Thursday, June 23, 2011

Marken Island

We took a P-Day excursion with the Andersons to Marken  - an island that for eight centuries was in the Zuiderzee.  It was a prosperous fishing village until the decision to build the Afsluitdijk was made early in the 20th century, cutting off the Zuiderzee from the North Sea.  Since then, Marken has relied on tourists coming to see their old-fashioned fishing village.

The first sight to meet our eyes as we entered the village was this interesting structure.  It was calling out to visitors to come inside and see how wooden shoes were made.

The proprietress was able to explain the process from beginning to end.

She first held up a piece of birch wood and explained that it was the variety best suited for wooden shoes.

She showed us shoes in various stages of completion.  Each stage is done on a separate machine.

She pulled up her skirt to show us her 'sexy' clogs and the two pair of thick woolen socks that she wears with them.  The socks cushion the rubbing of the wood against the feet and provide warmth in cold weather.

We enjoyed watching this machine form the outside of this small wooden shoe.

The next machine carved out the inside.  The final step was to smooth off the ends that were left where the machine held the shoe.  It was an interesting process to watch.

This display showed the process from the beginning block of wood to the finished shoe at the top. 
I'm glad I'm not required to wear shoes like this - they don't look very comfortable.  (The woman in the shop advised us that you always fit your wooden shoes with at least an inch to spare between the shoe and the back of your foot.  Good to know before buying your next wouldn't want to develop a blister.)

The houses on the island are mostly green with white trim.  They looked like they had each been freshly painted for the tourist season.

As always, the gardens were beautiful.

Row upon row of green an white stiped houses line the streets.  They even paint their picket fences green.

There was a rare black one in this trio.

And here we saw a pretty beige home with green trim on the white windows.  The flowers were very colorful.

Sister Anderson and I stop for a photo op at this picturesque bridge.  Wilhelmina was a former queen of the Netherlands.

We walked toward the center of town and tried to go inside the church.  Alas, the door was locked.  The day we visited  was Second Pinkster Day in The Netherlands - a holiday that commemorates the Day of Pentecost.    

We were delighted to run into this cute little lady in traditional Dutch costume.  She was on her way to the museum that showed more of the traditional clothing worn by the Dutch for various special occasions.

This was the other museum proprietress who was very congenial  until we started talking about the reason we were in The Netherlands.  She immediately cooled off when we explained our missionary purpose.   "No, no, I don't want to hear about your church - I have my own church."  This is a common response in this country.

This model inside the museum showed the traditional wedding costume of Dutch brides.

And we can't forget the men.  They were quite elegant as well.

We walked out to the wharf to see the fishing boats.  Before the afsluit dyke was built there were over 100 boats in the fishing fleet that used this port.  Now there are less than 10 who continue to make their living in the fishing trade.  Most of the boats docked here are pleasure craft.  The afsluit dyke closed off the salt water from the ocean and created a fresh water lake.  The varieties of fish that live in the lake now are different varieties and not as plentiful.

The wharf area was lined with shops and restaurants.  We enjoyed browsing through the buildings to look at all the Dutch products for sale - delft china, tablecloths, lace, etc. - but we left with our money safely in our wallets.  This was definitely NOT the place for good buys.  I was shocked to see cotton fabrics being sold for Dutch costumes at 15 Euros per meter - that would be about $20.00 per yard in the states.  I don't think so....

It was a cool, drizzly day.  We were glad for our raincoats.

This really is a pretty little village.  I'm sure the residents spend a lot of time and money keeping their homes perfectly painted and their gardens beautifully tended to impress their visitors.  After all - their livelihoods depend on it.

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