Sunday, August 15, 2010

Out-n-About...and Rhenen, NL

Every once in awhile on a Sunday (after we've had a full Saturday), if the weather is spectacular, Astrid is chomping at the bit to go outside. I am learning this is a Dutch thing. Everyone wants to be outside when the weather is heerlijk = delightful. Duh. But of course!

So a week ago yesterday, when the weather was more spectacular than the Saturday before, we drove less than 10 km from home to look for a water tower for me to photograph. I "collect" them like windmills and one day will do an entire post on them because they're all over Holland in many different styles and architectures. Very soulful to me. Though this particular one is very plain in comparison to others we have seen, it did not disappoint. However, it ended up being the "after thought" of the excursion brecause of the other treasures we unexpectantly saw.

First, it was these Lakenvelder cows that totally astonished me. Have you ever seen such a thing?!

Dutch Belted dairy cows. Some of them produce over 9000 liters of milk per lactation!

Then, as though that weren't enough, within the same area we saw 4-horned sheep:

Again, have you seen such a thing?! It would be something to carry around either set of these horns...but both sets? Don't you wonder...WHY?! :)

Then we saw the windmill, "outstanding in its field" right in the middle of nowhere: the Oude Doornse Molen built in 1700:

Notice that the octogonal sides are made of thatch and not of wood. I was in heaven. This was the first such windmill style I had seen like this in The Netherlands, at least up close and personal. We were able to walk up that side road and stare.

As far as we could tell, no one was living there (though someone could have once upon a time), but there in the side yard was this family of goats:

See the water tower in the background? It was all together in one swell foop between the little villages of Uppel and Almkerk! The unusual animals, the water tower, the windmill, and these goats. We kept saying to each other that we couldn't believe it. So many things within a Sunday afternoon's joy ride just minutes from home!

[Click on collages to enlarge and then click again to enlarge further.]
That was Sunday! The Saturday before was overcast but we didn't care when we drove 25 miles east to Rhenen, a city of approx. 19K people. We wanted to see the Cunera Church from the other side of the Rhine River, as well as up close and personal.

Again, we were not disappointed! But after visiting the Tourist Information center (the VVV), we were told it would not be open because it was being prepared for a concert that evening. However, as we walked around the church to see all the nooks and crannies, lo and behold, the front door was open for another half hour and we were able to go inside after all.

As is the case with so many European churches, this started out Roman Catholic in the Middle Ages but became Protestant in 1580. Over time it has been damaged and restored many times and today appears more bright and cheery compared to many of the Roman Catholic churches we've seen.

See why we love going inside these churches! They're heaven for photographers.

After the church we went to see the windmill called De Binnenmolen, built in 1893 and within a few blocks from the church:

Notice the difference between this mill and the one at the beginning of the post near Almkerk. See why windmills are so soulful to me....

....and why walking around these cities, no matter how big or small, yields such great treasures.

It so happens that Rhenen impressed us so much we decided not to see anything else that trip except for it's WW II military cemetery just outside the city limits, at the Grebbe line, where the Dutch withstood the German army for 3 consecutive days in 1940. It is Holland's first official war cemetery:

[Click on collages to enlarge and then click again to enlarge further.]

This post is chock full of a lot a stuff that happened in one weekend, I know. Sometimes that's how our weekends are. Chock full. If I don't stay on top of them, they all float away into the proverbial Black Hole, so thanks for bearing with me.

This past weekend we pretty much stayed put within Gorinchem, preparing for our upcoming Thursday and Friday in Amsterdam for Sail 2010 and the Tall Ships bonanza. That's my birthday gift to Astrid...and another post altogether.


  1. The cows have so regular patchs!:) Looks like they were all covered with white towels:)

  2. Your post is proof positive that you just have to get out . . . of the house, of town . . . out. There will be surprises, if we are lucky. I have seen neither the Lakenvelder cows, nor the four-horned sheep. Too much fun. :D

  3. What a cornucopia of finds in this post. There's just too much to comment on any one thing. Love it, Ginnie!

  4. What an exciting, yet simple hobby! Swede's father has a similar hobby. He travels around Utah and takes pictures of historic sites and writes stories about them. If I were going to travel to snap pictures at one thing, what would it be? That's something to think about- you've inspired me!

  5. HA, you know me by now, when it does NOT rain I like to be outside, it does not have to be far from home, just being outside is enought for me.
    This post is a delight, all those memories, all the things we saw together, thank you mijn lieve vrouw to make those memories for the both of us.
    This post shows that we enjoy what we are doing in our spare time.
    The picture of the sheep, I honked the horn and whistled on my fingers, that made him look up, he was so busy eating.......
    The church was a real treat, a Catholic church that was turned in a Protestant church, so much light, so well taken care off.
    I am looking forward to our next big trip :) ready...set....go......

  6. Ola: Those cows are something else. I had never seen such a thing in my life!

    Ruth: We have so many surprises we can't even count them. Indeed. Going out is one of our favorite things to do...especiallly since it doesn't have to be far. It reminds me of how Bennett would travel the back roads of Michigan!

    Karen: That's basically how I feel as I put these posts together! :)

    Mrs. SwedeHart: Windmills, water towers, church spires and clock towers. I have a whole list of them, Rachel. :)

    Astrid: We really are partners in crime and I love it. I especially love that you are seeing things for the first time in your life, too, here where you grew up. It makes it all that much more fun.

  7. i thoroughly enjoyed touring with you. lots of wonderful things to photograph.

  8. stumbled upon your blog today... you take beautiful pics and loved reading the stories behind them :) Thanks for sharing !!

  9. PC: Thanks a million, Maria. We both take each other on trips of a lifetime, don't we! I like that. :)

    Joella: Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I just wish the link took me to your blog! Maybe next time?

  10. Your animal pictures are wonderful! And those sheep horns are impressive! Glad I don't have to carry them around. :)

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I liked the picture of the goats and was imagining what good cheese someone could get from such splendid animal. The church was grand too. In the last 5 years four churches have been built in a 5 mile radius of our houses – all of them ugly. One is like a huge commercial building (that is where we have to vote) and unless you see its name and go inside – you can’t tell it is a church. When we went to vote we went into a large room and I realized that it must be where they have their services – sad looking. Another church which has been enlarged already is just a box. I would think that some young architect could come up with something pleasant to look at even within a budget. On Sundays all their parking lots are full of SUVs and expensive cars so they certainly could afford to have built something pleasing to the eyes. In France, for example the cathedral of Reims, many workers would do the job free to show what they could do such as carpentry, masonry etc. I wonder why something like this could not be done here in the US and beautiful churches could be built? Is beauty something the church goers here are against?