Our last morning in Heerenveen was more relaxed and low-key than the previous ones had been; my family had to pack and check out of their hotel, so for the most part we sat and waited. We did end up with enough time to take a small two-segment excursion.
Part 1: Sheep and Lambs!
Note Dad and John on the far left of the following photo, completely, uncaringly oblivious to the adorable lambs just yards away.
(As we returned to where they stood, fragments of computer-y, nerdy conversation wafted through the air. How can anyone talk work when lambs are close at hand?)
After the brief lamb-and-sheep visit, we headed to downtown Heerenveen. Most of the shops were closed, although we made an excellent stop into a cheese store, where we were re-educated about Dutch cheeses. We were first informed that everything we’d learned was wrong. The cheesemonger explained that instead of a type of cheese, “Edam” and “Gouda” refer instead to the cheese’s shape (round, ball-like and flat wheels, respectively) and that various sorts of Dutch cheeses can be either Edam or Gouda. She gave us samples of a Beemster (type) Gouda (shape) in different age ranges (jong/young, belegen/mature, and oud/old). It was quite interesting to see how the same cheese changes in size, appearance, and taste as it ages; the young one was large, pale, soft, and creamy while the oldest was smaller, darker orange, dense and hard, and pocketed with salt deposits.
I was so mesmerized that I entirely forgot to take any photos, except for this hen near the door.
The cheese was delicious, and we all left with some cheese to bring home (thanks Dad!), as well as a little tub to snack on for lunch at the oval.
We had a little time left after the cheese shop, so we continued up the street a little way, seeing cool piggy banks …
and the “Nebraska” clothing store …
and a sweets shop preparing its offerings for the day, including Red Bull flavored gelato. (Whoa.)
Back at the hotel, I practiced portrait-taking a little more…
Mom had prepared a little bouquet from the large one that Jonathan had given her, and wanted to show it off for the camera, so of course I obliged.
I have a long way to go though to be a proficient human-subject photographer.
Lesson 1: Don’t annoy your subject. (This lesson was not from photographing mom; rather it’s one that I learned over the course of the vacation from several of my repeat subjects.)
Lesson 2: Try to find a spot where the subject doesn’t have to squint into the sun. (Sorry Mom!)
I think they turned out OK, but would have been better if I’d found someplace with less harsh light, or in the shade, or where she could have been pleasantly backlit. Oh well – next time – for now I’m just learning!