Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

New Zealand

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is truly one of my favourite places in New Zealand.

Home to numerous intensely beautiful vistas, it is a rugged and harsh landscape. It has 19 peaks over 3,000 metres -including New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook.

 

Recently I went for a photography road trip/weekend away and stayed in Twizel, which is about a 40 minute drive from the Aoraki Mount Cook Village.

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I was intending for the trip to be photography focused but was not expecting just how amazing the scenery in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park would be. I was lucky enough that it had snowed heavily the night before and the weather had cleared to a fine day.

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There was so much snow! More than I had ever seen before in this area.

I usually visit in summer when it is dry and hot, but I am so pleased I got to experience it in the height of winter. It was just magical! I ended up trekking through the snow for about an hour to Kea Point and saw the start of the Mueller glacier – it was well worth freezing for!

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Just before I left the cloud finally lifted from Aoraki/Mount Cook…

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The journey back to Twizel was equally beautiful…

 

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Amersfoort

The Netherlands

Amersfoort is a city and municipality in the province of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Amersfoort is a very historic and attractive city. It has many fine medieval buildings that are well maintained.

It is a busy place with a population of just under 150,000 people, but the town centre is easily explored on foot, with most of the main attractions being easily within walking distance. The railway station is one of the busiest in Holland with several tracks converging on the area.

Information from Wikipedia and Netherlands Tourism.

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Beilstein

germany

The boat journey from Cochem to Beilstein along the Moselle was beautiful.

 

The small village of Beilstein is one of the best preserved historical places on the Moselle and is also sometimes known as a miniature Dornröschen der Mosel (“Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle”).

 

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The ruins of Castle Metternich tower above the village, which despite its small size, once belonged to the like-named noble family.

Zaanse Schans

The Netherlands

Zaanse Schans is a neighborhood in the Dutch town of Zaandam near to Amsterdam.

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It is famous for its large collection of historic windmills – many of which are not just heritage buildings but still fully-operational. Tours allow visitors to see for themselves how the windmills are used for sawing wood, grinding oil and much more.

 

 

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The historic windmills and distinctive green wooden houses were relocated to Zaanse Schans in 1961 to 1974 from all over the Zaanstreek in order to recreate the look of an 19th-century village.

Information from Wikipedia.

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Kasteel de Haar

The Netherlands

De Haar Castle or Kasteel de Haar is located near Utrecht in The Netherlands.

The medieval House De Haar dates from the 13th century. It fell into disrepair in the 18th and 19th centuries. Architect Pierre Cuypers (famous for his designs of the Rijksmuseum and the Central Station in Amsterdam) restored and rebuilt De Haar for baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt van de Haar. The rebuilding took from 1892 till 1912 and was a project unique of its kind in all of Europe.

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Surrounding the castle there is a huge park with various gardens designed by Hendrik Copijn.

The park contains many waterworks and a formal garden which is reminiscent of the French gardens of Versailles. During the Second World War many of the gardens were lost because the wood was used to light fires and the soil was used to grow vegetables.

However the gardens are now restored in their original state.

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In order to decorate the park the entire village of Haarzuilens, except for the town church, was demolished. The inhabitants were moved a kilometer away and lived as the Castle’s tenants. The new village was also built in a pseudo-medieval style and features a rural village green.

Information from Wikipedia and Kastel De Haar