Comet Halley 
and a meteor, March 1997
My first contact with astronomy was when I was about 10 or 11 years old. What attracted me was not the stars and planets itself but mostly the astrological idea that my character was connected to them. However, a year later already I couldn't stick to this theory anymore, and turned down both the astrology and the astronomy. My interest in the former never returned, but some 10 years later my interest in the latter did. Although I already knew a few things about it (I was an physics student after all), I never looked up to the sky. Isn't that crazy? Shouldn't you first see and wonder, and only then find out how things work? I decided to straighten things out, wrapped a scarf around my neck, and stepped into the cold bright winter nights, armoured with a little book and a torch. After a while I had learned all the important winter constellations, and I couldnt wait for the summer constellations to appear. Never before had I realized that the winter sky was different from the summer sky, although many summer constellations are also visible in the long winter nights. I also bought a cheap binocular (for about 30 - 40 guilders, which equals 15 - 20 Dollars), but I hardly used it. Altough these things can come in handy sometimes, I felt they narrowed my view.

Unlike soccer or movies, where new stars come and go, real stardom seems to last longer. A common star shines for a couple of thousand million years. Although the stars in itself are impressive enough already, there are also lots of other things to be seen. Like planets, shooting stars and sometimes even a comet. For some reason the moon could never raise my interest. When I had seen all constellations visible in Holland, I lost my interest, especially after I moved to Amsterdam in 1990. The city is a terrible place to watch the sky. Too many buildings and too much light. Although I missed the sunsets a lot, (and I still do), for some reason I didnt miss the stars, and for 6 years I hardly watched any at all.

June 1996, Ruigoord. I'm in an immense deserted open field near the small village Ruigoord. The next day a chess tournament is about to start in the village church, but I came a day earlier, just to enjoy the landscape. And... as it turned out the sky... It was an excellent night. I felt the same connection to the stars that I used to, and realized that in the previous years I gradually lost contact with this tremendous feeling. I also found out how many little facts I had forgotten, like names of stars and constellations. For instance, I couldnt even name all 3 stars of the summer triangle anymore, which of course highlighted the night in june. However, I felt delighted that the 'connection' was back. Having regained this, I quickly updated my knowledge and found a relativaly good place to watch stars in Amsterdam. For you Amsterdammers: it's the Nieuwe Meer. The sight to the south is pretty good, although to the southwest there's light pollution from the airport Schiphol.

Unlike my other hobbies, music, chess or computers, I don't share astronomy with others. I never went to a club or an observatorium, and I never could raise enthusiasm for it in other people.
If you don't SEE it, how could I tell you...

the moon is rotating
Although I hate to travel I do have the desire to make a journey southwards someday, in order to see the southern hemishere. Best would be close to the equator. I envy Carlsbad, who lives on the equator in Singapore, but doesn't watch stars.