Category : photos

Mac OSX desktops

This is what my desktop looks like

No, I won’t show you the apps I’m running nor am I willing to show the (sometimes) many icons that clutter my Macbook’s desktop. Instead I’d like to share the wallpapers I get to see every day.

Let me explain.

A friend and I both have a Macbook Pro. And we both use three desktops (I honestly don’t know if Windows has a similar feature). Like everyone else we pimped our desktops using a nice wallpaper (three actually, one for each desktop). I always use three of my own photos and update them about once a year. This friend uses a more sophisticated system. He too uses three different wallpapers but instead updates them every week (!). Every week he picks a theme -this week it’s Hawaii- and searches the Internet for beautiful imagery.

Last week I copied him. I too picked a theme and browsed for three matching photos. The only difference being I used three of my own photos. The theme I used? Walls. Yep, I know, it doesn’t sound inspiring, but it actually is. Check out my wallpapers below.
The Royal Palace of Naples

This is the wall (and ceiling) of the Naples Royal Palace’s Grand Staircase in Italy. This hall roughly dates back to 1768 and shows the full glory of the Bourbon Kings. It’s truly massive.

Pompeii

The wall on this photo is much older… about 1800 years older. I took this photo in Pompeii, the famous city destroyed in 79AD when a nearby volcano erupted. They were so sophisticated at that time, they even painted their walls. Like we still do today.

Bath Pompeii

This also is a Pompeiian wall. It appears to be much simpler compared to the wall on the previous photo but it’s not. Look at the top left of the photo. The painted wall and ceiling are separated from the concrete ceiling. This is done because this wall can be heated. Hot steam would fill the area between the outer and inner wall, effectively heating the walls and ceiling. A similar system was used for the floor. It’s an ancient equivalent of our modern-day underfloor heating.

Remember, we’re talking about 2000 years ago. Fascinating, isn’t it?

This is where history could’ve been made

Less than two weeks ago Secretary of State John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to talk about the Ukraine crisis. At that time, Crimea still belonged to Ukraine and Kerry tried to prevent an annexation (yes, he failed). Somehow I’m always interested in where such (potentially historic) meetings take place. I knew they met in London and discovered this great photograph on Twitter. It’s a beautiful location for such an important meeting and even more so when you realise this building is located within the city limits of London. Quickly I learned the location they used is Winfield House, the official residence of the US ambassador to the United Kingdom.

This week I got the chance to visit the Dutch version of Winfield House. Or, to be more precise, be at the location used by Secretary John Kerry and Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia for their next round of talks. They used a (much smaller) mansion in The Hague and I was just a few blocks away. Finally I get the opportunity to see where a historic meeting like this takes place!

Below are some of my photos.

Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

Surprisingly, security wasn’t that tight. Sidewalks on both (!) sides of the street could still be used. There are no roadblocks, no barricades and almost no police.

Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov 2

This cameraman is employed by news agency Reuters. All he needed was a shot of Foreign Minister Lavrov exiting the building and entering the car, which is what he told me. He waited for hours…

Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov 3

Finally Lavrov exits the building, which enabled the Reuters-guy to make his much-desired shot (and I snapped this photo).

Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov 4

Suddenly the street is crowded with cars and security guys. It took Lavrov seconds to enter his car and leave.

As it turns out, these talks were unsuccessful as well. I guess this isn’t such an historic meeting after all…

In the streets of Naples 1

In the streets of Naples

I have a long tradition of exploring cities at night and I don’t know exactly why. Perhaps cities feel more real at night? Or it’s ‘adventure’ I’m looking for? Anyway, this time I explored the Italian city of Naples. For many hours I walked in the beautiful streets and little narrow alleys.

I’ve never seen a city so beautiful and spooky at the same time.

In the streets of Naples 2

In the streets of Naples 3

In the streets of Naples 4

In the streets of Naples 5

In the streets of Naples 6

Come on in

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something. Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today we’ll conclude this series with part eleven; “Come on in”.

road trip USA 2012 Oklahoma City

The only thing we had to do was walk through a metal detector and wave to two friendly security guards. Then, we were in and could walk anywhere we wanted. And its not just any building I’m talking about. It’s the Oklahoma State Capitol.

We walked in long hallways, peeked inside Senator’s offices, spoke with friendly employees, checked out the Senate and House of Representatives chambers and somehow managed to end up inside the Governors cabinet room (we tried the door handle… the door was unlocked). This made my trip to the State Capitol a great experience!

By the way, did you know the Oklahoma State Capitol is the only capitol in the world surrounded by working oil wells. One is even named Petunia #1, because it was drilled in the middle of a flower bed. Isn’t that amazing!

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple
Part 3: Look left! … No, look right!
Part 4: Johnny Depp
Part 5: Big, bigger, biggest
Part 6: The most beautiful road of the world
Part 7: The color of luck
Part 8: Willow Creek Church
Part 9: Bald Eagle
Part 10: Tornado Alley