The Netherlands in 360 Degrees

I normally only showcase my photography on this site, but I’m going to make an exception this time, because the exception is so cool.

When I was in the Netherlands I was contacted by Karel who is the #1 player on Where On Google Earth. He lives in the Netherlands and offered to drive me around the country for two days to visit some of the World Heritages sites in the the Netherlands. One of his hobbies is taking 360° panorama photographs. He also runs the website which showcases his work.

He recently sent me some of the panorama photos taken during our trip to the World Heritage sites of Holland, and I wanted to share them with everyone. The photos are taken on a tripod with a fisheye lens and later stitched together to get the 360° effect. You can use your mouse to move around the image. (You need QuickTime installed to view the panoramas)

Schokland used to be an island in the middle of the sea. As the land around it was reclaimed, it became landlocked. The photo was taken at the edge of what used to be the harbor. It is now totally surrounded by polder farmland. You can see our bicycles up against a fence as well as the old lighthouse.

The Afsluitdijk is an enormous 32 km (20 miles) barrier that separates the North Sea from Lake Ijssel (IJsselmeer). This photo was taken on an overpass which crosses the road. I was hiding on the staircase on one end of the overpass when he took the photo.

If you like his panoramas you can view more of them at his site There are several more panoramas in the “recent” section which were taken during out exploration of the Netherlands including the outside and inside of the Woudagemaal steam pump facility.

London Calling

My time in London has been very hectic. I’m staying out of the central London area because everything near the attractions is really expensive. I’m out near Greenwich and the O2/Millenium Dome which really isn’t so bad. I have to spend about £6/day on the train, not including the underground fees. It still is cheaper than staying in the city center.

Since I’ve been here I’ve visited Maritime Greenwich and the Observatory museum (where the Prime Meridian is located and John Harrison’s clocks), the Tower of London, Westminster Abby, the Kew Gardens, the British Museum, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert museum, and I’ve seen four movies in Leicester Square, catching up on everything I’ve missed in the last several months. There are still a bunch of places I haven’t visited including the Imperial War Museum. I visited St. Paul’s and Parliament on previous visits so I’m not too in a rush to see those.

I’ve found myself having to get used to having conversations in English again. I had gotten very used to only speaking in brief phrases when going to stores or ordering food in a restaurant. Now I can use full sentences like “I’ll have the fish and chips with extra tartar sauce, no vinegar on the chips but please put on some salt”, but I still find myself using fragments like “one fish and chips”. Its bizarre, but true.

London is by far the most diverse city outside of the US I’ve seen on my trip. In fact it probably beats most US cities other than Los Angles or New York. It is an expensive city even with the recent changes in the Pound relative to the Dollar. (that just means it used to be really, really expensive). Entrance to the Tower of London and Westminster Abby was expensive at £17 and £15 respectively. This is more than offset by the fact that entrance to all the museums in London is free. Also if you purchase an Oyster card (which you should do if you will be spending any time in the city) makes taking the Underground more affordable.

The weather here has been cold and rainy. Before I arrived they had a brief heat wave with temperatures getting up to the 90’sF (35ish C). Since then the temperature has been in the 12-20C (60’s F) range.

I enjoy London. It has made the short list of places I’ve visited that I’d consider living. The biggest downside is the cost. I saw the prices on some flats at real estate office and they were expensive to say the least.

I’ll be here a few more days before heading to New York and then to Chicago. If you are in either one of those cities and would like to meet up for drinks send an email to