this bag on to that plane.”

“Yes, but it is too big,” he began, “and some of you Americans are crazy so we have to check your bags,” he finished with a wry grin.

“Especially our President,” I replied.

“He’s fucking crazy!”

“Yes, yes he is,” I sighed, and continued on to check my baggage.

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Ow, My Thumb

Somehow I sprained it; no idea how, but it has been a busy, day. The day was spent having breakfast at Bagels & Beans, packing, biking around Utrecht, taking the train to the airport, flying to Copenhagen, checking in to the hotel conveniently attached to the airport then exploring a bit of Copenhagen to find something for dinner. Wound up at McJoy’s Choice, billed as a Scottish/Irish pub…wait, is that ok? Maybe it’s just one or the other. Gotta be. I’ll check on my way out. Pretty sure any Scotsman or Irishman would consider a hybrid pub fighting words.

Anyway, places like this are fun and the playlist is mostly acceptable. So far Boys II Men (or some other nameless boy band), Bon Jovi, the Beatles, “Why do fools fall in love” (can’t recall the name of the band), and a medley of CCR has played. Love that I can hear “Stuck in Lodi Again”, when I’m so far from it. Also glad it’s a CCR medley, many of their songs are best in bits.

Incase you’re wondering, typing with a possibly sprained thumb is mildly painful and mostly irritating.

Ok, some parting shots from Utrecht.

Liked how this is framed

Random sidewalk tile

Just thought it made a good shot

Oh, I ordered fish and chips “English style”, that’s what the menu said, so that’s more 🇬🇧 than 🇮🇪 , so I guess it’s a Scottish pub.

The tees lined up so well

Ah, I see golfing paraphernalia, definitely Scottish. Why did I think it was Scottish/Irish? Must be tired.


Very true

Couple of opening shots of Copenhagen, hopefully I’ll get up early enough to get a few more

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Oh Shit Part 2

Wasn’t planning on two parts but the previous post got a bit long. After the Moco I did this

Then wandered around taking some photos

Ran into my friend

Then it started getting dark

And I’ll end where I began

Categories: Amsterdam, Geography, Original post, photography, Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Oh Shit

This is my last full day! I had the 29th stuck in my head as the day I was leaving, but that’s actually the day I get back! D’oh! My journey home tomorrow starts with a fight to Copenhagen where I’ll have a 12 hour layover; planned ahead, booked a room, might have an hour or two for Denmarkventuring.

So this being my last full day I implemented Plan A from yesterday. When I arrived I took too many of these and couldn’t decide which to post

I liked the photobombers, nice smiles.

Then I went to the Moco Museum for the Banksy exhibit. Here’s a few shots with limited commentary

And a few with commentary.


My favorite

What usually happens to me

These go together

Mickey Snake

Sculpture garden

Last stop here

Categories: Amsterdam, Geography, Original post, photography, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sun Changes Everything

Plan A was to travel back to Amsterdam, see the Banksy exhibit, buy some souvenirs then, get some dinner and check out the Amsterdam Light Festival; but first I was going to explore a bit locally because the sun came out.

As I was slipping on my shoes, however, a discussion arose as to what the rest of the house was going to do this afternoon. Someone mentioned a castle.

Plan B, short local exploration, then castle.

Like I said, the sun came out

Saw some fowl

Thought this looked better with some sun

Found this amusing, note to self- come back when it’s open

Not sure what this is but I liked it

Pancho Villa? Wyatt Earp?

Whichever, or whoever, he was facing Frank Zappa

Went to Kebap Factory and got some to go, returned to the house to eat and await departure for our castle adventure.

Entrance to Castle de Haar

Arch to courtyard

Courtyard, hey, just realized what courtyard means 🙂

Found in the ticket office/gift shop (my students will appreciate it.)

(some seemingly random photos ahead.)

(I photograph what I like.)


This is my good side

Quite the knocker

Totally inappropes (for the ‘Archer’ fans)

Bathtubs in the floor and creepy mannequins


On the way back we stopped at Geertje’s Hoeve, a working farm, pancake house and, um, family park? Where among other things I saw some cute critters.

mouse on the cheese plate

And we had time we could’ve roasted marshmallows

Categories: netherlands, Original post, photography, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Observations While Walking to Breakfast

Little Dutch houses for you and me.

Only saw one of these. Shouldn’t there be more? Several runners passed me🤔








Categories: Geography, netherlands, photography, Travel, Utrecht | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment


Today was a good day to head to Amsterdam. Upon exiting central station I felt immediately at home; it was good to be back. I decided to lazily wander toward the Rijksmuseum taking in the sights…like a wrapped store

Then I noticed this

(Had a burst of creativity I suppose.)

This wasn’t what I was going for but it turned out alright

I continued meandering toward the Rijksmuseum from memory, which wasn’t the best, or the worst thing to do. It wasn’t the worst because I came upon this cool architectural detail

which made me think of fish sticks, and this frickin’ awesome tree!

It just screams, “I need a filter.” Not yet. Here’s the other side

Meandering made me hungry so I sought out Leidseplien to get some food and drink. I chose an outside table in the plaza at a cafe that indicated it served Heineken sat down, and waited. Then waited some more. People at the outdoor cafe to my left were wrapping up their meal. I waited some more. (For those of you unfamiliar, at the majority of the casual eating establishments here you enter, choose a seat and someone comes to take your order; eventually.)

While I was waiting another person came and sat at a table in the cafe to my right. Within moments someone came to take his order, he waved them away though as he was waiting for friends.

I waited some more. I’m patient to a fault.

As I waited the dudes, to my right, buddies arrived and sat. The server came to take their order, then waved them away as they were just going to hang out and chat but not order anything.

I waited a tick more then walked across the plaza to the Heineken pub where I enjoyed some kastangles, tomato soup, and a pint. Afterward the sun broke through and I headed toward the Rijksmuseum, as I was sure where it was relative to Leidseplein.

Found it

(It’s behind the I amsterdam incase you didn’t know. I didn’t go in though, it bored me to tears last time, I just wanted to see the stuff around it.)

Like this

Translation: Non urinate in the wind, a man of understanding. Very true.

And this

Truth be told I didn’t actually go looking for that, just saw it and thought it was cool. I also noticed one of the museums had a Banksy exhibit, but I’m saving that for another post.

Having satiated my desire to make it to the area near the Rijksmuseum I decided to head back to Amsterdam Centraal. Along the way, the following caught my attention

whatever that means.

Yes. A store that sells popular culture. Mostly Marvel stuff and a variety of cartoon paraphernalia.

Dragon buttress. (Heh-heh, ‘butt’)

Street cat.

Obligatory landscape shots. Very proud of that last one.


Me too.

Juxtaposed to previous. But not contradictory.

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Bagels & Beans to Beers & Barrels

Woke this morning after another night of deep sleep, weird dreams, punctuated by waking once or twice. Took a shower, got dressed, and either bent over wrong, stood up wrong, or whatever I did wrong pinched an old lower back injury. (Fell off a waterfall in Thailand over 20 years ago. It’s a good story but not as exciting as you might think; maybe I should embellish it sometime. But I digress.) As a result of said wrongness, I have spent a good portion of the day saying, “Ow.”

After showering, dressing, and wronging, my brother directed me here,

which he said was just up the street from the grocery store. It wasn’t. It was actually a few blocks up and several over plus the few wrong turns I made searching for it. Ow.

Had a delightful breakfast of coffee, OJ, and a bagel with cream cheese and strawberry jam. Then walked the correct way back to the house. Ow.

The return home is when I felt really jet lagged for the first time so thought it would be a good idea to go see this

because I didn’t want to nap and jeopardize my adjustment to local time, and I enjoy going to movies in other countries; when I’m in them, not like a regular vacation thing.


In Taipei I saw “The Money Pit” that was in English and subtitled in Chinese, which made it both awkward and hilarious when I’d laugh several seconds before most of the Taiwanese audience.

Similarly in Spain I watched “There’s Something About Mary”, at an outdoor theater, which was dubbed in Spanish with English subtitles. The enjoyable bit that time was that the Spaniards in the audience didn’t get the hair gel joke, nor had any idea who Brett Favre was! (I’m assuming you’d get the joke and know him.) While in Thailand I saw a movie I don’t recall, maybe because of the waterfall incident, but I do remember the lights dimming, some music playing, and the audience standing in unison…for their national anthem.


Back to this

I tried to use the ticket kiosks b/c even though they were in Dutch, (but not cahoots), I figured, “It’s just tickets, how hard could it be?”

After getting my ticket from the cashier I headed up the stairs toward theater #7. On the way I walked through the concession stand, which is really more of a convenience store kind of thing, grabbed my snax, paid, and walked to my movie.

Huge theater, comfy seats, and virtually no one else there. Awesome. Seriously, maybe 15 people. As expected there were a ton of commercials before the film, one of which had a scene with a couple, um, coupling, didn’t expect that.

Also unexpected was intermission. Seemingly out of nowhere the screen went dark. When it came back on, there was a 10 minute countdown timer. WTF?


The movie was great, even though there were Dutch subtitles, though shifting in my seat periodically in an attempt to get comfortable was not great.

On the walk home I passed a gentleman playing Christmas music on an accordion, saw this

and wondered, What’s ‘tegen’ mean? It means “against”.

Arrived back at the house, succumbed to a nap, the movie excursion was over 3 hours, then woke in time to join my brother on a bike ride to Beers & Barrels for dinner. I had tacos.


Categories: beer, Geography, netherlands, Original post, Travel, Utrecht | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Should’ve Known

Since flying into Copenhagen on my way to Holland I’ve felt ashamed. I have a Masters Degree in Geography, have taught the subject for nearly 20 years and while I knew the capitol of Denmark was Copenhagen, I had no clue that 1) Denmark had a bunch of islands

and more importantly 2) Copenhagen is so dang close to Sweden!


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Been Here Before…

…and since I have I’ve done most of the obligatory touristy things, and since I’m staying with family I can do things like… go grocery shopping.

Grocery shopping in another country is only mildly more interesting than shopping at home but intriguing enough. It’s nerdy fun looking at the same, yet different, foods as well as coming across familiar products like Coke in different sizes. Like I said, mildly more interesting.

After the neighborhood grocery we went to a COSTCOish type store that my brother said was more of a restaurant supply place, now THAT was more intriguing. They had plates made out of wheat…

…jars of weenies…

…large containers of sardines(?), anchovies(?)…

…and United States beef…from the Frozen Butcher? Produced below zero degrees?

Why is production at that temperature important?

The remainder of my afternoon was spent walking to and wandering through Utrecht’s old city center, window shopping, taking a few photos and having a beer in a cafe with the proprietor and his cat. Speaking of cats, I call this one Fuzzy.

Fuzzy because I saw him sitting comfortably in this tranquil, if chilly, space, thought it’d make a good photo, then as I knelt to get a better angle he got up to say, “Hi.” I had to snap the photo quickly, thus Fuzzy.

Some things that caught my eye included her




which was below this

And lastly this, from three sides

Categories: Geography, netherlands, Original post, photography, Travel, Utrecht | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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