Monday, March 21, 2011

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

...but first, Spring has sprung!
March came in like a lion and is going out like a lamb, as the saying goes.
And that's what my post is about on Vision and Verb today.
(Don't worry. I'll remind you again later.)

Now, follow these dots. This is fun!

You may remember Ernie and his delightful dog, Laika, who somehow always manage to enter my scene, as they did on this past Santa Run here. The image to the left is from 23 March a year ago when I first bumped into him on one of my citadel walks. Nine months later, when he saw me at the Santa Run, he asked if I'd send him the pictures I took back then. But my bad! I totally forgot until last Tuesday when, because of a citadel-walk post I was working on, I remembered and sent them to him. That's when he wrote back to tell me he had just won the prize for a photo contest related to our nearby Merwede Bridge celebrating its 50th-year anniversary....and that the next day, Wednesday, would be the official opening of the exhibition in the museum at our nearby Old Stadhuis. AND as a bonus, kids would be there in the afternoon building their rendition of bridges out of Legos.

The photo of the bridge above is the winning photo of all the 65+ entries here. Are you still following the dots?

So with one day's notice, I knew I'd want to go check it all out, in honor of my photographer friend and in hopes of some good photos of the kids building bridges out of Legos.

Here's the Old Stadhuis (below), not to be confused with the NEW Stadhuis (scroll down a bit) where all official city-hall business now takes place, including where we got married a year ago.

See the crooked Grote Kerk on the left (above)? It really IS that crooked and sits behind the Old Stadhuis on the market square 2 blocks from our house.

Now, look at this below from last Wednesday when I went to follow the yellow-brick Lego road:

As you see, since the building now houses the city's museum, it has delightful clay 'munchins' welcoming all who pass by. Because I was inside the museum that day (for my first time ever), I was able to take pictures looking out from their perspective.

Incidentally, in the top-right image above, the Old Stadhuis now houses a café/restaurant where we chose to eat our wedding dinner back on 5 February a year ago. We got married in the New Stadhuis and ate dinner in the Old. It made sense to us!

Now, come with me inside for this delightful hour of kids playing with Legos (bringing back so many memories of all those Lego sets we bought for son Mark over the years):

The orange banners outside say This isn't the first time I've seen a big deal made out of Legos here in Holland. Is it a bigger deal than in America, I wonder?

As soon as I walked through the front door of the Stadhuis and turned left there in the lobby, I saw this table in the corner, loaded with bridge-building potential.
As you see, bridge-builder wannabes come in all shapes and sizes...and ages.

That was downstairs, but I wanted to check out the museum upstairs since it's free to the public on Wednesday afternoons and I had not yet seen it. What I didn't expect was...

...another table set up there, too!
Because it was smaller and not as crowded, I spent most of my time there.

Don't you get the impression these are the Dutch geeks engineers of tomorrow!

Do you anticipate what I'm going to say about the above collage?
I just LOVE the juxtaposition of serious play against the backdrop of Dutch-Master paintings!

I also love how the boys often worked together, side by side... much as alone.
I loved watching this GAASTRA boy crouch low to get a different perspective of his work.
GAASTRA. Did you notice the name? It's the nautical brand of clothing with the Sneek waterpoort logo, as seen in this post.

My favorite of them all, certainly not older than 3-4!
I wish I had gotten his name...for future reference, assuming I live so long.

All the dots. The yellow brick road.

Just like that, from meeting Ernie and Laika a year ago, sharing our love of camera serendipitous, chance meetings and fun photo ops.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Folks.

Addendum: Astrid just found this YouTube of the official ceremony where you can see the kids winning their bridge prizes (one for a lttle girl and one for a boy). Also, Ernie's winning photo is being hung at the end:

Just another reminder that it's my turn again at Vision and Verb.
Spring has sprung!


  1. I thought you were going to say something about the primary colors, or red white and blue. :-)

    Where are the girl engineers?

  2. What fun! The photos with the children and Legos are so colorful... and I too LOVE the one of the smallest Lego builder... he shows SUCH concentration.

    I'm grateful for the Chrome browser (which I use for foreign language sites and not much else) because following the link about the contest took me to Dutch which I don't read very well at all! It seems they only show the entire group of images and haven't yet posted that your friend was the overall winner... I breezed through the slide show and think his image is truly marvelous! What a lucky thing that you remembered to send promised photos in time to reconnect just before the show.

    Rambling on and on again... last comment is that I LOVE the clay munchkins on the old state house... and how you tie in your posts to previous ones so we can go refresh our memories (or learn something new if we missed the earlier post(s)).

  3. Ruth: HA! Don't you love it when we're not predictable. :) Good question about the girl engineers. They were all downstairs and not up where I spent most of my time taking pictures. I have a feeling Holland has a lot of them in use right now, if not in the wings. :)

    Astrid just sent me a YouTube link showing one of the girls who won a bridge prize. So there! I've just added it to my post as an addendum.

    Victoria: I use Babel Fish for my online translator, so now I'm curious about Chrome. It would be fun to compare. It still amazes me that there are tools like that, making the WWW so much easier to understand.

    I love it when you ramble. :) You always make my day!

  4. Lego, I grew up with it and was on the floor with Lego from Jeroen when he was a kid.
    We builded whole cities and when he was older, we bought technical Lego.
    Maybe of this Lego, he now has insight of the job he is doing, he can look at something in 3D.
    Wednesday afternoon we will return to the Museum, for I like to see it too.
    The pictures of the Gorcum's Museum are wonderful.
    I love it that you have these great experiences.

  5. Astrid: Mark grew up with Legos, too. I loved finding him the perfect sets for each birthday/Christmas. He still has all of them! I loved playing them with him. :)

    Thanks for the YouTube of the official ceremony. Ernie doesn't want attention drawn to himself but that's him at the end helping to hang his photo. I didn't even recognize him without his cap!

  6. I loved playing with the precious few Legos I had as a girl. My set contained window, door and roof pieces so that I could build cool houses. I was hoping to locate similar pieces for my daughter but I only found a girlie set with pink bricks with flowers at a garage sale. My son was completely enamored with Legos and once wished for "all the Legos in the world" after he blew out his birthday candles.

    Have you seen James May's full-sized Lego house? Here's the youtube clip of part 1 of his show:

  7. DB: I never thought of Lego sets for girls. Hmmm. I wonder what they'd look like? I'm sure a lot has changed with Legos since my son played with them 30 years ago. WOW. All the Legos in the world. Wouldn't that be something!

    The James May YouTube is totally fascinating. Too cool. Now I want to see all of the completion. Amazing.

  8. In my basement storage room are three big boxes full of Lego that I can't bring myself to give away. It was the best way to spend play-time with my kids, and even as they grew older we would still sit around the dining room table building all kinds of stuff.
    You've got some wonderful photos there, Ginnie - it's clear that you have a tender spot for children and not just windmills!

  9. Deborah: I have a feeling the Lego toy is the most timeless toy ever made and probably the most lucrative. When we can't stand the thought of getting rid of it, that tells you everything!

    I'm not sure my kids would say I was a good mother but I do have a tender spot in my heart for children, yes. Having my grandson helps, of course. :)

  10. Ginnie,
    I forgot to mention that you can chase the related links of the clip and see the rest of the show. May actually did live in the house for 24 hours.

  11. DB: Oh yes, I figured it out and watched it last night...the end of the series. No way was I goona miss that! :) How fun. Thanks, though, for making sure I'd see it. I did!

  12. I know two little boys in Nashville who would love to join the children and figure out some Lego buildings. I asked my oldest grandchild, the 4 years old, what he likes to do, and he answered building things and learning Chinese…..and he knows more words in Chinese than I do (I took it at work for a month, until our prof was transferred to Beijing.) But I’d rather play with that group of intelligent and fun looking kids than learning Chinese. Now I need to buy more Lego sets for my grandkids.

  13. I loved the geek crossed out and replaced by engineer! Ha ha. The lego vidoe was fun - the little girl's bridge was so colorful.

    The sound of legos all being tipped over from a big box still sends shivers through me. Will hasn't played with them in years, but Spencer will inherit all these little legos soon...

  14. ...and in the video, it looks like a few people are actually leaning against the old paintings! (the guy in the orange jacket)

  15. Vagabonde: One of the best toys ever invented, as far as I'm concerned! I loved them every bit as much as my son, who is now 35. Sadly, Nicholas has not gotten into them. I wonder why???? If I ever got 'into' Chinese it would be for the artistic part...learning how to paint or write the symbols. :)

    Margaret: Spencer is one lucky boy! He'll be in heaven, I hope.

    And yes, I'm afraid even I leaned against one of those paintings at one point. I was almost horrified.

  16. I loved the sheep/lamb photo. And the Lego event you featured, it must have been fantastic to experience that. Sorry I missed coming by in the past week. Sometimes life just gets way too full.

  17. Tim: OMG! Your dad just died and if that's not reason enough, I don't know what is. I'm just glad you were able to come back this quickly. I thank you.

  18. Spring - I remember it turning while in Europe and it gave me a great feeling of change, yet still unpredictable at times. I love it when people come out and more and more chairs start lining the restaurants to eat outside in the warm sunshine!

    Legos - wow, now that looks like a lot of fun... Quite possibly why it isn't as big in the US is because it's the simple things that make people tick in Europe. I think many parents are consumed with entertainment via television, and that is the difference. More children explore and make in Europe.. At least that is what I saw while living there..

  19. ET: I'm sure you're right, Jen. Nicholas is much more interested in his Nintendo DS games for sure. I hate it. But it's a new world, new technology, new interests, etc. Sigh.

    I still marvel at all the people sitting outside the cafés with their winter coats on but in the sun. That's all they care about. THE SUN! :)