Thursday, 26 April 2012

26/04: ANTWERP ZOO (and other bits)

Blogging took a bit of a back seat whilst I was busy with projects (arty and personal/family) but I hope to be posting regularly again now.  
To summarise the past few weeks, I've produced and displayed pictures in two local exhibitions but sadly I'm not going to be able to retire on my earnings from picture sales :-)  

We have been back to our holiday home on Fuerteventura where we enjoyed lovely warm weather and caught up with our friends out there.  It was carnival fortnight so lots going on each day and a brilliant Parade of floats and marching/drumming bands on the final Saturday afternoon/evening (which coincided with St Patricks Day so there were lots of leprechauns and green attire on display).    The carnival season always finishes with the 'Burning of the Sardine' parade on the  Sunday after the big parade.    A huge effigy of a sardine is wheeled through town followed by the townswomen all dressed in black (widows attire) and crying/lamenting.   The sardine and its entourage end up on the town beach early evening where the sardine is ceremoniously burned.  Then there is a fantastic firework display and everyone stands around saying ooooh  aaaaahhhh (as you do)!!    All this is done with a great deal of noise - they do love their drums and drumming bands on the island :-)   Although I have lots of photos from the Carnival, its a little late to post them now I think.

We've just returned from a mini break in Belgium and Holland.   Living on the Kent Coast means its a very easy journey for us to cross the Channel to France by Ferry - or train/tunnel as we did this time.  From France its easy to drive to Belgium/Holland.

 When my computer went horribly wrong a couple of months back it had to be almost rebuilt and although my data was backed up I seem to have mislaid some folders of reference photos taken over the years of meerkats, hoopoe birds, domestic dogs/cats etc.  I still have hundreds of photos but nothing really inspired me - I guess they're too 'familiar' as I've viewed them so many times.   So our trip to Belgium took in Antwerp Zoo which was a great place to visit.   It is situated in the centre of Antwerp next to the Railway Station  in beautiful mature parkland -  and I got lots of good ref. photos.      

Starting with a selection from the (very many) big cat photos I took.  I have a soft spot for these wonderful animals.

 The male lion barely moved from this spot, dozing with his back to the 'human' passers-by but he did briefly raise his head to look around so I got a couple of quick pics

The females were a little more obliging:

Yawning lioness

Just look at the intensity of the stare

I have more tiger photos than anything else - but I kept hoping one of them would actually go in for a swim.  Too cold maybe??

or just can't be bothered!



Drying off
Shoving Match!   This is obviously a game they play often but for a while there I fully expected the middle elephant to end up in the 'swimming pool' as the larger elephant was really pushing her around :-)

Viewers of a nervous disposition should look away now .......   this is a photo that went wrong when I was trying to get a shot of the armadillos who were racing round like maniacs.  Then I realised that Spring was definitely in the air and the male was trying to 'jump' his fast moving lady friend.    I'm no expert with the camera so shutter speeds were wrong but I thought it made a fun picture :-)

Enough animals for now ....  I have many more taken in the aquarium, aviary, monkey houses etc but don't want to bore you all.   Just a few more pics showing the beautiful grounds/gardens.  It is a very tranquil, well maintained park.

I wasn't allowed to spend too long in Antwerp once we left the zoo.  You may know that Antwerp is famed as the Diamond capital of the World with more than 80% of the world's rough diamonds passing through the district.   Hubby (and accountant) dragged me swiftly past the jewellery shops!! 

From Antwerp we visited/stayed at Dordrecht (Holland)  in a lovely waterside B&B - very quaint town with cobbled streets and lots of galleries/chocolate shops/restaurants and bars.

Yessterday we drove to Keukenhof gardens in Holland to see the displays of Spring bulbs/flowers (mostly tulips).    The anticipated bad weather held off till mid afternoon yesterday so we were very lucky there.

I'll post some photos in small batches over the next few days ...


"JeanneG" said...

I love the lions and the flamengos. Cute one of the elephants playing.

Jan/ said...

It looks as if your trip was a great success. I'm so glad the weather cooperated and that you got some good reference pics.

As much as I like cheese, I think I would have gone for the chocolate instead (or at least gotten some of both!)

Glad you're back!

Doreen Cross said...

Stunning photos Sue. Thanks for sharing . Great to see you back blogging. xx

Anonymous said...

Great photos Sue, the lioness in particular is a great shot. Look forward to seeing more.

sue said...

Thanks ladies :-)
I have mixed feelings about zoos but the enclosures were all well thought out and not too small and the animals didn't seem unhappy - just bored really!

I don't have a sweet tooth Jan so cheese wins for me every time!

Doreen Cross said...

I like cheese too but chocolate gets my vote every time. I think I could be a chocoholic. I try not to buy them because I know I will eat then and wow do enjoy them. xx