Monday, August 15, 2011

Out-n-About Again

This week, Wednesday - Sunday, we have friends Bob and Peggy coming from Atlanta to stay as our very first houseguests. Astrid is working today but will take the rest of the week off so that we can give the big tour, packing as much in as possible to show where we live.

So, after our Apeldoorn trip 3 Saturdays ago, we've basically stayed put these last two weekends, except for backyard trips near our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant out in the polder, 15km see things through their eyes. It's been fun to plan each day.

Many of the canals right now have a carpet of kroos (= duckweed) growing on top.
Parents have to make sure small children/dogs don't accidently walk in!
But the ducks are in heaven because it's highly nutritious for them.
As Astrid says, they just open their mouths and vacuum it up!

If it's not kroos, it's wonderful sections of lily pads. This is that time of year!

Every once in awhile we see llamas...just like we do in America.
But look at the buck teeth on the right-hand fella! A face only Mama could love. HA.
I'm guessing they've learned not to walk into the kroos.

I love the polder. What is it about all that gorgeous space away from the city?!
Actually, some of the wealthiest homesteads are there....

...along with their weathervanes, of course.
This is the second windmill vane we've seen since I've been here.

Bob and Peggy will be intrigued by all the war bunkers around the area.
Some like this one are national heritage sites and cannot be torn down. They're Dutch reminders of both world wars and are called groepsschuilplaatsen (= group hiding/safe houses).
The steel hooks strengthen the concrete and held camouflage nets.

The Leerdam water tower from 1929 is down the street from the above war bunker.
I took its picture over a year ago but this time I was up close and personal.

All of that was two Saturdays ago...15km away from our back door.

This past week there was every bit as much to see within walking distance here within our city! You really do just have to get out and look, right?!

I wonder if this is the same fella from a couple posts back?
Can you imagine carrying your house on your back every time you go out-n-about?

I love the hollyhocks in bloom everywhere.
They grow wild here and are called stokrozen = stick roses.

I'm still trying to figure out my macro lens. Lots of experimentation!

It so happens this past week was the last week of summer vacation before the kids start school today here in the Netherlands (grandson Nicholas started 6th grade last week in Atlanta!). In many cities, the last week of summer vacation is day camp, as it was here in Gorinchem where we live. And that meant TIMMERDORP (= Hammer Village).

Ik hout van Holland on the above banner is a play on words.
Hout = wood. Houd = love. Both pronounced the same: "I love/wood Holland."
Besides all the water activities, the kids get to build houses out of wood supplied by lumberyards (like where Astrid worked last job). Every child brings their own hammer from home and helps build their fort,
often with a loft, supervised by adult leaders.
I didn't take pictures of the forts because I had the wrong lens (macro), but here's a video.

By Thursday, the kids were "over" their forts anyway, having too much fun with everything else.

All this took place at Buiten de Waterpoort (= outside the waterport) on the Merwede River.
It's where the war memorial stands...remembering those who never came back from the wars.

It's also where the water taxis come to ferry people from here to there.
Lots of nice benches to wait on till the right taxi comes!

Right there, over the shoulders of the family eating lunch, is the gate that enters the Lingehaven harbor into Gorinchem from the Merwede River (the same entrance for Sinterklaas on 5 December each year). Remember, this is a citadel city. Again, I watched through Bob and Peggy's eyes as a boat entered from the outside (top row of images below)....

...and then came through into the harbor (bottom row above).
There's a holding place big enough for 2-3 boats while one gate is closed and the other is opened.
And you can stand on top and watch the whole thing!

Talk about the life of Riley!
(click any image to enlarge, of course)

And then I came back home to almost as much excitement...a week of repairs to our sidewalks here inside our Lindeborg courtyard. See, sometimes you don't even need to leave home!

I told a British blogger the other day that all our brick/cobblestone walks/roads are "cemented" with sand.
It means they can always be pulled up very easily and repaired.
I love to see how things work here. Bob and Peggy will, too!

One last thing: did you notice that I tweaked my template a little bit? I decided to to give my Shutterfly photo book some shameless exposure on my sidebar. The only way I could get it to fit properly was to widen the sidebar.

So....there you have it. Enough out-n-about till another week!


  1. You cheered my day with all these beautiful pictures, I was very impressed by the number of slugs, I like a lot, my attention on the man who carefully system the sidewalk , congratulations!!
    From Italy a good mid-August

  2. Elettra: You're such a sweetheart to visit here again and comment. Thank you. There is always so much to see here...and so little time. :)

  3. The llamas are the standout to me here (though I LOVE the macro photos of natural subjects). It may not surprise you to know that I have some llama yarn in my collection.

  4. Karen: HA! It does not surprise me at all that you have llama yarn in your collection. I had a wonderful llama rug from Peru hanging on our wall in our early marriage (San Diego days) which got robbed one day, along with our bikes. Wow. The things we remember!

  5. If we would carry our house on our back then we don't have to go to a 'Bed and Breakfast' anymore, that takes away lots of the fun, don't you think?
    You did a great job on the macros, you are getting the hang of it.
    As for re-doing the street, I did every other year part of the drive way and the back yard, we live on clay ground and that 'moves' so we put in new sand every time.
    Timmerdorp is a great experience for children to 'hammer' around, at home they are not allowed most of the time.
    I was a leader a few times, making sure we build a solid 'house', I would get a nail in the right position, give it a few blows and than I would ask a small girl in my group to finish the job.
    She did at least 10 nails that day, her mom told me later that she had the time of her life.
    I can watch boats going in and out the lock, for hours.
    Sometimes I know what will happen when 'hubby' is behind the steering-wheel and commanding his wife, who rather reads a book than playing 'sailor'.
    Happy marriages sometimes end right in the lock...
    Great post again, love the weathervanes, you have quite a collection already!!.

  6. Astrid: I'm sitting here LOLing. No wonder I fell in love with you, and I mean that sincerely. :D

  7. I love the variety of sights/images you show here. There is everything for everyone to enjoy and shows every aspect of life in your neck of the woods.

    I'm a doors and windows gal so I'm curious about the ones you have back there :)

    Oh how fun to be showing off your "hometown" to friends. Enjoy.

  8. I'm with Photo Cache, always love the sites and images!!!!

    And when I think you are done, there's always more and more that I just love! Loving the snail macro, and the kids with their camps, and the beautiful village, and the way they do the walkways.. LOVE IT! :)

    6th grade eh! Time is flying.. Wasn't he just in 3rd!

    Enjoy your first visitors. It's always so much fun!

  9. I bet the lily pads were really beautiful to see in person and I love the holly hocks. Makes me remember wonderful times of years gone by.

  10. PC: I'll have to start paying more attention to the doors and windows here, Maria...just for you. :) And yes, we really look forward to showing off our neck of the woods!

    ET: Before you know it, you'll be saying "6th grade, eh" in relation to Cammie. Time flies so quickly! Thanks, Jen. We will definitely enjoy our visitors.

    Tim: The lily pads here are delightful...and these were a smaller variety. Very special. You would have a heyday here on some very nice walk-abouts. Thanks.

  11. Oh my... where do I start?! Another marvelous collection of collages and the macros are showing me that you do not need to "figure out" your macro lens... looks to me as if you have gotten the hang of it already... I love the snail images! (As I'm in the process of going through and getting rid of "things" in my house, I realize there is no way I could carry my house on my back... too much stuff!)

    I have a fondness for blue and white pottery... both Chinese and the Dutch Delft... so the lovely collection of pottery in the polder collage caught my eye right away!

    This post is marvelous for the wide range of images, from the canals with duckweed and lily pads to the colorful images from "Hammer Village" to the macros... the boats and the collage showing the sidewalk repair! Oh... and don't let me forget the history you shared with the images of the war bunkers... fascinating!

  12. Victoria: Somehow you manage to cover all the bases, dear Lady. Thank you. I always have you in mind when I do these posts. :) And thank you for your vote of confidence in my macro shots. I think of you as the Master!

  13. Oh maybe Bob and Peggy are there now!

    I would so love to walk along the canals and the polder. Won't you be proud showing off?

    I did not realize about war bunkers!

    Again, love the slug, and the beautiful macro shots.

    Oh, the little beagle. Do you remember Madeleine in Pasadena? :-)

    Cool gizmo for your book too!

  14. Ruth: Yes, they are here! The plane was delayed 2.5 hours because of mechanical problems (Mercury Retrograde!), but they made it in one piece. Right now they're taking a much-needed nap before we take a walk around the citadel. Gotta stretch those legs, ya know!

    And yes, I thought of Madeleine when I saw the beagle...and that's why I took the picture. See, I do think of you all the time. :)

    Thanks for your sweet comment, as always.

  15. Lots of marvellous activities and photo-ops around your corner of the world! I'm sure Bob and Peggy will be absolutely exhausted by the time their holiday comes to an end.

  16. Sham: HAHAHAHAHA! How did you know! We all are already exhausted and this is only our second day. We have packed so much in...and just finished watching "Mamma Mia" on DVD. What a great way to end the day! You would have loved being a fly on the wall. Thanks.

  17. Mamma Mia! One of my fave movies of all time! Wish I was there to sing along with all of you.

  18. Sham: Oh yes. We have to see that movie at least once a year! It was the first movie Astrid and I saw together in a theater (and in Amsterdam!). She had never seen the movie but knew every ABBA song by heart. :)

  19. Ha. A Dutch tongue twister... say Windmill Weathervane really fast three times in a row. :) Doesn't sound like you exactly stayed home and "read a book".... you were still on the go :)

    And construction work never looked so good.

  20. Margaret: Dutch tongue twisters would do me in, I'm afraid! HA. The fun thing is that if we are on the go, we usually do it only one day of the weekend and then make sure the other day, usually Sunday, is relaxing at home before Astrid goes to work the next day. Not to worry. Astrid is very good at not over-extending herself, and keeps me in tow. :)

  21. I think you're having too much fun with your macro lens! :) I think I'm a little bit jealous; but I love your macro photos. Keep at it!

  22. Tim: Thank you kindly. I love figuring out how to make that lens work! :)