Monday, April 28, 2014

The First Ever King's Day in the Netherlands

Yes, you heard that right...and I was here to witness it "live" with Astrid this past Saturday in Gorinchem as well as on Dutch TV.

This is the collage I posted on my Facebook Saturday and this is what I said:
Holland's first ever King's Day is official Dutch holiday. Talk about a party! King Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king since 1890. Before him were 3 queens: his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Though the Dutch flag is red, white and blue, the Dutch royal family comes from the House of Nassau-Orange. So ORANGE is the color of the day! Guess what my favorite color is?!

I sure hope you like ORANGE!

 Someone on FB asked why the Dutch flag isn't orange?
Here's the thing:  the Dutch flag has been red, white, and blue since long before Dutch royalty.
Dutch royalty is from the House of Nassau-Orange since 1815.
So, on only certain royal birthdays is the orange banner flown next to the flag.
Willem-Alexander's birthday is April 27th, which was yesterday, Sunday.
But when the birthday falls on a Sunday, it's celebrated on the Saturday before it.

Now then....ENJOY!
The first ever King's Day as seen in Gorinchem, NL, where we live.

It's a party, a show, a feast...and a flea market on the streets.
If you want to sell something, pull up a table or blanket and just sell it.
You don't even need a permit.

For good luck, it might help to wear ORANGE.

 The crazier the better, and a nice smile, of course!

The lion is in the Dutch Coat of Arms, by the way.
He makes such a cute mascot.

To be honest, instead of getting tired of orange, it has become my best favorite color.
I see it everywhere I go.

 My Nikon Lady (Astrid) met an old friend, Marja, selling stuff with her grandkids.
The last time we saw her was at our wedding 4 years ago!
It's a small world after all.

 The highlight of the day for us was this folk group from Utrecht, wearing the costume 
from the Zeeland Westkapelle. They are called Pieremachochel, dancing to live music.

See how Astrid and I fit right in!  We love to dance, you know.

So does this little fella!

Later we saw them taking a break at our favorite ice cream shop.

We're not dumb; we took a break, too.
(Apricot was the closest color to orange, so that was my choice for the day.)

King's Day is here to long as Willem-Alexander is King.
Guess who's next in line?  Yup, his first of 3 daughters, Amalia...another queen.
Long live the King...or Queen!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Us vs. Them

I know, I know.  The Easter weekend came and went with nary a peep out of me.  BUT...I was definitely thinking about all of it.

In fact, this was my image on my photoblog on Black Good Friday:

For me, this is sooooo Roman Catholic.  For you, too?
I grew up in a Protestant church where our crosses were always empty.

And that got me thinking...which turned into my post today at Vision and Verb.
In fact, I had planned all along to use the above image for it
but changed yesterday, at the last minute, to this one:

 Which image would YOU have chosen for a post on us vs. them, I wonder!

Well, you can decide here, if you want to take a read.....
Warning:  it's about religion, sex and politics, none of which we're supposed to talk about, right?!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Museum in Giessenburg, NL

Two posts in one day, one right after the other, seemed to make sense this time around so as to keep two things separate...and yet somehow connected.

We were in nearby Giessenburg in March to have high tea with Margreeth and Natasha.  That was my first post here.  During the afternoon, we walked into town and, among other things, visited the museum, down the street from De Graanbuurt.  It deserved it's own post, I decided.

First of all, it's huge and a bit of intriguing look of the former old grain mill.
It belongs to the extended Boer family, some of whom live there and keep the place running.
It's a privately-run museum with all the contents on display collected by the family over 50+ years!
They call it Ons Museum:  Our Museum.
And yes, that's Gorinchem's Grote Kerk 6 km away, captured from the top floor!

I don't know where or how to begin.  HELP!

No sooner do you call for Help and the 80-year-young matriarch, Mrs. Boer Sr., appears.
She can tell you anything and everything you'd ever want to know.

Like, for instance, how these phonographs work!

How about vintage toys?  To your heart's delight!

Did I mention that we first climbed to the top floor of the building from the outside staircase 
because that's where the museum is.  So after we finished sailed through the museum part, 
we turned a corner and  found a set of steps to start our trip downstairs.

Don't ask; don't tell.
Enough doors to sink a ship...and yours to buy, if you brought your right measurements.

Do you like junk?  Someone's trash, your treasure?
It was hard to know where the museum left off and the "for sale" started.  HA!

See what I mean?

To tell you the truth, I had no clue what was museum and what was store at that point.

I do know that some of this was for sale, as we got closer to the ground entrance.

Welcome to Ons Museum...Our Museum.
I 'spect it's one of Giessenburg's best-kept secrets because I hadn't heard of it in my 4+ years here,
and it's only 6 km from home.

Guess where we'll now take all our photographer friends when they visit!  HA!

A Saturday in Giessenburg, NL

This post has been a long time coming, since Saturday, March 22, when we drove to nearby Giessenburg to visit friends, Natasha, and her mother Margreeth.

And, because we went to see their very unique museum in town, I'm making two posts of this afternoon visit, this first one being of everything but the museum.  The museum post will come right after this one, same day.

So, Giessenburg!  It's only 6 km west of us here in Gorinchem and with only 5K inhabitants.  It's of those best-kept secrets just waiting to be visited!  We went for high tea, but started out first with a walk to see the town.

 The river Giessen runs right through the town, with the Reformed Church a landmark.

It was such a gorgeous, sunny day, so I was snapping right and left.
These fields were visible from right off the main road.

No shortage of spring pomp and circumstance everywhere we looked!

And so many weathervanes in the space of just a few minutes' walk!
I was in heaven.

Margreeth and Natasha wanted us to see De Graanbuurt indoor village of shops.
Part of the fun is that their son/brother helped build it!
See the stairs to the 2nd-floor green shop?

That's where we had latte macchiatos in their sweet little café.

Have you ever seen a bathroon sink like this???

Talk about a photo op!  The ladies knew we'd love it.

  Over the nearby canal, both coming and going, we passed something new for me.
It's a duck nesting basket.  I had to go to Giessenburg to see my first one?!

Back at their home, after the trip into town and a visit to the museum (following this post),
we experienced my first high tea here in Dutchland at someone's home.
Yup, exactly what you see, with all kinds of goodies.  I'm such a sucker for scones!
And that's Natasha's ear, with 14 earrings.  Her other ear has 15.  :)

It was a fabulous afternoon and such a pleasant surprise, not only because of delightful Giessenburg,
but because I felt like we made two new friends.  Natasha is Astrid's co-worker,
and now we're getting to know her mother, a bit younger than both of us.  HA!

And because of them, we're going to buy the one-year museum card to start visiting real museums.
More on that at another time but it'll give us free entrance to many museums all over Dutchland.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As a parting shot, here's a collage of the tulips here at the senior complex where we live.
Flower beds of pansies outside and inside the courtyard house these beauties.
This IS Holland, after all...and they're all blooming now!

Friday, April 04, 2014


Sometimes as we are out-n-about, I end up with a mish-mash of things that in and of themselves don't really make a post but, together, they are, well...bits-n-pieces to put together as one.

As a matter of fact, these bits all happened the second Saturday after we went to the Ottoland sheepfold, which is why I want to show them now before they go into a Black Hole somewhere.  It was a full, fun day.

We drove directly from the sheepfold to the swan man's house about a kilometer away, in Goudriaan.  Goudriaan is also where Adrie, the woodturner, lives.  See how close everything is!

I call Arie the swan man because he's the guy who smokes swan meat...
as well as geese, wild pig, deer and mackerel.
 See that stash above?  That's ours...swan and mackerel only!

I know what you're thinking:  NO!!!  NOT THE SWANS!!!
But, like deer and other such animals, even swans can be too plentiful.
Too many swans and you destroy the polder for the farmers. Not good.
Once you get past the "Bambi Factor," you'll LOVE smoked swan.  Besides of which, it's so lean.
All that oak wood is for the smoker, where Astrid is standing (top right).

Arie also has a barn where his neighbor's cows bunk down.
One of the support poles is from a windmill sail!

We continued from Arie's to our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant,
catching the sights along the way.
Those herons are little rascals...always moving away when you get close.
The one above was at 1928mm on my miracle camera (for those who understand).

Have you ever seen a manure truck?  It's springtime in the polder for the farmers!

And what about a log trailer like this, pulled by a tractor.
Only out in the byways of the Dutch polder!

 At the pannenkoeken restaurant,  the sun was playing hide-n-seek.
How cool that they even have a kiddies' corner!

Between Arie's and the restaurant, there was lots of foot gear to enjoy.
The Dutch do like their clogs, especially on the farm.

Then, one last stop at Wijnhandel van Ouwerkerk in their new building next door to here.
It's gonna take some getting used to.  I loved the old look of the "museum" from 1860.
That place will now be used for storage/stock.  (sigh)

Like I said, just a bunch of bits-n-pieces, all on a Saturday afternoon!