1129-1130: Lovely Leiden

1129-1130:  Luscious Leiden

Tuesday 9th – Wednesday 10th April 2019

We arrived at the Leiden car park – after travelling for all of a half hour via an LPG refill. The special motorhome parkings were full – so we waited until a Belgian van left and moved into their space – tight… Light lunch and – the free shuttle city bus takes dogs!  2 minutes to city centre……. A K-guided walking tour quickly convinced us the we like Leiden even more than Gouda!   And we liked Gouda more than Delft.  28 km of waterways – most outside Amsterdam…  found a park where our doggy/children could roam free – kids after school activities – footy and tag games. The park has a sun trap cafe – for – wine…..Eased our way home via a bank for cash. Leiden is the birthplace of Rembrandt – and lots of sculptures, etc. 

Chilled evening (is there any other kind?) – with some vino and (the cooking) Marsala…..Zzzzzzs.  Definitely Leiden again tomorrow – possibly a boat trip. 

Wednesday dawned – windy and very chilly – so lots of layers.  Walked the short distance to the same park – for doggy freedom – and same cafe – for coffee and cake – K had cheesecake and I had traditional Dutch apple pie – yummy – no calories….only coffee as Wednesday is another alcohol free day – quite a few of those recently.   (n the park, Corrie feasted on pizza from the grass!  Met two lovely Dutch ladies – with a Kooiker dog – same colours as Oscar – they had a mad chase all around the park!  They gave us lots of local advice…. 

Kooky narrow streets – and suddenly a large and lively market!  I bought some fruit/passion e-juice – and K got her phone screen protector replaced.

Back to Jez – late lunch and – nap for me…..

Early night – as 6:00 am start – to visit a massive flower auction area.  We will definitely revisit Lovely Leiden! 

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CO2 make themselves comfortable!

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 Making friends with the locals. 

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For a sheep chaser, Corrie was most unhappy with these!

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Oscar – and Corrie’s Diary.

So – missy Corrie thinks she can out-Franglais me!  Hallo and Goedemorgen – and Hoi!  Doei and Tot ziens – (but that’s after you read the blog).  That’s put her in her place – for now…

Our owners K and J say we’re still in Neverlands – from Daft to Lazing cities.  K and J are now almost fully trained – after 2 years from me – and 1 from missy. They will always need refreshers of course… today K was walking beautifully to heel – I only had to correct her once. J was – well fairly normal – for an almost 72-year old – that’s 504 in doggy years – very scary, old man!  

They were intending to take us to a country called Pooland – but now it seems it will be Germilly – and the Cheque Republic – (must be lots of banks in Chequeland). Our good friend Kerstin will be 350  doggy years young…. she’s a mad hatter…..  The party will last all weekend, at least!  We just hope they have enough dogfood….. Slallammy and sausidge with loads of kertchoop – will do nicely…

Tot zien – for now – all our 11 readers…

O and C

 

 







 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1125-1128: Discovering Art in Den Haag and Delft

1125:  Den Haag Camper Platz

Friday 5th April 2019

A leisurely departure from Gouda to the DenHaag Camper Platz, to be greeted by a huge metal gate, an ebullient hostess and strict dog rules.  BUT they do allow two dogs, have showers and are cycling distance from both Delft and Den Haag.  The site is a flat (no surprise there, we are in the Netherlands) open expanse with a motorway on two sides, so not the prettiest.  We elected not to pay for hook up and give our new lithium leisure batteries a good test.  The result is that we cannot harvest a fraction of what our new solar panels are producing with only sunny-ish weather.  We just don’t use enough electric.  Should we be running the fridge and hot water from our leisure batteries as the next investment in the van?

The afternoon was spent hand washing underwear and using the site machine for laundry … didn’t like to get  the twin tub out here.  A goodly breeze 🙂

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We found James Willy Boulevard in Antibes and now this on todays short journey.
 

1126:  Den Haag

Saturday 6th April

We checked the weather and mindful of how cold we’d been in Rotterdam, and knowing how it feels a lot colder on bike, we seriously up.  My thermal leggings came out.  We took turns in the Mauritshuis, which had free wifi, so you could download a tour of highlights.  It was a good size, i.e. not too big, so you could actually take in the paintings and not just have a retina image for a nano second.

We joined a walking tour … but it was far too large a group, the guide had superb English but was softly spoken and didn’t add to our Dutch history knowledge.  Quite a few Brazilians on the tour who are working in Amsterdam … they had all independently descended on Den Haag.

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The Mauritzhuis … C17 building housing a collection started by William V of Orange.

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 Perhaps the Maurithuis’ most famous painting – The Girl with the Pearl Ear ring by Johannes Vermeer C17. Her eyes really do follow you.

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Jan Steen drew on bawdy humour.  He was brought up in a bar and his father was an art dealer  it is thought the young lad being taught to smoke was his younger self.

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Another Van Steen  check out the lady who has fallen over on the ice  she forgot to put on her knickers!

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Peter Paul Reubens Old Woman and a Boy with Candles.

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This is just a tiny corner of a still life  such attention to detail.

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Hans Holbein the Younger painted Henry VIII of England’s falconer and was offered a place at court, but he declined.

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Just liked this one.

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 And now for Rembrandt.  Wed visited the house in Amsterdam where he lived, worked and taught.  It is 350 years since his death, so the Mauritshuis had all his paintings that they own on display.

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tilp 1632.  Rembrandt was only 26.  At one point this hung in the greasy kitchen of Amsterdam’s Surgeons Guildhall.

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Rembrandts last self portrait 1669.

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And my favourite – we have a copy hanging in one of the bedrooms in Combe Martin.  Carel Fabritus’ The Goldfinch.  He was killed in a gunpowder magazine explosion in Delft aged 32.  He was considered Rembradt’s most talented student.

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The small octagonal building is the Presidents cosy office.  An island off to the right had hemp seeds scatted onto it, which then grew (and were quickly removed) as part of the protest against recent anti pot smoking legislation.

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The Hotel Indes, where the ballet dancer Pavlova died … or natural causes we were told, nothing to do with eating too much pudding!

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Above the central lamppost is the Union Jack, flying outside the British Embassy.  It burned out in 2015 by a disgruntled security employee who had a drink and drugs addiction.  Perhaps the Netherlands was not the ideal posting for him!

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Haagse Harry: a cartoon character who represented the voice of the working class.  Pot smoking, football hooligan but with a heart of gold.Not sure why he had to have a dump in public, but being responsible dog owners, we always carry spare poo bags!

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The Binnenhof  site of the medieval fortress and home to the Dutch parliament until they felt the buildings did not reflect their status and they moved to a flashy extension next door in 1992.


1127:  Delft

Sunday 7th April

A super sunny day today “).  No thermals!  We cycled in the other direction to Delft.  Using a phone app we did our own walking tour.  

The Vermeer Visitor Centre was one of the main sights.  Despite the fact that Vermeer lived all his life in Delft, the town does not have a single one of his paintings, and very little is known of him.  The are a LOT of authorship questions over his paintings.  A number had other artists’ signatures on them.  Vermeer did not sign all his work.  A 1930’s forger created a few more!  He was only discovered when accused collaborating with the Germans … he claimed he passed them forgeries, so was not collaborating! Currently there are 36 paintings that are said to be true Vermeers, but then even a few of these have a big ?.  The Centre had digital prints of all 36 works, BUT they were smooth flat and as a result lost a lot of the detail and depth of a relief.  Lovely to see how he always had the light from the left, used the same models, room and clothing.

I like porcelain, and a must do for me was a Delft factory, so we headed out to Royal Delft.  A very slick display of their work and then you can walk through the factory.  Being the weekend, you could see the work benches, but no work being done.

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Bikes chained up outside the Old Church.  It takes us a full 10 minutes to get the dogs out of the Os-car and tied up, and then get our 5 locks in place.  We ain’t taking any risks with these babies!

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Typical Delft street.

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The New Church, rebuilt after in 1536 and then the gunpowder explosion a century later.  Inside is the private mausoleum for the Royal Family.  William the Silent’s elaborate mausoleum is on display.  A 100 metre spire; sadly we couldn’t go in or up as it was Sunday.

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The spire and the well known (!!!) statesman and scholar Grotius, 1563-1645, in pride of place.

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Town Hall the other end of the Market Place. 

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Think the clue to the fact weve arrived at Royal Delft is here.

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Delft blue copy of one of Vermeer’s paintings.

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This display likened the frenzied trade in tulip bulbs like the Bitcoin explosion.  Bulbs were traded for silly money, such as a bag of 100 bulbs was swapped for a coach and horses.

IMG 1153Having seen so many beautiful tiles in Portugal, I was disappointed to learn that Delft closed its structural production arm in 1990, including the tiles.  I had thought I’d buy a picture made up of tiles, BUT a single small tile would have set me back EUR59!!!

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The factory moved out of the centre of town in the early 1900’s and show cased its own architectural work.

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As it was Sunday, the factory was closed and a solitary worker demonstrated how the black pigment is mixed with water and painted between the lines of a stencil.  The blue colour appears after firing.

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Biscuit ware, after first firing, ready for paint.

 

1128:  Panorama to See and Not Sea

Monday 8th April

I think the Panorama Mesdag was the Delft / Dresden highlight for me.  Panoramas were popular in late 1800’s, but by the turn of the century, most had been cut up.  People climbed dark stairs, and them emerged into the light of the panorama.  Standing on a central platform you walk around 360 looking at the view.  Explanation of the making is in the first image below.  It was unvarnished, so as not to have a sheen.  The top and bottom are hidden from view (sand dune and roof over the viewing platform, so it disguises the canvas edges.   Our campsite host explained that as the panorama uses natural light above the viewing platform, the look of the painting differs through the seasons.  I was lucky enough to have the viewing platform to myself for about 10 mins.  Really quite magical.  

Note to self, ask how much a cafe charges for cake!  Two coffees and small cake was EUR24!  No tip given!

We cycled on past the Peace Palace, had a picnic and then headed for the coast.  It was as if the Dementors were descending … swirling damp mist and a chill.  By the time we got to coast, it was a pea super!  About 7C cooler than the city.  I still managed an ice cream, whilst J had a warming coffee.  The dogs have not been off lead much, as there is a real lack of places to walk them without causing a bicycle incident … they went ballistic on the beach.  

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The Peace Flame:  fire from lots of countries combined.

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The Peace Palace, opened in 1913 and we know what happened in 1914.  Also the International Court of Justice.

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Just as well we’d seen the sea  and town of Schweningen in the Panorama, as you couldn’t  see the sea for the mist, unless you were right on the water’s edge.  A spooky figure suddenly emerged … he was carrying a huge camera and catching the waves breaking.

 

 

 

 

1121-1124: Gorgeous Gouda

1121-1124: Gorgeous Gouda

Monday 31st – Thursday 4th April 2019

Gouda is famous for its cheese and during the tourist season, its Thursday cheese market.  We had planned to come here two summers ago, but responded to a Kerstin’s plea for decorating help in Germany.  Gouda and the market were definitely on our to do list this trip.  Having read that the motorhome aire gets VERY busy on Wednesday, for the Thursday market, AND having had problems finding campsites that will take two dogs … we got here mega early.  Monday, in fact.  We went from 14 vans to 44 on Wedsnday night and back to 7 on Thursday night.  At EUR8 for 24 hours and as we were so early, we got free electric hookup, it was a bargain.

We had planned to stay only 3 nights, but with such a good parking place and so close to a lovely town, we stayed 4.  We managed an ice cream each day … I had two days of some ache and shiver bug (weird), so did little on those days, but still managed a walk into town for a white chocolate and hazelnut, or coffee and pistachio …. purely medicinal.

Gouda really is lovely to wander around, but the high light is definitely the C16 stained glass windows in the Church of St John.  I also visited the Gouda Museum, which had a good mix of furniture, art, porcelain and I learned about the pipe making in Gouda.

The cheese market was disappointing … a fairly ordinary small market with only about 4 cheese stalls.  There was a sort of display and demonstration, which we missed.  Lots of photo opportunities for a pic with a buxom blond lass in costume, which we also missed!  We aborted the market in favour of a glass of vino on the edge of the square and people watched.  I did managed to come away with enough veggies bought to make a caponata and asparagus soup … slow cooker, Remoska and electric hob all in use whilst whilst we have electric!

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Sint-Janskerk:  Images depicted various Battles.  This was the battle of Leiden where the town was besieged and the citizens were starving.  The Mayor offered up his own body to feed the people … they declined, but it gave them new heart.  Their rescuers brought bread and herring, which they still consume at an annual celebration.

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King Phillip II from Spain thought so much of himself, he had his image included in the Last Supper tableau.

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A biblical tale, where the town was saved by a Judith chopping off the head of the attacker whilst he slept.

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And from 2015, evil around the outside and good, hope, joy etc inside. 

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These are Stolperstein.  We’d have not necessarily noticed them if Mike and Carol did not seek them out on their travels and blog about them.  They are outside houses to show where Jewish people lived before being slaughtered by the Germans in WW2.

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Gouda Museum was formerly the hospital and had its own pharmacy.

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Gouda had quite an industry in pottery… they adopted the Majolica method of glazing tin to achieve colours.  Most of the colours and styles followed current fashion.

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This is one of the museum’s treasures.  Miachel Sweerts’ The Spinner 1656.  He was noted for his use of light, particularly on the head scarf.  A lot of Dutch painters were influenced by Caravaggio.  Feel I should have taken more notice of him when we spent 6 months in Italy.

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Not hat pins!  But pipe cleaners …

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 Long barrels to cool the smoke.  Gouda was a major production centre, then lost out to French designs and coped the shorter, double walled pipes.

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This was the only piece of porcelain I would have happily ‘borrowed’ from the museum.

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Just love the very Dutch decorative style.

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From 14 to 44 vans the night before the Thursday cheese market.

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A cheeky little donut with raisins.

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The cheeses laid out in front of the Town Hall for the tourists.

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The small cheeses are the young ones as they don’t have time to develop a thick skin.  To add flavour they are infused with herbs, garlic, beer, pistachio … you name it.  We bought a slab of the much tastier 2 year old.

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He’s sliced off a bit of Sponge Bob Square Pants!!!!  The Cheese Master hosting the demonstration and explanations for the tourists.

1118-1120: Biking around Dordrecht and Rotterdam

1118: Dordrecht

Friday 29th March 2019

Yesterday arrived in Holland at Dordrecht.  With wild camping being illegal, and not wanting a fine, we are using marinas, aires and campsites.  This marina here was EUR14.50 with electric, showers, toilets and a waterfront location.  Very secure and peaceful.  We manoeuvred into a waterside pitch.

We deployed the bikes and the Os-car for the dogs and then wandered around Dordrecht.  Dordrecht looks out over the busiest peice of water in Europe: it is where the Rhein and Meuse exit.  A light lunch in town.

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A cow on top of a chimney?  A dutch BBQ?  Although we suspect a more erudite meaning (Apollo and Europa – some of Stephen Fry’s Mythos audio book sunk in!), as this was over the library.

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Dordrecht had been the major shipping city, before Rotterdam. In fact, the first Dutch city to be granted a city charter.  All goods had to be stored here and pay taxes.  The locals are known as Sheep’s heads, as a cunning farmer dressed a sheep in human clothing, walked it between two people through the city gates to avoid a tax … unfortunately it baaa’d just then and they are caught!

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We didn’t go in, but this is the Hof, court of justice, where the States of Holland first convened.

 

1119: Biesbosch National Park

Saturday 30th March

So peaceful a spot, we decided to stay another day, so I climbed the tower to the Marina control to hand over another EUR14.50.  Whilst there, we established from the timetable that the ferry across to the Biesbosch National Park wasn’t running yet.  Ho hum, the bikes were ready.  We were ready.  And CO2 were ready, so we’d just do a shorter bike ride.  As we got to the ferry crossing, one was just coming in.  What luck.  We jumped on and had a bike ride around the National Park.  No pix as it was as flat as a pancake.  A lot of geese!  You are still very conscious of industry … power pylons, wind sails and the odd factory chimney in the distance.  Give that the Netherlands is the third most densely populated country in Europe after Monaco and Malta, this is not surprising.

 

 

1120: Rotterdam

Sunday 31st March

Another visit to the marina master’s ivory tower to pay for a 4th night!  We cycled to Dordrecht again and caught the hour long water bus (with dogs, bikes and Os-car, the dog trailer) to Rotterdam.  Our bums are just getting used to the bike saddles after an absence of about a year!  After a beautiful day yesterday it was blistering cold today. We were just on the point of ditching the bikes thinking it would be warmer walking – fast, when the sun finally came out.  Biking around such a major city was a synch.  Clearly defined cycle paths and we got to see more of the city that we would have otherwise.

I’d cleverly ordered the Holland Pass … museum card and we tried to redeem this at the Euromast (high tower with a lift) but no, I was told to go to the Central Station.  No, you used to be able to collect it there, but no longer.  There are ONLY only in 5 points in Amsterdam!  Telecon and email correspondence with Holland Pass and hope we get a refund.  Note to self … read the small print!!!

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Some interesting modern architecture … post war Rotterdam was the one place they allowed modern architecture to flourish and it still is.  P&O Britannia was in for two days.  A couple told us it was a short cruise … Rotterdam and then Guernsey.  

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Witte Hus – this Art Deco 1898 sky scraper was one of the tallest in Europe for a long time at 148ft.   Constructed form iron and steel, it has two thick interior walls.  It survived WW2 bombing.

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Kubuswoningen, Cube Houses, the cube is tilted 45deg, and rests on a hexagonal pylon.  There are 38 apartments, whilst they 100square metres, 25% is unusable due to the walls and the angled ceilings.

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 The Markthal has 228 apartments as well as office space, with a huge daily food market in the middle.  The outward facing apartments had balconies, and seemed much more desirable than the cube houses.  Opened in 2014 it has a stupendous painted roof depicting fruit and vegetables.

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James nibbled the samples all the way round the market!

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We cycled onto Delftshaven, which was also fairly unscathed from WW2.  Ancient warehouses are now restaurants antique and bookshops.  We stopped outside the church where the Dutch Pilgrim Fathers set off for the new world.  The leaky Speedwell boat barely made it to Britain, where they transferred to the Mayflower.

795-797: Making the Most of our Dutch Museum Card

795 – Tuesday 1st August 2017: Edam and Vollendam

At 0930 hrs, we moved Jez to a free car park in Vollendam, as our free parking at the cheese and clog place likes the car park clear to attract the coaches and we oblige.  Os-car-trailer deployed – some barking resumed – horrendous crowds in Volendam and everything too expensive…there were ferryboat to Markham which we’d not cared for either – but quite pretty in a non-natural, catch the tourist kind of way.  We cycled to Edam which we did like – are we fussy? Yes.  And on our cheeses, not particularly!  Amazing merchant’s house with floating floor to compensate for the rises and falls of the water table. …  Our Dutch Museum card is saving us shed loads of Euros already. 

Our Amsterdam campsite was full to the ‘gunnels and pitches are very cosy – you need to be friendly with neighbours… nice German families on both sides.  BBQ and Zzzzs.

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Now the whole family imbibes Advocaat at Christmas … so when I saw a bottle in Lidl, I had to buy one.  Not the same as Warniks, that we get a home … so I read the label.  It may be 14%, but it is to be consumed with ice cream or used in cakes …. so I did … lovely with ice-cream 🙂  And only 14% – but still allowed on one of our dry days!

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Pretty Edam.

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Long beards was obviously a one time fashion statement … J’s comes off long before this.

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I’m in the floating cellar.  There are few still in existence in the Netherlands, but this is the only one open to the public.  To be expected, it moves as you move.  

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Short beds as people slept sitting up on pillows … they thought lying down too close to death.

795 – Wednesday 2nd August:  Amsterdam 1 – Walking Tour, 3 Churches and the Royal Palace

Our O-barkingK9 took us to the ferry “Across the Mersey” (Jerry and the Pacemakers 1962 – thought you oldies would know that one – Amelia, you’re too young!).   Across the ij river;  Amstel is further over – the Amstel beer is excellent – reminds me of ‘Hashing’ days in Amman – the “Hash House Harriers” – the worldwide drinking club with a running problem…

We did a walking tour with one other – an Italian girl, currently on an internship in Amsterdam – she was missing the art and splendour of Italy and of course, the food.  having spend 6 months in Italy, we could empathise.  Our guide was Leonard (History student) and he was full of fun anecdotes…  but a little disjointed in his delivery and a little short on depth.

The Red Light District was – hmmmm – interesting!   I tried to avert my gaze (partially successfully) from the ladies in the windows wearing ‘funderwear’ – but the industry is safe and well regulated – and no pimps!  The average time spent inside – for ‘business’ is 7-12 minutes!!!  It takes me that long to unfurl my umbrella (not speaking from experience!).  In holy Catholic Ireland in the ‘60s, we thought a condom was a salt and pepper ’thingy’…  Or was it a ‘fonduement, fun-damentally, lamentably or scandulously… we move on.  

The Museum Card again saved us money – the Neue Kerk, Oude Kerk, Royal Palace and the Attic Catholic Church… The post-Reformation liberal Dutch allowed catholics to practice their religion only in private homes – hence the ‘Attic Chapel’.  King Henry VIII would not have approved… 

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Can tell we are entering the red light district.  Wearing of comdoms is obligatory.

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Pavement art, but not much of a caress!

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Narrow tall buildings as land was expensive … a single flight of stairs is economical … a double flight indicated wealth.  The other main symbol of wealth were Tulip Bulbs – imported and traded at great expense until the market collapsed

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must’ve been difficult buying furniture for this window wide one!

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Former house name signs, until Napoleon decreed that all houses had to have numbers and street names.  Napoleon also forced people to adopt an official family name.  Many went for a word to describe with job, such as Farmer, but some reluctantly chose silly names such as NakedatBirth, which have endured until today!

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Wonder if his name is NakedatBirth … he did not drum up much custom … wonder if the unauthentic Calvin Kleins had anything to do with it?

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We went into the Beguinnes complex (Ghent had three such complexes), where single women and widows lived together and did good, mostly nursing, works.  In one of the chapels was this relic – the vomit of bread from a dying man that had not burned overnight when cleared up by one of the Beguines and thrown on the fire.

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The Royal Palace was formerly the Town Hall.  When Napoleon stuck his brother on the throne, Louis cast about for a suitable palace and had the rooms converted quickly into the palace.  The Empire furniture is the largest collection outside France.

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And the chandeliers were stunning.

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The Old Church was mostly used to bless ships and over 10,000 bodies are buried underneath.  Another Napoleon edict was to bury bodies outside the church.  Stunning organ.

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Slightly surreal art – gold blankets are often used to to shroud refuges after a sea crossing and they protect the tomb stones.

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Our Lord in the Attic.  Catholicism was officially banned but since 40% of the population were catholic, the authorities ignored what the eye can’t see.  Churches in houses were created, along with a confessional and accommodation for the Priest. Here the church spans three houses, the floor and roof raters cut away and iron rods inserted to pull it all together.  

796 – Thursday 3rd August:  Amsterdam Art Museums

K:  I’m taking over the text from here, as J is busy upstairs … stripping … wall paper … we are very behind with our blogging as we’ve had no time!  More anon.

Parking the bikes again, we crossed on the free ferry … a simple system where you walk to the front and then off the other end when it docks.  People, bikes and mopeds and we even saw a small car. Very efficient.

We caught the tram down to the museum quarter and took turns in the Van Gogh Museum.  It was very good at explaining Van Gogh’s influences and how his art developed, as well as including some of his peer’s work.  His brother funded Van Gogh and his brother’s widow then promoted Van Gogh’s work, as he had not been well known in his lifetime.  During our picnic lunch, I asked J if he had his museum card safe … oops we both turned our all his pockets.  Back in the Van Gogh Museum, J left his email address in case they found it.  So I only wandered into the Rijks Museum.  This again told the story of Dutch art, including more Van Gogh.  I saw Rembrandt’s The Night Watchman (not too keen), and some Vermeer (which I did like).  And some Delft, which seemed to be heavily influenced by Chinese design.

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The Rijks Meusum – very busy but more people seemed to be interested in having their pic taken on top of the large letters of I Heart Amsterdam.

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The Museum’s reference library – good to see it being used.

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In the evening we wandered back into town to watch a Gay Pride concert.  Most of the performers were notable for being drag artists rather than their singing skills, but there was a cracking 3 girl band who finally got the audience going a bit … we did not stay long after them.

797 – Friday 4th August:  Amsterdam – The Last Day

Amazing – James checked his email and the Van Gogh Museum had found his Museum card … we elected to take the bikes across the water and brave the Amsterdam city centre so we could get to pick up J’s card and then across to the Rembrandt House Museum.  Cycling was interesting … Oscar barking pretty much most of the time, trying to avoid other cyclists, pedestrians, trams and other vehicles.  Amazing we did not see, let alone participate in, any accidents, but they do travel quite slowly.  I managed to jam my wheel in a tram line and did a slow motion decent the the pavement … fortunately the Os-car is hinged to stay upright.  Just a minor scratch to my knee and more damage to my pride.

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Rembrandt used still life and a lot of artefacts to practice line drawing and then painting on.  He made his students also practice for years.

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At this time, artists had a palate of 12 colours, all from natural sources … the red and blues were very expensive.

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On my tour, I was lucky enough to watch a paint mixing demo – and have a go mixing on the big stone … the minerals were mixed with linseed oil and sometimes stored in pigs’ bladders.

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Part of the still life collection.

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View from the bench where we took turns – no hardship with this view.

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Gassan Diamonds was nearby, so again we took turns. The different carat, colour, clarity and cut were explained and we were shown some samples and stones set in rings … as we could handle them, I have my doubts that they were real.  The Gasson 121 cut has more cuts than the standard Brilliants … but knowing nothing about diamonds, lost on me …. I just liked the sparkle.

We then attempted to get into the top Amsterdam attraction – the Ann Frank House.  Whilst our Museum Card enabled us to queue jump in the other museums, no chance of it here.  On being told the queue was already over 2 hours, we cut our losses and cycled back to the ferry and the campsite.

We liked Amsterdam a lot and would happily come back and spend more time wandering the streets and some of the other museums, but not in the summer … far too busy!  

Our plans to explore a bit more of the Netherlands changed … we wanted some sun so we planned to head south.  My good friend Kerstin has just managed to evict some tenants, who had trashed the house … we offered our decorating services … so off to Engers, near Koblenz we shall go tomorrow.


Oscar’s Diary

Yes, it’s me, readers… how about a good old ‘whinge’ then…  Now my owners (bless their cotton sox) are quite ok – ‘gutenfolx’ in pigeon Dutch (another of my considerable lingua skills).  They bought this contraception – sorry (it’s that darn Led Right Mistrict) contraption – for me.  Did I ask them? No.  Did they consult me – No!  A fecking baby trailer, for ***** sake. Pardon my Dutch. They hooked it up to K’s bra – sorry, bike – and enticed me to go inside – with treats..  Ok, inside, they string me up by a harness and cycle off with me bouncing around trying to protect my ‘crown jewels’…  So, I bark – and get ignored!!!  

Back at home – shaken but not stirred – I have applied to join the French Foreign Legion – as a Welsh “Condomerie” – that’s a sort of ‘Colonel’ with sticky bits…  I can do the ‘Entente Condomriale’ with any little Klady… 

You haven’t heard the last of this ‘double Kentendre’, owners….

Dank U (Dutch, you see…)

Oscar

xx