Friday, September 18, 2020

Garderen Sand Sculptures 2020: "75 Years of Liberation"

My last post on August 27 was the first part of Astrid's birthday celebration this year, which included granddaughter Hailey at the Adventure Farm the day before her actual birthday.  Remember?  

Today's post is the actual day of her birthday, August 24, celebrated at the Garderen sand-sculpture festival 84 km from home.  It's our 3rd year in a row to visit these incredible creations that still blow our socks off.

Because I turned 75 in June, when we normally go (for MY birthday), it was the perfect theme, all about what happened in WWII, ending with Liberation from the Germans on May 5th, 1945.  It's a HUGE event for all of Europe (the world!), but you can be sure it's extra special for the Dutch.

Put on your seatbelt for the ride of your life.  It's long, mainly because I want it all in one post, but I'll keep text to a minimum.  Let the images tell you everything you need to know...and/or Google the rest.

It's a no-brainer at the entrance what this is going to be about.

And this is all before you enter the main door of the exhibits!
We noticed right away that THIS year "live" (non-sand) props were included everywhere.

All of the above was in the first walk-through room, with exhibits on both sides.
The second section, about the celebration after liberation, I'm leaving for the the end,
including the following walk outside.  You'll see why at the end.

Throughout the war, there was displacement as homes were destroyed.

Do any of us know what that felt like?

What about the Jews being transported to death camps?

And to think some today think it was all a hoax!

The attention to detail, let alone subject matter, still blows me away.

The biggest exhibit, straddling a "river," was about "A Bridge Too Far."
Remember that movie?

We took son Mark to see this bridge in Arnhem, 77 km away, back in 2018.

This is the video Astrid took of the exhibit, which gives a better feel for its size.

Warships and planes were a big part of the war, of course.

And the war reporters kept track of it all.

Don't forget the Enigma Code...and the various buildings significant in the war.
The Dutch remember these things!

In between all the exhibits were reenactments setting the stage.

Inside and very life-like.

Speaking of outside (remember?), this was another large exhibit of sculptures.

Anne Frank


Yalta Conference

In a couple of these you can see the liberation...

...which takes me back to the liberation section on the inside at the beginning.

Europeans remember this.  Americans like me have an inkling of what it must have been like.
Pure jubilation.


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As if that weren't enough, each year, totally apart from the theme, there's a section of sculptures
that forms a riddle to be solved.  This year it was the names of 36 cities/villages in the Netherlands.

You had to figure out the name of the city by clues in the sculpture.
Some of them even you could figure out, without clues.

It had just rained before we arrived that day.
The flowers seemed an apt memorial for what we had just seen.

All of this during a pandemic!
And now we can hardly wait to see what next year's theme will be.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Adventure Farm for Kids (of all ages)

After a month of "vacation" from posting here at In Soul, how about a fun get-together to celebrate Astrid's 66th birthday this past Sunday!

There were other plans for her actual day, Monday (another post altogether), so to figure out something special during these social-distancing times, Astrid decided to have a family get-together outside at a place that especially catered to granddaughter Hailey, who turns 2 next month.

Welcome to the Adventure Farm Molenwaard in Groot-Ammers, NL, 
half an hour's drive from home!
[photo credit:  Avonturenboerderij Molenwaard's Facebook page]

It so happens that Hailey has been here several times already because it's a favorite for her and her friends, accompanied by all the mamas.  It was time for US to see what the fuss was all about!

Before we got started, Oma Ginnie did some snooping around...

and discovered that the windmill was actually part of the "adventure" at the beginning of the route.
(If you squint, you can see "our family" in the bottom-left image.)

There were other treats from the farm, when I wasn't watching the fun...

but THIS is what I want you to see, all from Astrid's camera and collage-making:

There was a waiting period of 30 minutes before the farm adventure actually opened,
with a playground nearby to keep the kids occupied.
Papa is so proud of his little girl!

And, of course, so is Mama! is Opa!
We were three generations enjoying each other.

Look at those faces!
Hailey LOVES animals and has learned to be so gentle with them.

I stood from afar and smiled at them.  :)
(Mama Pig was pooped, having just recently delivered 11 piglets!)

Just as it started to rain, we found a shelter to enjoy Astrid's appeltaart.
Happy Birthday to Oma Astrid!
This collage is probably my favorite of the day.

This is a close second, with Father, Mother and Son.
I love that we ALL are a family, loving each other, no matter what.

And if this doesn't say it all, what does!
[photo credit:  Astrid]

What a great way to celebrate Astrid's birthday with our family here!