Monday, February 20, 2012

The Other Part of Our Anniversary Weekend

In my last post, I gave you the main and most memorable part of our 2nd anniversary weekend: the glassblowing workshop with Mart Martorell the first weekend of February.

There were two other main parts, however, that were delightful, memorable, and right up our alley. The first was staying at the B&B in Barchem (ca. 1800 inhabitants), 10 km from Mart's workshop!

Astrid enjoys doing the research for our B&Bs when she has the time.
So far, she has been 100% on target, no matter when or where we go.
This B&B, the Kistemaker, is out in the boonies, away from traffic and city life.

After our glassblowing workshop, we took a walk before dinner.

How can you say NO to that!

Because of being in the boonies, our choices were limited for dinner.
We decided on an Italian restaurant in a house...where only 14 could eat in the dining room.
It was Friday night, so we made time to make the count.
We loved it. Cozy and good.

We awakened the next morning to a glorious the boonies....

...and to a breakfast to die for.
Did I tell you our hosts are two gay guys? Enough said!
They make their own bread, jams, and...eggs. HA! Chickens, yes.

And a show to distract us while eating....

...all seen from the dining-room table!

As you can imagine, it was very hard to leave. Our only consolation is that when we go back to see Mart again, we know where we can stay!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

We were then on our way to nearby Zutphen to visit our longtime friends, Wim and Irmgard...and their 3-yr-old son. It was our first time to meet Marius and, yes, play with him. The Legos we brought for him did the kind of trick any photographer loves. Those are the pictures I'll be working on this week...for my next post.

After that wonderful time of playing and catching up, we continued on to Bronkhorst, the unofficially smallest town of the Netherlands with ca. 150 inhabitants.

Half the fun was getting there over the back roads of the countryside.
The first snow of the season had just fallen the week before with more arriving
on Friday while we were at the glassblowing workshop.
It was a winter wonderland.

In fact, after we parked our car outside Bronkhorst,
I was totally taken up by all the wonder as we entered the town.

Talk about a charm!

With its own church!

It's own windmill, from 1844!
(Look how happy Granny Towanda is!)

And, believe it or not, it's own Charles Dickens Museum!

In paying attention to the details, you find out this is a Rijksmonument place/town.
All of it: the museum, the windmill, the houses, the town.
Similar to a UNESCO site, everything has to be maintained in its original style and format.

Mart, the glass blower, was the one who put us onto all of this.
Well worth every minute we were there.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

By the time we were done, at the end of our second day away, we were ready to return home from our grand celebration. As we entered Gorinchem, the sun was starting to set at 6:30 on the windmill 2 blocks from home....

Home Sweet Home.
Zo is het.
So is it.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

One last thing: Astrid is the guest blogger at Vision and Verb today, talking about ice skating on the lakes and canals of the Netherlands. I am so proud of her!


  1. Wow! What a trip. What findings to keep really - both Mart and Bronkhorst seem like AWESOME places!!!! I so can understand it was a bit hard to leave at Mart, it would have suited me too well! Everything was gorgeous, and as a horse lover I love the horses scenes one get to see of course! But I also love birds and saw that you spotted a Red Robin there too. They seem to be more common in other countries, over here they are pretty shy.

  2. LCT: Just to make sure I didn't confuse you, but the B&B was not Mart's place. We went to the B&B after we spent time at Mart's workshop. Our B&B hosts were Frank and John...and were wonderful. It's exactly the kind of place where you'd want to have some R&R!

  3. Astrid's expression "too short of eyes" is how I feel every time I visit... and "too short of time" is how I will be when I finally make it over for a visit. Your posts make me want to see it all and I know there won't be time to do that! I do so enjoy seeing places through your eyes and wish I had the patience to put images together as beautifully as you do in your collages.

    I still haven't finished Sweden and Iceland... and since then have been to Montana and Colorado, Cape May, Montana again and am about to head out to Oregon and Washington for family visits. So I've given up on catching up. HA!

    I love the sunset picture of the windmill... so many wonderful collages too! Thanks once again for sharing your travels... for stopping by my blog... and for being a friend over the miles! (and yes, 10 years ago I never would have dreamed that taking marvelous images and processing them on a phone would be possible... I have heard from several people that there are not nearly as many processing and photo apps for phones other than the iPhone, though)

  4. Victoria: I often think of "short of eyes," so that you do, too, makes me smile. It's a perfect expression for what I see all around me almost every day. Thank you.

    You have been packing a LOT into your life these last weeks and months. I'll be amazed if you can ever catch up. HA! But then, I have trips from years ago that I did not "process" like I'm doing now. Somehow now it's very important to me. I feel it's my job, if that makes sense!

    I love the images you pick and choose. It always makes me smile. :)

  5. Zo is het!!! I enjoy picking the B&B. I look at the map AND streetvieuw, I like to know if we are on a busy road or not. At home we are, so I like peace and quiet while we are at a B&B.
    It was great fun, the whole weekend. Being that cold AND snow, gave us many nice pictures. The breakfast was great, the bread was very tastful, we felt so welcome.
    I love the expression of being 'out in the boonies', we were. Life is not that hectic there. People have time for each other. I love these weekends. I come at places I have never been. Thank you for willing to cross Holland from North to South and East to West, with me. Thank you for making this memorable post again. IHVJ.

  6. Astrid: I love when you do the research for our B&Bs. You've never failed us yet. :) And even if one wasn't good, it wouldn't be the end of the world. We have so much to enjoy about our life together. Thank you.

  7. researching b&b's is up my alley also. I love the one's you have chosen and all of the pics! Boonies, that word makes me laugh, what does Astrid call it???

    And the charm, every village has so much. I think there is more charm because villages are all close together and there is a visible town centre. So beautiful!!!

    Can't wait to see the Lego pics. Off to read VV

  8. ET: Astrid says they call the boonies the jungle...out in the middle of nowhere. :)

    Charm is a good word for these towns and villages. Each one seems to have its own personality, which is its...charm. :)

    Thank you, Jen.

  9. Looks like a delightful walk before dinner. And the breakfast looks like a great way to begin a day. I like the remoteness of the bed and breakfast.

  10. So so beautiful, all of it. The B & B looks just like you, the way you would decorate. Like Astrid, I love researching and finding places like that (as you know, from my trips to Paris).

    The photos with the sheep, goats, horses and bird are so wonderful. And the food, well you know how I feel about that. :-) All of it is special, because you see it that way, and we can all feel it here.

  11. Your last two posts are great – it would have taken me hours to look at all the glass art in the workshop – and to learn how to make some of these delicate pieces must have been once in a lifetime adventure in art. Then going to that lovely and quaint little town – so picturesque – only in Holland! Compared to my post where I show how older buildings are destroyed in the US it is a joy to look at the way the heritage is kept in the Netherlands. The food at your B&B looked very tasty. What a great time you had!

  12. Tim: Oh yes, I can imagine you having a heyday out in these boonies! :) Thank you, Tim.

    RuthS: Yes, Sister, I remember this about you, researching places to go. Astrid does such a good job. Of course, it helps that she knows Dutch. :)

    Thanks for being so encouraging about the photos. That always means a lot!

    Vagabonde: I thought of Bronkhorst when I read your post on all those mansions soon to be demolished. You're so right. The heritage should be kept alive. Why aren't there any ordinances to maintain the orginal presence???

    Anyway, you'd have a heyday in the glass shop. We were definitely short of eyes there!

  13. you two have the coolest funnest trips. i love to be out in the boonies.

  14. PC: We LOVE our "coolest trips," Maria, and feel so lucky. Thank you!

  15. You were in Barchem soo close to my house I live very close to there , (Neede) Im laughing to myself how your refered to the boonies out here. lol Ive been so many of the places you have visited , I love how you tell your stories about them all.I thought Bronkhorst was charming also. I wanted to wish you and Astrid a Happy Anniversary. Julie in HOlland

  16. Roses are red, violets are blue,
    There's nothing more fun
    than to follow you two!

    This was an amazing adventure to follow, with some wonderful photos - I am curious about Bronkhorst. Did you leave your car outside town because you wanted to walk, or is it an area off-limits to cars?

    A little irony, here - my favorite photo is of "your" windmill. It's a beautiful sky and such an emblematic image. We travel and travel and at the end - home has its own beauties waiting for us!

  17. I love the rural collages, especially the ones with animals in them. I guess the snow and cold weather is a bit of a novelty? I read where they are having a skating race that can only occur if it gets cold enough. And here on the other side of the Atlantic, we are having a very mild winter. The snow falls, but instead of piling up, it disappears. That's a novelty for us! Anyway, it's so nice to see your snowy photos from your trip.

  18. Julie: How fun that you stopped by here and commented! Thank you. Don't you love how we find each other on the World Wide Web! Do you have your own blogsite, I wonder? I would love to find out. In the meantime, it's a small world after all. We'll be back in the Barchem area one day when we go back to see Mart Martorell, the glass blower. If we stay in touch, perhaps we can meet each other?

    SA: I started laughing when I saw your Roses are red ditty, Linda. How clever of you, after your own last post. GREAT.

    Bronkhorst is a very small city where visitors are not allowed to park, so they have a very nice parking lot right outside the city center. We're talking about only a block away, if that.

    And don't you just love it when it is HOME that surprises us with our best gifts! I think there's a message there. :)

    As always, thank you for your generous comment.

    Karen: I love the rural areas, too, which are always so nearby. We can hop in the car and be there in just a few minutes, if we want. Sometimes that's why I like going to our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant, because of the journey to get there through the polder.

    I bet you're talking about the Elfstedentocht race, which is HUGE for the Dutch. Some people take off work just to see it on TV! However, you're has to be cold enough long enough to totally freeze the 200km of canals. It goes between 13 cities and this year there were 2 cities that did not have thick enough ice. That meant the entire race could not happen. The race has happened only 15 times in 100 years, which tells you everything. They can hardly wait to do it again. Maybe next year?!

  19. Looks like you had an incredible weekend. And quite an inspiring environment for a workshop. Your photos are great, beautifully captured and processed.

  20. This place Bronkhorst was truly lovely, made even more photogenic by the sprinkling of snow. Absolutely charming. And I bet that B&B was a super place to stay. I have considered a trip to Amsterdam in April but i don't think I'll have enough time, however, perhaps when you are in Michigan in May.

  21. Otto: Thank you for stopping by and commenting here! You're very kind.

    Sham: You'd love all these places that mean so much to me! Maybe one day we can show you around, even if not in April. I'll write you....