Friday, May 25, 2007

The Organ Grinder

Since we're entering a nice holiday weekend for most of us (yes, even here in Holland!), here's something for the holiday spirit.

This organ "grinder" was in our Amsterdam neighborhood last Friday towards the end of the day. Our front windows are usually open because we get lots of sun there throughout the day, so when the music started, it filled up our apartment.

We both ran to the windows and this is what we saw:

Remember that our apartment is facing the street on the first floor. So when we went to the windows, we opened them wide (European windows swing open from the side or the top, both opening inward into the room--not up and down like in America). I sat on the window sill and started clicking away.

Everyone loves this guy, I'm quite sure!

Before he hopped back onto his contraption, he even waved to me. I told Donica later that we should have thrown him a coin! Next time we'll throw two.

And then off he went.

These are the small pleasures that fill me up here in Amsterdam. A day in our life. A moment in time. Just had to share it. :)

Now you go and find a happy moment this weekend. Or maybe it will find you!


  1. What sort of music did he play?
    Were there any moving parts on his contraption, for instance, did the "people" move their arms?
    I assume it was powered by pedal power?
    What a marvellous surprise outside your window. Super!

  2. serendipity of sorts, eh!!! :)
    his contraption is in an apt facing street has its own perks.......thanx for bringing it to us ..and have a great weekend!!! I'm off to enjoy for my long one ..:)

  3. That is one beautiful organ. And what a great way to start the long weekend! Now I'm also curious to know, whether the figures moved, too.

  4. Oh wow, I've never seen one that size before. And so ornate.

    I've found lots of happy moments already and it's only Friday.

    Enjoy the holiday weekend!

  5. Ex-S: Guess what! He came by again this afternoon and stopped, just after you left your comment! No, it's not powered by pedal, so I don't exactly know how it runs. But it does sound like an organ-grinder sound--kinda like from the fair. And when it plays, those two ladies on the side ring the bell with the little tapper-gong in their hands. So cute!

    Moi: It is definitely a contraption! And he gets around town. You have a great weekend as well.

    CS: Yup. The two ladies tap their bells in time with the music. So cute.

    Christina: Awww. I've never seen one that big either. It's fun to see. It's my gift to you today for your birthday. :)

  6. Ginnie - Love it! I thought the car in the first picture was towing it but then I see that's not true. Some of these are steam powered but that doesn't appear to be the case either. You'll have to go down the next time you see him and ask AND now it seems he knows your watching so he'll be baaack some more. Have to figure out a way to put sound with your posts. WOW!!! Wouldn't that make them even MORE special?!!! Already having a GREAT weekend - hope you are too!

  7. That is beyond cool! I'm almost jealous. Just the notion of being able to open your windows and sit on the ledge and watch all this life and activity happen right before your eyes. Thanks for sharing the moment with us!

  8. I love it, so ornate. But where is the monkey??
    I wonder if he loooves his job or is looking forward to a weekend away from the old GRIND, too.

  9. Do you mean this weekend is a holiday weekend in Amsterdam too? I assume some other than Memorial Day?

    These photos are great! That's an old time treat, it seems. I'm confused by the photos, though. He looks as though he's just moving the organ around. Was it playing the whole time? What was he doing in the first and second photos?

  10. What holiday is it for you? LOL gotta love the trailor type organ. How cool! What a site...

  11. Judy: I wonder if it's gas-powered, like his "bike." He doesn't pedal, that's for sure. We saw the back of one in Leiden today (from afar) and I could see a wheel turning. Hmm. It really has my curioity! Yes, maybe the next time I'll run down before he leaves...and even ask him!

    Mad: I have to keep pinching myself because it's so unreal! I know what you mean.

    Susan: HA! No monkey. The guy sure smiles a lot, so I have a feeling he loves his job, especially when everyone is out and about.

    Ruth: Yes, Monday is Pentecost here. They have more holidays than you can shake a stick at!! The organ was playing the entire time--maybe gas-powered, like the "bike?" In the first photo, I think he was turning off the "bike" because later he turned it on like a lawn mower. In the second photo, I haven't a clue!

    ET: It's Pentecost on Monday and that's all I know. Like I told Ruth, they have more holidays than you can shake a stick at!

  12. That is Bizarre indeed!! I wonder what that contraption sounded like!! Only in Amsterdam!

  13. Hallo youngster (LOL), still in Amsterdam I see. I have not thought about windows as you write it here. *cause here, we always push the windows to open. i.e. inside out.

    Great pictures again. I love the way you communicate;))

    May be I'll be over in Michigan in September.... Will you and mr be around at that timeframe?

  14. I'm so glad you've figured out how European windows are opening LoL
    These pics are just great - you've captured this music grinder so well!

    We've had a long and happy family weekend in Sweden with a lot of happy moments. Hope yours where great too:-)

  15. RRD: It did sound like an organ-grinder contraption, Stacey, but without the monkey! :)

    Tor: Actually, we'll be in Michigan over the July 4th weekend and then maybe again in August for Ruth's Farm Day, but not in September. Oh, I'll hate to miss you! Do let me know the dates and who knows, maybe magic will happen!

    Renny: I still laugh when I think back to Hannover and we had no clue but had to ask our landlords! So glad you've had such a great time with the family!