Keukenhof Opens Today – 2010 Theme From Russia with Love

Today the 2010 Keukenhof open air flower exhibition will be officially opened by Mrs Svetlana Medvedeva, wife of the President of the Russian Federation, in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands.

The theme for the 2010 will be From Russia with Love.

Seven million flower bulbs have been planted in the 32 hectare park to ensure that the 2010 Keukenhof flower exhibition can be experienced in all its glory.

The park will be open to the public from Thursday 18 March up to and including Sunday 16 May 2010. When closing its gate it is expecting 850.00 visitors from all over the world will have admired it.

BTW the best time to visit it is either very early from 8.00 AM or after 3.00 PM when the buses loaded with tourists will have left. It is open till 7.30 PM, but be sure you enter before 6.00 PM when the ticket office closes.

As the Keukenhof is situated half way between Amsterdam and The Hague, you might as well consider to stay in Haagsche Suites🙂

10 Questions For (32): Constance Hage from Shoppen Blogo

Today I like to introduce Constance Hage, a Dutch flight attendant who blogs in the Dutch language, but who, as a flight attendant, knows her part of traveling and who will like my wife’s fave quote: “When in Doubt, Do Buy!”


1) Who Are You?
I’m Constance Hage. I’m married, no kids but we have 2 cats. Furthermore I’m working as a flight attendant with KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) for more than 23 years now. I have also worked at travel agencies (VakantiExperts in Bilthoven, World of Tui and D-Reizen). I’m the author of: and I’ve also (co)authored the blogs and

2) What do you like about what you do?
Since I was a little girl I wanted to become a flight attendant/ [Ed. in proper “Dutch”:]stewardess, because I wanted to ‘discover’ the world and am still enjoying my job. And my job as main editor of my websites is something totally different and I love the diversity between the 2 jobs.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?
Sometimes passengers can become very aggressive and/or very drunk and that is something nobody likes (passengers and crew) and also people, nowadays, are very afraid that they miss out of something and then they can become very unreasonable.
And as a writer it’s sometimes hard to write an article when you are having a ‘writers-block’ or when you are under time pressure and you don’t have any inspiration at all.

4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.
My most successful blog is It’s tailored especially for women. It’s about shopping in general and I write about fashion, shoes, make-up, shops and lots more. I started it almost 5 years ago.

About 2 years ago I was asked to take over from an other lady, because she didn’t have enough time anymore. Because I like gadgets, it was a nice challenge for me. It’s about all sorts of gadgets for ladies and that can be about a vibrating mascara, to a digital camera or a mobile phone and lots more.

I used to write/edit also 2 other travelblogs: and
These blogs still exist [Ed: But ceased to exist since the publication of this interview] but will not be updated anymore. is about all kind of information of how to become a stewardess/flight attendant.
I stopped writing when I quit my job at the travel agency almost 2 years ago. I wrote about the more luxury holidays, and that was not always in a 5* hotel, but also in a nice tent in Africa or a special resort at a beach resort.
And there was also an other reason: I had no time anymore to maintain 4 blogs.

Constance’s hubby enjoys penguin love  in the Falklands

5) Your top destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
1. Antarctica: In 2007 my husband and I were having our 12,5 years wedding anniversary and my biggest wish was to go to Antarctica. And we really made a beautiful trip from Ushuaia to the Antartica Pensinsula and we went back via the Falkland Islands, Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro. The trip was 3 weeks. We love to go back again and then we would like to start our trip in Australia or New Zealand and make a so called semi-circumnavigation. These trips always end in Ushuaia.

2. Africa and especially South Africa/Botswana/Tanzania and Kenya. We love to go on safari’s and we go at least once a year for 10/12 days. And the part we love about going on safari is that you are outdoors and enjoying all the animals you normally can see at the zoo or on television. And in the beginning you only want to see the ‘big 5’ but now (as we have been already on many safari holidays) we also enjoy little birds and insects. We would like to follow a game ranger course one day.

3. City trips to all kinds of city around the world but my favorite city is New York. This city really vibrates and is always different. If I could afford it, I would love to live for a few month in Manhattan. An other city that I also love is Shanghai, a very modern and hip city as well.

6) Your top accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
In random order:

Pangkor Laut Resort at Pangkor Laut/Malaysia. We stayed at the waterbungalows and every morning when I was taking my shower the monkey’s were watching my from the trees and the dolphins were jumping out of the water. It was really a dream.

Aleenta resort at Hua Hin/Thailand. This resort has only a few small houses at a private beach. The bungalows at the beach have also their own plungepool and a outdoor shower. The staff can serve all the meals and drinks at our bungalow but from the small restaurant you have a beautifull view over the area and the sea. You can relax but also following cooking/yoga or thai chi lessons.

Pole Pole resort at Mafia Island/Tanzania. We went there after a safari trip in Selous Area (Tanzania) and the island is very small and you can’t imagine that you have a resort there Ralph Lauren style. But it’s there and it’s really amazing. The sea is in front of your lodge and the food and wine is fantastic. We also had a bbq on a dry sandbank and you can do amazing snorkeling.

7) Your top most memorable food / wine experiences to date and why?
3* Michelin restaurant De Librije in Zwolle. We have diner there 2 times a year (with my husband’s birthday and with mine) and every time we are treated like we come there weekly. The staff is superfriendly and the food is superb and every time we come there totally different.

House of Nanking in San Francisco. This is the best Chinese restaurant I have ever eaten. Every afternoon and evening people are standing in line to get in. Just ask the owner to the speciality of the day and tell him what you don’t like and you get some super dishes. The atmosphere is of plastic tables and when you have finished eating you must leave right away, but it’s all worth it.

Restaurant Shintori in Shanghai. This is really a trendy hotspot in Shanghai.The food is fushion Japanese and always have twist. You can share all the dishes so you can taste a few because there are so many good dishes to choose from. And afterwards you can go to the neighbor (same owner) for a nice after diner cocktail.

8) Your worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?
What I really ‘hate’ is when you ask in a restaurant if they can’t put any coriander in my food, that when it arrives it’s in my food anyway. (I’m allergic to coriander so I really can’t eat it.) And that happens aspecially in India, Thailand and Mexico because they love this spice!

An other thing I really hate are pillows and mattresses that are to soft and don’t give any support. So I always bring my own pillow with me.

And of course dirty bathrooms/toilets/sheets with still some small curly hairs on them, brrrr.

9) Can you offer the readers destination/ food / accomodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?
I live in Amersfoort. This city has celebrate it’s 750th birthday last year, so it’s quite old with a lot of old buildings and museums as well.

In the summer (from April until November) you can make 5 different tours through the canals and on 1 tour you can even take your (rented) bike with you. We also have a fabulous Zoo with an African area and a dino park from the smaller kids.

We have 7 museums and the most famous one is the Museum of Piet Mondriaan, the Mondriaanhouse. This famous painter is also born in Amersfoort. And if you are interested in the history of Amersfoort you must go to museum Flehite.

To have a good diner in Amersfoort we have few good restaurants:
1* Michelin restaurant De Saffraan, were you have diner in the Amersfoort harbor on an old boat. The chef used to work at De Librije.
Restaurant Tollius, this restaurant cooks Italian style, but they don’t have a menu card. They tell you the menu of the day and you tell want you can’t eat or don’t like and then the menu is adjusted.
Restaurant Perron 4/5, this restaurant is at platform 4/5 of the Amersfoort railway station, so you dine around departing and arriving trains. The food is Italian style, but very basic like pasta/penne and carpaccio.

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?

Are there any destinations were you haven’t been yet?
Yes, I have never been to New Zealand, because KLM doesn’t fly to New Zealand

Do you still have a travel wish list?
Absolutely! I have a very long wish list but I will stick to the top 3 😉

  1. I would love to go to Churchill (Canada) to see the polar bear and I like go to the North Pole.
  2. I also would like to go by cruise ship from Southhampton to New York and make a world cruise one day.
  3. Furthermore on my wish list is a fly-in cruise to Botswana and Namibia.

Iceland’s West Coast. Also a nice trip!

My Take:


Thank you Constance!

That first photo of you says it all: Shop and Blog till You Drop!. I’ve hesitated whether to ask you to take the interview, because you dropped travel blogging as you explain. However, shopping is a swell thing to do when ladies are traveling. Many ladies even just travel to shop. In addition you have promised me to write occasionally for this blog, time permitting 🙂

BTW Constance is the lady who took my place in a blogger tour to Iceland and ended up in an earthquake without even noticing it:-)

When in Rome…potter the Tiber in your Marble Yacht

Fabio Viale Marble Yacht

Via Today an Tomorrow, a blog curated – that’s a cool new term for what I usually do here:-) – by Berlin based Belgian Pieter I found Italian Sculptor Fabio Viale who cut his yacht from a whole piece of white Carrara and pottered the Tiber with it.

Burning Man – Must See Festival


A magnificent unicorn struggles to emerge from the cracking dust-covered playa


Rotating installation that breathes four hot streams of fire into the air at night.

Sand(wo)man made out of metal bowls celebrates the universe with outstretched arms, a fertile womb and dancing feet.

Over 200 feet long and 50 feet high, this awe-inspiring Conexus Cathedral, built in 2006, was a hallowed place that inspired both reflection and dancing.

Burning Man

Never knew what it was. Now I know … a bit.

Freelance Journalist Meredith Price describes the magic of the Burning Man Project, held yearly in the Nevada desert, with the help of some truly amazing photos.

Every year, over 40,000 people come together in a Utopian experiment showing the most stunning artwork, grandiose costumes and outlandish art cars and there is some fire too.

Held in Black Rock City, Nevada, the festival is named Burning Man after the ritualistic burning of a wooden effigy in the shape of a man.

Via the Tripbase Blog

The 10 Burning Man Principles are:

  1. Radical Inclusion
    Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
  2. Gifting
    Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
  3. Decommodification
    In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
  4. Radical Self-reliance
    Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
  5. Radical Self-expression
    Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
  6. Communal Effort
    Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
  7. Civic Responsibility
    We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
  8. Leaving No Trace
    Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
  9. Participation
    Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
  10. Immediacy
    Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

On my bike to TodaysArt 2009 (#TA09)

20090925 On-my-Bike-underway-to-#TA09-_MG_1277a
The Big Church of The Hague

Yesterday, like today, it was gorgeous weather. Around 06.00 PM I jumped on my bike (yes, sometimes I do bike) to visit the TodaysArt festival in The Hague City Center. From my bike I took this photo of the Big Church of The Hague and you can see how crisp the air was.
Maison de Bonneterie, A fashion temple right in the The Hague City Center shopping area.
I arrived at Spuiplein, the center of TodaysArt festival just before it taking off.

Spuiplein is the huge square next to The Hague Town Hall and in front of the music hall (the building with the red triangle) named after Anton Philips. The Lucent Dance Theater is adjacent to Anton Phillips Hall and to its right. The two buildings in the back are Dutch Government offices and the blue building to the right is the The Hague Mercure hotel.