Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tecklenburg, Germany, with Philine and Mechtild

So, finally, we come to the end of all the posts from the end-of-November and early-December trips to Koblenz, Germany (3 days), and  then to Vasse, NL (four days)!  I knew I'd eventually get here but didn't know when.  HA!

It was during our Vasse trip that we took a day to drive the 85 km to Tecklenburg in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany, on the western side of the country.  

You may recall that we have had several delightful visits with Münster friends, Philine and Mechtild, over the last years.  Once we realized how close we were to their neck of the woods, while in Vasse, it was a no-brainer to figure out a visit.  Philine has always wanted us to see the quaint town of Tecklenburg.  So the trip was scheduled.

You know how the journey for us is always an important part of our destination.

We already knew that Tecklenburg was a town of half-timbered buildings...and hills.
From our parking spot, we immediately saw the church tower, hallmarking the town's center.

As we entered the center, it was a sight for sore eyes.

And because we had an hour to "waste," before meeting up with Philine and Mechtild,
we headed straight to the tourist center to get our bearings.
We were there on a Tuesday, between two weekends of the Christmas Market.

We didn't have to walk far to get a feel for the town and it's hilly levels.

Remember that this was the second week of December, so Christmas was everywhere.
Have you ever seen so much mistletoe in one spot?
Or how about a witches' path?

Impressions everywhere.

Then Philine and Mechtild showed up and, because it was time for lunch,
we immediately went to the Three Kings hotel where Philine had already reserved a table.

It doesn't get better than that:  good God, good friends, good food.

Even lots of photo-op goodies inside the hotel.

Back outside, we continued "looking and seeing"....

...being good tourists that we all are!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Astrid and I still had another hour or so to kill before heading back to Vasse for dinner,
so the 4 of us took the short drive to the nearby Haus Marck, 2.5 km away.

It's a 12th century castle/mansion that is still a family home.
A young fella inside the courtyard graciously allowed us to peek.

Then we walked alongside the moat towards the back of the property...

and enjoyed the view as the sun was setting.

What a way to end our day with friends who have become dear to us!
Thank you, Philine and Mechtild.  We should do this more often 
(as daughter Amy loved to say).

And what a way to end these two trips, one week after the other, from last year, 2015!
Now it's this year, 2016, already February...and miles to go before we sleep.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

A City, a Monastery, and a Castle

Believe it or not, I'm almost finished with the Vasse trip from that second week in December...all 4 days and 3 nights of it.  One more post to go after this.

Today's post is 3 places/visits that could be separate posts unto themselves but make more sense put together into a mish-mash of left-overs (?) from the main events of our trip.

For instance, on our way to Vasse, NL, we knew we'd be too early for checking into our hotel, and so decided to stop in Ootmarsum first, just 6 km outside of Vasse in the Twente region of the Overijssel province of eastern Netherlands...just before entering Germany.

Remember that Astrid and I prefer the back-roads and boonies of this wee country.
So the tiny towns we bump into along the way are the ones we most love to visit.
Look at the charm of this place of less than 5K in population.

Astrid loves to do the research on what we'll see when we travel.
What she found out about this town was that it had S T A T U E S.
Everywhere!  Even surrounding the church.

The statue it's probably most known for is the "Poaskearls" (Easter Men),
referring to an intriguing Easter ritual involving young, single men, which you can read here.

Another famous statue is of this girl who also tops the sign markers throughout the town.
I'm sure she has a name/title and story...which I'm still trying to find.
Surely we missed scads of other statues, but these were of our short walk around city center.

ADDENDUM:  Astrid did some research and found out that this is Sjalotje = Little Onion.
The onion is the symbol for the carnival in Ootmarsum, being pulled from the ground.

You know how I love to "collect" these things:
sundials, gable stones, niches, hanging signs, weathervanes...

And, oh yes, our koffie breaks!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On the day that we visited the splendid watermill in Denekamp, we drove from there to visit the next two places of this post.  As you know, no moss grows under our feet!

First, we drove to Nordhorn, Germany, approx. 10 km away, to see the monastery there.
It was obvious we had crossed over the border into Germany by the German flag on the signs.
That's part of the fun of traveling out in the boonies!

The Frenswegen monastery was founded in 1394.

Nowadays it appears to be used as a place of study or retreat,
and is where I found my "star of wonder" for Christmas.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

By now, the afternoon shadows were lengthening, but we knew we could make it in time to the Bentheim castle in Bad Bentheim, Germany, 18 km from the monastery.

We parked across the street from the half-timbered structure...

...and on the way to the castle bumped into this delightful pyramid carousel,
so typical of German decorations during the Christmas season.

I couldn't resist taking a video of it.
(Did you spot Astrid in her red coat?)

But it was the Bentheim castle, from the 11th century, we were there to see,
(along with a fun group of men), right around the corner.

It was magnificent, even without paying to enter the buildings.

It was enough for us to see the architecture...the courtyards, walls, gates.

And as so often happens on such days after we've seen enough, we said to each other,
"It's time to go home," which in this case was back to our Vasse hotel, 36 km away.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What's left of this Vasse trip is a side trip to Tecklenburg, Germany,
to meet up with dear friends Philine and Mechtild.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: January 2016

With only 12 months in a year, when one drops off the calendar, it sure makes the year seem short.  Man alive!  How did that happen!

Here are the Watercolor Sundays in January from my Facebook page (another month of 5 weekends):

January 3 (photo manipulation):

"For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon!
Make a move!  Mehmet Murat Ildan

January 10 (photo manipulation):

"A wounded deer leaps the highest." ― Emily Dickinson

January 17 (photo manipulation):

"It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water."
― Franklin P. Jones

[As an FYI, we still have no snow/ice here in Gorinchem, NL, but we plan to go ice skating
tomorrow night at a nearby ice rink in Dordrecht.]

January 24 (photo manipulation):

"I once said cynically of a politician, "He'll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it."
― Oscar Levant (American Actor, Pianist and composer, 1906-1972)

[We do NOT have snow here in Gorinchem, NL, but I'm thinking of all you who do,
especially in NE America.  Be safe.]

January 31 (photo manipulation):

"Snowmen fall from Heaven one flake at a time."  unknown
"Some of my best friends are flakes."  unknown

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

These are January's posts for my Saturday's Color meme:

(finished on 31 December 2015, posted on FB 2 January 2016)
This design didn't turn out exactly as I expected's still an owl, reminding me of WISDOM,
which brings to mind the following quote for 2016:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisom to know the difference."  Reinhold Niebuhr

(finished on 6 August 2003, posted on FB 9 January 2016)
If you're a Good Luck kind of person, here's a Celt mandala horseshoe for your 2016.

(finished on 13 January 2016, posted on FB 16 January 2016)
So, finally, out of curiosity, I tried colored pencils on a 5x7 design from my wee Mindfulness coloring book.  The short version is 1) I prefer the more vivid colors of felt pens and 2) the pressure I had to use to make the colors appear almost blew out my hand/arm.  Maybe I'd change my mind if that's all I had but since I am more at ease with the gentle flow of the felt pens, I will stick with them...which is NOT to discourage anyone else who loves pencils!

(finished on 8 February 2004, posted on FB 23 January 2016)
For those of you who know that we're in Mercury Retrograde right now (till the 25th), you'll understand why sometimes "less is more."  I'm not referring to snow, of course.  :)

(finished on 9 January 2016, posted on FB 30 January 2016)
With America's upcoming Presidential primaries and caucuses, I have imagined what we'd look like if we coexisted peacefully (red = Republicans; blue = Democrats; white = Independents; pink/purple = Undecideds).
Now, if only I could find a donkey to color!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dutch Watermills

You may remember that there is a Dutch database of 1173+ complete/active WINDmills in the Netherlands (with another 4000+ incomplete/vanished windmills), all in a country the geographical size of slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey.

But WATERmills...that's something else.  There are only 108+/- in the Netherlands.  That explains why Astrid and I were so excited to see TWO of them while on our Vasse trip in early December.

But first, you know how much it's not just the destination but the journey that excites us...on two separate days, one after the other.

Vasse is in the Twente region of eastern Netherlands in the Overijssel province.
The farm houses are a different architecture from where we live in South Holland province.

I don't remember seeing sheep, interestingly, though surely they were there.

But there were a few windmills...and even a lion, prancing about.

And as I mentioned on Facebook, I loved the drive-by "shootings" of people!
Life is at a slower pace out in the boonies, which I love.

As we neared our first watermill, I totally woke up to the trees everywhere.  
OMG.  They spoke to me....

And then, suddenly, we were there, at the 1880 Watermolen van Singraven in Denekamp.
As you can see out back, the watermill is used to saw wood.

But first, we spent time at the dam across the street.
Lots of water power!

Wonderful scenic views downstream.

And the Singraven Coach House (with its weathervanes) is also there, off to the left of the dam.
It goes all the way back to 1415.

But it was the watermill we had come to see, with its three wheels.

We couldn't have picked a better day for a perfect example of a Dutch watermill.

And because this is what the Dutch do, we stopped inside for our koffie break.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The next day, on our way home, we headed out to another watermill, 
De Noordmolen in Ambt-Delden.

It was built in 1325, renovated in 1984.

And what was most amazing...not another soul was anywhere to be seen.
We had it all to ourselves.

Well, that is, until we went across the street for our koffie break there,
just as they were opening for the day at 12 noon.

Two watermills in two days, Folks.
I kept thinking about a wheel in the middle of a wheel from Ezekiel 1:16!
It doesn't get much better than that, if you want to know the truth.