When we drove to Denmark yesterday we started from E’s parent’s place, which is in the north of the Netherlands right on the border with Germany (as in: if you leave the village, you leave the country). We didn’t expect any border controls obviously, it’s one of those many small crossings that even before the Schengen treaty didn’t see much activity. And indeed there weren’t any.

Within meters of passing the border we did however get an SMS “The federal government: welcome! Please follow the rules on tests/quarantine” plus a URL. It made E and me laugh ‘Achtung, hier spricht die Bundesregierung’, ‘attention, this is the federal government speaking!’ as if spoken through a bullhorn while you’re surrounded Blues Brothers style.

It is the first time the Federal Government of Germany expressly welcomed me on their turf!

Perhaps they should continue the practice of SMS’ing a formal welcome message from the federal government even after the Covid measures have been abolished again. It has a certain ring to it, being welcomed to the country by the government itself.

foss4g Bonn

The German federal eagle, also half affectionately, half mockingly referred to by the locals as ‘das Huhn‘, ‘that chicken’. (Image by me license CC BY NC SA, taken 2016 in the former German parliament in Bonn, when I was presenting there)

We’re in the city that the bikes suggest. Drove here yesterday, now staying in a beautiful house that even would be great if we had to quarantine. Except for getting groceries of course. No isolation is needed though. We used a test to get into the country (having stood in a traffic jam to cross the border like it was 1995, or 1996 in the case of the Danish-German border), and got another test within a day of arrival. From now on our jabs are qualification enough to move around among the Danes, it was just not quite the two weeks since the last jab which counts as fully vaccinated and needed to get into the Dane mark without testing.

20210724_165712

This is how we rolled today, Y having the luxury of being driven around (E has the better pics). And how I found out that cycling to the Copenhagen suburbs goes uphill in unexpected ways for my Dutch cycling legs. The G maps tell me there’s some 32 meters of height difference between our home and the water in the harbour we visited today. Our own home in NL is 2 meters above the water. Which is better than the up to minus 7m that areas towards the coast have (meaning in many places you’d cycle down from the sea shore, not up like today)

It’s great to travel with the 3 of us again. We’re good at it. I didn’t allow myself to miss travel the past 16 months, but I enjoyed the long drive and I am very much enjoying we’re here now.

I assume that in its most basic form I could redo Dopplr of sorts by announcing travel plans in an OPML file, much like book lists or my rss subscriptions. Then it comes down to how to share such travel plans with a known and limited network only. (You don’t want to announce to just everyone when you won’t be home.)

The IndieWeb efforts concerning travel seem to focus on posting actual travel movements, like planned flights. A sort-of check-in style post. The socially shared Dopplr info was much simpler: a city and a set of dates. Because its purpose was aiding serendipitous meet-ups. Exact travel plans or exact location aren’t needed for it, just a way to flag paths more or less crossing to those involved.

Of course making such an OPML file currently is as easy as posting an empty file, as there’s no significant travel during the pandemic.

Theoretically I could use such an OPML file to announce several things:

  • The various cities I consider as home turf, as they’re within easy reach in an hour.
  • Selected cities I’m willing to travel to at short notice outside that hour travel time if there’s a good reason to.
    From where I am a visit to Antwerp, Brussels, Eindhoven would count in that category, or maybe on specific occasions Düsseldorf or Cologne.
  • Upcoming travel plans, things like ‘Copenhagen, Denmark, 4th-7th September’ (actually a 2019 example)

Such a list would allow comparison with your list to see whether any of your travel plans match with my ‘home turf’ and destinations I’m willing to consider outside of it, whether any of your travel plans match with my travel plans, or whether any of my travel plans line up with your home turf and other relatively nearby destinations you’re willing to consider. Cities and countries are part of schema.org vocabularies and as such usable in OPML as data attributes.

I think there’s a space for location based services, such as Dopplr was, that don’t depend on or use maps, but provide location contextualized information that influences my actions, choices and my relationships to my networks (a quote from a 2012 blogpost on moving beyond the map).

Or this is just me applying my current opml hammer to anything that might be a nail 😀


I couldn’t resist making this mock-up mimicking the colorful Dopplr

Grain field

In 2013 we spent the month of July in France, and one of our first stops was Orléans. We rented bicycles to cycle from the campground south of the Loire river to the city. As the cathedral dominated the skyline, we rode through fields of grain shimmering silvery and brightly in the burning sun as the wind blew through them, and bordered by bright red poppies. Having stopped to take some photos, I took this shot of E.

Now that we haven’t been able to travel much and the daily scenery isn’t much different from day to day, I’ve taken to browsing through my Flickr photo archive where I keep over 30.000 photos of the past 16 years. Last week I printed a number of photos to put in the frames on the window sills of my home office. I will be posting some of them here this week.

A cellist in the garden of the Lousiana Museum
photo Ton Zijlstra, license CC BY NC SA

The Lousiana is a beautiful museum that we love visiting. Hidden in the landscape north of Copenhagen with a beautiful sculpture garden looking out over the sea. In October 2012 we enjoyed lovely sunlight at the end of the afternoon, strolling through the garden. A cellist had his picture taken, for a portret, poster or album sleeve I assume. I printed this photo because of its greenness, to put it next to the red photo I shared earlier this week.

Now that we haven’t been able to travel much and the daily scenery isn’t much different from day to day, I’ve taken to browsing through my Flickr photo archive where I keep over 30.000 photos of the past 16 years. Last week I printed a number of photos to put in the frames on the window sills of my home office. I will be posting some of them here this week.

Next door to Torre AgbarThe lightened plane of conversation
photo Ton Zijlstra, license CC BY NC SA

During the same 2013 trip to Barcelona as yesterday’s photo, I took this shot. My father and I were walking past the Barcelona Design Museum on our way to Torre Agbar. I took this photo through the windows at the front of the building, through to the other side of the building, where at the back of the museum people were sitting on the steps leading to a pool. I very much like the division in different planes, much like a Mondriaan, but then without his primary colors, and much more understated, yet with three people conversing in the brightest part surrounded by lines.

Now that we haven’t been able to travel much and the daily scenery isn’t much different from day to day, I’ve taken to browsing through my Flickr photo archive where I keep over 30.000 photos of the past 16 years. Last week I printed a number of photos to put in the frames on the window sills of my home office. I am posting some of them here this week. This one I did not print, for now, but it is on my longlist.