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Travel on Willem's Blog

Flying in a C47-A (DC-3) classic plane

Aboard the 75-year old royal PH-PBA dakota

Oct. 19, 2019
Flying in a C47-A Skytrain over The Netherlands is one magnificent birthday gift I received, experiencing aviation history unlike anything else!

As a wonderful birthday gift I was honoured to fly in a DC-3 classic plane. It was the 75-year old PH-PBA, a C-47A Skytrain or Dakota, formerly owned by H.R.H. Prince Bernhard from The Netherlands. It's a very special plane operated by the enthusiastic people from the Dutch Dakota Association (DDA Classic Airlines). Read along for some aviation history!

Is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Testing the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life

Nov. 2, 2018
I tested the Apple Watch during my work in Frankfurt this week where I had to go inside an internet data centre.

This week I went to Frankfurt for business. I had to perform maintenance to servers in a data centre. This seemed like a great opportunity to test the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life (other than health and fitness). I wondered, is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Space travelling from El Teide

Visiting Tenerife's volcano at the Canary Islands

Aug. 21, 2018
On Tenerife you'll find Teide, the world's second highest volcano with extra terestial views and a perfect altitude for stargazing.

This summer holiday brought me to Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands, Spain. It's a popular destination because of the climate, but it's also the home of Teide, the world's second highest volcano (7500 m, measured from the sea floor). The incredible views reach way beyond earth, into outer space, the Milky Way and other distant galaxies.

Lunch by plane

Flying from Hilversum to Texel in a Tecnam P2002JF

May 9, 2018
This week I went out for lunch by plane from Hilversum to Texel with a good buddy of mine.

This week I was invited to fly along over the Netherlands in a small aircraft, from Hilversum to Texel. A good buddy of mine is a pilot and planned to fly to the Texel island for lunch (and good fun!). The weather was excellent, so packed with my photo camera, I didn't hesitate for a moment to join him for lunch!

Creating the ultimate commuter bike

Riding at 35KM/h with Nexus Alfine 8 and Gates Carbon Drive

Feb. 24, 2018
Creating the ultimate commuter bike by upgrading the Sensa Cintura belt drive bike.

This winter I use a Sensa Cintura bike with a Gates Carbon belt drive as my daily commuter. It's a bike designed to be nice to ride thanks to its sporty lightweight frame. It's also meant to be low on maintenance thanks to the belt drive and Nexus Afline 8 integrated gear hub. After 1800KM in just eight weeks, it was time for some upgrades.

Climbing Mount Etna

Visiting an active volcano on Sicily, Italy

Sep. 2, 2017
Climbing Mount Etna, an active volcano on Sicily Italy.

Last week me and my wife went to Sicily for a little summer holiday. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is an autonomous region of Italy, along with surrounding minor islands. It's home to Europe's largest active volcano: Mount Etna. We had a chance to visit this lava spurring monstrosity and it was quite the experience.

Fietselfstedentocht 2017

Cycling the 235KM bicycle tour through Friesland

June 30, 2017
Cycling the 235KM long Fietselfstedentocht through Friesland

This month I cycled the Fietselfstedentocht, a 235KM tour through Friesland. This tour brings you through various Frisian cities throughout one of the most Northern provinces of the Netherlands. The tour was first organised in 1912 and has grown to become legendary due to its history, challenge and popularity; well worthy of a blog post!

Beast of the Green Hell

Driving the Mercedes-AMG GT R

May 31, 2017
Blog post about an amazing AMG Circuit day at the race track of Zolder, Belgium.

This month I received an invitation to join Mercedes at the Zolder circuit in Belgium to drive in "the beast". The Mercedes-AMG GT R, a furious green coloured performance car that gets its nickname from the Nürburgring where it was developed. It was an incredible experience, well worth a blog post!

One year of cycling

GPS recording an entire year of bike rides using Garmin and Strava

Dec. 31, 2016
GPS recording an entire year of bike rides using Garmin and Strava.

One year ago I started recording all my bike rides, including commutes, short grocery trips and long Gran Fondos. I equipped my bicycles with Garmin Edge computers that recorded location (GPS), speed, cadence and my heart rate. I covered more than 7683 kilometers during 320 hours of riding. It's time to review all the data and share some photos I took along the ride!

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Happy engineer with Apple Watch inside the data centre!
Happy engineer with Apple Watch inside the data centre!
Teide seen from my iPhone
Teide seen from my iPhone
Rescue helicopter lifting persons out of the ocean, notice the volcanic black beach
Rescue helicopter lifting persons out of the ocean, notice the volcanic black beach
Gates Carbon Drive rear sprocket showing excessive wear after just 1800KM
Gates Carbon Drive rear sprocket showing excessive wear after just 1800KM
Fields with flowers can easily be seen from above!
Fields with flowers can easily be seen from above!
Dirt on top of my rear fender
Dirt on top of my rear fender
The Apple Watch has numerous sensors to collect data
The Apple Watch has numerous sensors to collect data
Dolfinarium Hardewijk (the blue dome in the center)
Dolfinarium Hardewijk (the blue dome in the center)
Driving the E63S around track surely gets the blood pumpin'...
Driving the E63S around track surely gets the blood pumpin'...
The S63s interior is second to none: amazing details, very high-end
The S63s interior is second to none: amazing details, very high-end
Under the clouds the landscape is green, full of life
Under the clouds the landscape is green, full of life
Twisty roads to the top of Teide, with remarkable geological formations visible
Twisty roads to the top of Teide, with remarkable geological formations visible
The Hollandse Brug (A6 near Almere)
The Hollandse Brug (A6 near Almere)
Stichting Dierenzorg Eemland doing major ground works near Soest
Stichting Dierenzorg Eemland doing major ground works near Soest
Data Centre in Frankfurt
Data Centre in Frankfurt
If you drive in the AMG GT S you feel like Bernd Mayländer (who drives a similar F1 Safety Car)
If you drive in the AMG GT S you feel like Bernd Mayländer (who drives a similar F1 Safety Car)
On few occasions I crossed international borders. This photo was taken in Germany next to an Autobahn.
On few occasions I crossed international borders. This photo was taken in Germany next to an Autobahn.
Lateral crater from 2001 - but if you look closely you'll notice many additional craters further below
Lateral crater from 2001 - but if you look closely you'll notice many additional craters further below

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