Thursday, September 29, 2011

Arnhem Open Air Museum

The Tibbitts joined us for an afternoon at the Netherlands Open Air Museum near the city of Arnhem.

Just for you Nederlanders - the name in Dutch is Openluchtmuseum.

I'm not sure if Sister Tibbitts is wearing that big smile because she's happy to be here or if she's just happy to be out of the office.  The weather is BEAUTIFUL!  Much too pretty to be indoors. 

A beautiful molen (windmill) - one of my favorite things in the Netherlands.

From the outside, this building looks pretty ordinary, but on the inside we discovered a paper-making business from the 1600's.

The demonstration of how the paper was made was fascinating.  Tiny pieces of cloth were floating in the water.  The guide dipped a screen in the water and when he brought it back up it was covered with thousands of tiny pieces of fabric.

He carefully laid the block of fabric pieces out on a matt to dry.

After being pressed and pounded into a sheet, the paper strips were hung in the attic to dry.  Paper was made in this way for several hundred years.

The next amazing thing we saw was this double-headed cow!  Oh wait - the poor thing has a tail coming out of his neck.

I've been telling the family back home about the 'oreo' cows in this country.  Well - here is the proof!  It's actually called the Dutch Belted Cow.  Some are reddish brown instead of black.  Interesting, huh?

We loved this garden that had beautifully sculpted shrubbery.

A pretty little old-fashioned kitchen.

I'm not sorry we don't still wash clothes on a washboard.  This one even had a hand-cranked wringer attached.

We learned that there was a superstition in the olden days that if a person slept laying down his brain cells would leak out and he would gradually lose his intelligence.

Babies were allowed to lay flat because their brains weren't well-enough developed to be at risk.  Yeah - right.

This crib had rockers on the bottom so that a parent (or sibling) could rock the baby while doing other chores.  Great idea!

We stepped inside the village pub to get a freshly poured cup of beer - not.  The whatchamacallit she's pouring the beer from is pretty, though.

There was a wedding being held here - hence the balloons and wicker heart decorations.  It is a cute location.

This is a giant farmhouse/barn.  The barn is connected to the living quarters without even a door between them

There was a fine layer of dust over everything.  Try to imagine the smells that would be in your home,  especially in the winter when the animals stayed indoors.  I can't believe that they could eat their meals with the animals (and accompanying aromas) not 10 feet away.

Not a very good picture - but I wanted to get the opposite side of the one above.  The animals were stalled under the same roof and their heat helped to keep the family warm in the winter.

This was a house made of peat.  Some of the early Dutch people used peat because wood was scarce.

Inside the peat home.  Not a palace, but I guess it would be better than nothing.

Another pretty molen.

Next we went inside a cheese-making factory. These are the large vats where rennet is added to the milk to make it curdle.  The whey is drained off and the curds are left to be pressed into cheese.

We could buy many varieties that were displayed here.  The cheese in Holland is delicious!

The curds were placed in these barrels and pressed until it formed round wheels of cheese.

These huge barrels held the milk that was brought into the plant.
I'm sure these have been replaced today with refrigerated units.

Just around the corner we discovered two houses that contained textile looms.  Some of the looms were centuries old.

The beautiful cloth they make here is sold at the museum store.  This is a craft that should be preserved.

I especially liked this colorful piece of fabric.

This gorgeous building was the home of a bakery which was open for business.

And this antique mailbox was just around the corner.

The baker shows off some of his yummy pastries.  Sister Tibbitts couldn't resist.

We opted for a huge oatmeal/raisin cookie.  The product pictured is the actual size.

Sister Tibbitts loved this old-style fast food machine.  Just insert a coin and take out the meal of your choice.

And for dessert - an almost endless array of candy.

Or you could step outside for popperjes and pannekoeken.

Yes, another windmill.  But it's very different from the other three.  And it's yellow!  I don't think I've seen a yellow one before today.

What a beautiful garden.  The mozaics around the monument were very pretty also.

As were the beautifully sculpted hedges and bright red flowers.  Eye Candy!

We loved this pretty lake where geese of all kinds enjoyed the cool water and beautiful sunshine.

Have you ever seen a country where the homes have so much personality?  This one looks like it has eyebrows over the windows.  How cute is that?

The lady of the house paused from her work long enough to be a guest on my blog.

We walked through several more farmhouses with the barns attached to the living quarters.  Some were really large, and this one had a thatched roof, which made it even more interesting to me.

This resident of the preceeding farmhouse was 'wallowing' in the September sunshine (and other stuff.)

At least this farmhouse had a set of doors that closed off the barn from the family living quarters.  It would certainly make the living conditions more sanitary.

Yes, we've been snooping through your house, but we're leaving now so you'll be okay.  It was really fun being here today.  Thanks for inviting us!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Joel Joins Us in Holland

As soon as we picked Joel up from the airport we headed for Alkmaar to the Friday morning cheese market.  This was the final market of the summer and business was hopping.

 Joel wanted to try some of the Dutch baked items.  Poffertjes are especially prized as a sweet treat.  They resemble donut holes that are sprinkled with powdered sugar.

This cute Dutch girl was passing out brochures for the tourists who were there to enjoy the market.
It was a beautiful sunny day - rare in this part of the world.

More people in traditional Dutch costumes.

Since I posted pictures of the cheese market previously, we'll move on to Marken Island where we showed Traci and Joel a traditional Dutch fishing village.

You haven't been to Holland unless you've watched a wooden shoemaking demonstration.

Our next stop on our whirlwind 'hit the high spots' tour was Zanse Scans.

If you see Joel with his eyes closed quite often that's understandable.  After all - he's been on a transatlantic flight and hasn't slept for about 36 hours!

Traci is standing inside a windmill that was used to cut trees into building materials.  We watched the wind-driven sails turn the saws that cut the planks from the tree trunks.

Our host explained the ingenious ways that man has harnessed the wind via the Dutch windmills to provide power for all kinds of industries - from cutting wood to making mustard and linseed oil.

We left Zanse Scans early hoping to get to the Muiden Castle before it closed at 5:00 pm.  We were there at 4:30 but the last tour had already left and they wouldn't let us any closer than the main gate.  I hope we can get back there sometime.

 On Saturday we took the tram down into Amsterdam to let our visitors see this beautiful old European city.   The               first place we stopped at was the Grote Kerk - the oldest church in Amsterdam.

Walking down to Dam square, we were able to see the beautiful Royal Palace, which has been completely restored inside.  It is truly a place 'fit for a king'.

The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) on Dam Square was open to the public.

I tried to get some pictures inside, but they were quite dark.  The interior was very elaborate.

The strangest thing we saw inside this church was the arrangement of naked silver statues of women all over the place. 

There was an exhibit being held of designer bridal dresses - but I didn't quite get all the naked statues everywhere.  It didn't seem appropriate for a church somehow.

I loved the beautiful stained glass windows.

Outside again, we started walking around the old part of the city.  Amsterdam centrum is totally encircled with canals.  This is one of the many we strolled along.

I never tire of the beautiful architecture of the old buildings.

The flower market on Singel was quite a sight to see.  Bulbs and blooms of all varieties of flowers are available here.

If I knew more about flowers I would have been tempted to pick up some Dutch bulbs to take home.

Walking along the streets is a sensory delight.  That black house in the center is leaning forward at the top about 2 feet.  The one next to it was leaning to the right creating a gap of another foot between the buildings.

 We decided to take a canal cruise so that Traci and Joel could see the city from the water - (it gave us an excuse to get off our tired feet for a few minutes.) 

I wonder if the people who live in the black building worry that it will fall out onto the street!

Many, many canals intersect the city making it necessary to construct lots of picturesque bridges like this one.

We were told that the homes were built with these winches at the top so that furniture could be hoisted up and moved into the homes through the windows.  Narrow doors and stairways made it impossible to take larger furniture through the doorways.

Even the water towers are pretty.

Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum is behind us on Dam Square. We opted not to go inside because we wanted to enjoy a nice meal with our guests to celebrate our 46th anniversary.

We went to a nice hotel restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely meal and caught up on the family news. 

A trip to Amsterdam wouldn't be complete without exploring the public urinals.  How desperate are you, Joel? 
We'll be sorry to see them get on the train tonight for Germany.  It has been so fun to have some of our family here with us.