Monday, November 28, 2011


  We took advantage of a beautiful sunny day and drove to Naarden - a small town east and north of Amsterdam.  Naarden is like a large open-air museum and one of Holland's best examples of a fortified town.  It has a double ring of walls in the shape of a star.

An aerial view shows the unique shape of this fortification.  How pretty is that!

It is possible to go into the bunkers and explore the armaments and other military defense equipment.

During the last century this bridge of land was built to allow access to the town by car.  Originally the fort was totally surrounded by water - making it easier to defend against invaders.

The St. Vitus church was built in 1380-1440, and was the only building that was not destroyed by the Spaniards in 1572 when they burned the town to the ground as an example to other Dutch rebels.  The surrounding buildings would therefore only be about 400 years old, (still a lot older than anything we have in America.)

We were very intrigued by these trees.  We couldn't figure out why they are trimme to be flat on top.
Another interesting thing to ponder....

We parked by the Arsenal museum and started our stroll around the city.

The town is already decorated for Sinterklaas Day, which is less than three weeks away.

These red brick buildings with white trim are a common sight in the Netherlands, and one of my favorite Dutch designs.

Elder Beckstrand in front of the Arsenal Museum, which was originally used to store the town's weapons.

The bag hanging from this window is an example of the bag Black Pete carries, which is filled with treats for good little children.  (The Dutch children are warned that if they are bad little children Black Peter will put them in his bag and carry them away.)

The streets are narrow and the buildings are very quaint. 

This beautiful gate to the town survived the Spanish fire that destroyed the rest of the town in 1572. 

Known as the Utrecht Gate, it is one of several entrances into the fortress.  We walked out through the opening and across the draw bridge.

Arrow holes were built into the interior of the gate so that unwelcome guests would be discouraged from entering.  You'd have to be a pretty good shot to aim and fire in time to hit the approaching rider - the depth of the holes didn't allow for much in the way of periferal vision.

The drawbridge was only built wide enough for one horse-drawn conveyance to enter or leave at a time.  Nowdays it is only used for foot traffic.

Every dorp (small town) has it's stadhuis (city hall), and this one is very similar to others we have seen in Holland - especially the stadhuises in Haarlem and Gouda.

Elder Beckstrand is examining a statue of Jan Amos Comenius, a famous Dutch scholar and educator.

The late afternoon sun shining onto the church made it positively glow.

We made a complete loop around the town and returned to our car near the Arsenal.

As we left this pretty fortress I took more pictures of the outside walls.

This was the perfect day to explore the Gemeente Narden.  The weather is getting cooler, but we're always grateful when the sun shines.

Goodbye to all of you lovely old buildings.  I will miss seeing you when we return to America.

I don't think they'll have anything like this in Arizona.

We were treated to a beautiful sunset as we drove back towards Diemen.  Although it was only 4:30 pm, the sun was already very low in the horizon.  It is dark by 5:00 this time of year.

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