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YOU MIGHT WONDER JUST WHY THERE IS NO STARBUCKS IN BLARICUM. And no other franchised eateries. And no hotel chains. The busiest place in town, and favorite local gathering spot, is Ijssalon de Hoop, a family-run, home-made ice cream parlor, operated in the same location for generations. People line up all the way around the corner sometimes and cordially wait their turn to buy a cone and top it with real whipped cream; then they sit outside—in sun, in rain, in snow—at the over-sized picnic table or atop antique, metal milk churns and discuss the daily news, or the weather, which constantly changes from blistering sun to cloudy to chilly to monsoon downpour and back to sun in one afternoon. Or, they debate just how their garbage truck works, and they wonder if their glass actually gets recycled into three different colors—um…I made that last part up. Continue reading


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Nature in its wild state in the burg of Blaricum, in North Holland

When someone says Holland, you probably think Amsterdam. When someone says Amsterdam, you probably think expensive. But if you want to see expensive, there is a little village, an atavistic throwback nestled in the analog past, perhaps an hour out of Amsterdam.

Blaricum–the most expensive town you’ve never heard of:

The worst thing about Blaricum–or, the BEST thing, maybe–is that it is not touristy at all. There is nothing to see. There is nothing to do. There is no reason for you to go to Blaricum…well, unless you want to try the homemade ice cream or find folks who don’t speak English or see a village with no canals or watch locals riding bikes in a thunderstorm as though it were a bright sunny day. Or visit the closest thing to Hobbiton. So, don’t expect anything near Amsterdam if you wander off the beaten track one day and find yourself in Blaricum.

This is what Wikipedia has to say:    “Blaricum (Dutch pronunciation: ( listen)) is a municipality and village in the province of North Holland, the Netherlands. It is part of the region of Gooiland. It is known for its many monumental farm buildings, local cafes and restaurants, nature, several annual community events and extensive up-market residential areas.

According to statistics published by the Dutch land registry office in February 2011, Blaricum is the most expensive location to purchase a house in the Netherlands. The average home in Blaricum costs €800,000 and has risen an average of 12% over the last year.[5] Many Dutch celebrities live here, including Rene FrogerAnita MeijerPaul de LeeuwGordonJerney KaagmanJohn de MolAnita Witzier and Marco Borsato.”

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Blaricum cafe in unique architectural building

So one day, I look out my window and discover I’m in Blaricum, the high-end burg of Holland. Garbage is what I see. Of course, I see the monumental farm buildings; the local cafes; the extensive up-market residences; and the nature, including an ostrich and a llama–you can tell it’s a llama and not an alpaca because llamas have big, banana-shaped ears…which you cannot see in these photos, so you’ll probably argue it’s an alpaca.  But what strikes me as most interesting in Blaricum is the garbage. You can tell it’s marvelous garbage. High-class, high-end trash. What garbage ought to look like everywhere. And what trash collectors, maybe, should look like everywhere.

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One of the high-end homes of Hobbiton…er…Blaricum, with thatched roof and dormers

But let’s talk trash:

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First, garbage is separated before pickup. Here, this green container just for glass is separated by color of glass (notice the metal below the container).


A local lady dumps her glass into the green container. A crane picks up the green container, but the green container contains a much larger container below (the metal in previous photo is the top of the larger container)


The driver dumps the trash into the truck from his forward position


The lady  wanders away to her upscale home. When empty, the container is lowered.


And the larger container below the green container slides neatly below the surface, so we don’t ever see a mess. The llama chews upscale grass (you think it’s an alpaca, don’t you?).

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The lady on the bike rides away, the llama continues with dinner, and the crane rises


The driver swings the crane into place, the llama wonders: “What the BEEP, why do those people think I’m an alpaca?”


The llama returns to dinner, the crane is secured on the trailer, the driver descends  a la deus ex machina


The trash disappears, the lady disappears, the llama disappears. Soon, the truck disappears. Wealthy people know how to live well…and apparently, how to separate and disappear garbage from their lives.

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Lopsided, perhaps, but banana-shaped ears. FYI: You can trust me. I will never lie to you. Oh, and by the way, I have a bridge I’m looking to sell…cheap.

You can find other entries in the WP Discover Challenge here: Analog

You can find other entries to WP Photo Challenge here: Pure

You can find other entries to Lucile’s Rehab here:    Photo Rehab