Monday, July 28, 2014

HILVERSUM, Netherlands: Astrid's Birthplace

After we spent those couple of hours in Lage Vuursche (last post) back on May 31, we drove the 10 km north into Hilversum, the city where Astrid was born and raised.  (And yes, it's the same city where the victims of MH17 are being identified...but we didn't know any of that back then.)

Hilversum is a city of ca. 87K inhabitants...with it's city center, the water tower from 1893 (top-right),
the new city hall, where Astrid's parents married on July 20,1949 (top-left), etc., etc.
Oh, and Meddens (right-center) was where Astrid had her first full-time window-dressing job.

But that's not what we went to see.
We went to see the places important to Astrid's growing-up years.

First up was the Mennonite Church where her family of 4 were all members.
Neighbors outside told Astrid the place is now a meditation/yoga center.

Primary school was from age 6-11, within walking distance from home.

Secondary school was from age 12-16, a bike ride away.
The stories I have heard about what happened at those side windows!!!

But it was Astrid's house...where she was born and raised...that made my day.
We parked the car across the street and walked through the side driveway to the back of the house...
where we met the Bosnian lady who now lives there with her family.

We stood and chatted out back, behind the house, with Astrid catching up on the neighborhood
since her mom's move to a senior center around 1999.

 Much to our surprise, the lady invited us in to see the house!
We walked in from the back, through the kitchen...saw the basement, 
the toilet room (without wash basin or shower)...

...the living room, dining room, foyer, sliding door, wood floors,
much of which was exactly as Astrid's dad had planned and built in her youth.
What was NOT there when she grew up was the central heating with wall radiators!

Upstairs was exactly how Astrid remembered it.
Her bedroom was on the left, brother Sander's on the right, facing the back yard,
with their parent's room at the the front of the house.
The upstairs bathroom has a sink and shower...but no toilet, which is very typical old Dutch.

I'm still pinching myself about seeing this with Astrid, from 60 years ago!
The memories, the stories.  Her whole family life was here in this place...and I got to see it.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

It so happens that Hilversum has a museum and since we're trying to put our annual museum card to good use, we stopped in to see it.

It's in the old city hall where Astrid's parents actually got married July 20, 1949.
An "Oh My God" exhibition was going on at the time...

...asking the question, What do YOU believe?"

Of course, there were the other "normal" museum pieces, 
including information on Willem Dudok, the architect of many city buildings, like the new city hall.

 A lower floor had some bits-n-bobs to be seen....

But it was the renovated interior of the museum that enthralled me with it's columns down to the lower floor. Whether looking down or up, I felt I was in a holy, meditative space. It's what I will always remember most about this particular museum.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Next up, nearby Laren and its museum, all in the same day!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lage Vuursche, Netherlands

Believe it or not, we have not been sitting around doing nothing since returning from England mid-May, over two months ago.  HA!

In fact, we've made 3 trips, including museums, that I now need to catch up on.  First things first, we'll start with the Lage Vuursche-Hilversum-Laren trip we made the last day of May.  But because it's too long for one post, I'll split it up into bits-n-pieces.

Lage Vuursche is only 10 km south of Hilversum, where Astrid was born and grew up (yes, the same Hilversum where the MH17 victims from July 17 are now being identified).  Hilversum is only 55 km from where we live here in Gorinchem.

Often Astrid would tell me about the summer home her mom had in the woods near Hilversum.
She bought it a couple years before Astrid's son Jeroen was born in 1988.
She'd tell me stories about how he loved spending weekends there with his grandma.

So off we went, before anything else, to find the 9' x 18' cabin in the woods.
It actually was torn down somewhere along the way, after Mom died, by the campground.
Astrid was able to get the entire story from the very gentle lady with the bike, one of the recent neighbors.
And I got to feel the surroundings of something I had tried to picture many times.

From the campground, we walked into town of circa 200 residents!
We headed straight to the pannenkoekenhuis, De Vuursche Boer, for our koffie break on the main drag.

When you live in a village that small, it's easy to have a monopoly on where to eat.
 How charming!

In fact, just walking up and down the main drag you see charm oozing everywhere.
Did you see the Alexander 2013 (center image above)?

It so happens this sleepy little tourist village is now the home of King Alexander's mother.
Queen Beatrix abdicated her throne last year and is now Princess Beatrix.
She now lives in the small castle Drakensteyn on the edge of town (surrounded by woods).

 While you can't see the castle because of the woods and the locked gate,
you can see and visit the Reformed Church right next door.

The church wasn't open when we were there but the cemetery was.

We wanted to see where Princess Beatrix's son, Prins Friso, was buried.
So humble for now; what will it look like later?

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 Next up will be Hilversum, where Astrid was born.
I even got to see the inside of her house!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vision and Verb: When One Door Closes....

...yup, another opens!

I hope you recognize this!  If not, I'm in trouble.  HA!

It's a much longer story than this but...this week we are closing the door on our Vision and Verb collaborative of women of a "certain age" around the world, blogging about everything under the sun.

It so happens I'm one of a handful who came in on the ground floor and has been committed for these almost 5 years.  January would be our 5th anniversary.  That's a long time for a group blog, don't you think?!

Because the blog was a paid site, it means that after we close the door, the site will no longer be available.  So we 21 women are busy copying-n-pasting our posts (for me, 98) for posterity.

I wanted to link to my saved posts on my sidebar, but couldn't figure out how to do it via Blogspot.
So I wrote the Help Desk and asked them how.

The answer was:  it's best if you create a new blog of your posts and link to IT.
Which is exactly what I did.  Man alive!  It took almost a week.

So, Ginnie Hart's Vision and Verb is now the depository of my 98 V&V posts, 
from January 2010 to June 2014.

And if you ever want to access any of them (they're really for me, to be honest),
all you need to do is click on My Vision and Verb button on the left sidebar:

Yup, that one.

Moving right along...!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

St. Mary Redcliffe Parish Church, Bristol, England

As promised, here we are at the end of our England 2014 trip, after 10 full and glorious days in May.  Besides a meet-up of 21 photobloggers, we spent overnights with 3 separate couples, all of which I've told you about already.

Today, I close this Great Adventure with the St. Mary Redcliffe parish church in Bristol, England.  For how much we both love churches, both large and small, it seems appropriate to finish here.

For one thing, you can't miss it with it's 292-ft spire!
It's apparently the 3rd tallest of all England's parish churches.

Built from the 12th-15th centuries, it's been a place of worship for 800 years.
Queen Elizabeth I said it was "the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England."
Thankfully, it narrowly escaped destruction from bombs in WWII.

 When you can spend a lot of time in the entrance alone, that tells you something.

In fact, it tells you a lot!

As you know, I always head straightaway to the nave.

Then I look up to the windows and the ceiling.

And then down to the floors.  I'm never disappointed.
Always look up; always look down...and see what you catch in between.

I told you I've started collecting church cushions.  This is why.

The altar, the choir, the brass lecterns...all of it.
But this time I totally missed the pulpit and the organ.  How did that happen?!

Maybe it was because I got caught up in the Chaotic Pendulum!

I watch this and stare every time.  Who thinks these things up?
(too bad the sun was so bright)

"Through Journey into Science, we offer a forum for the whole community to come together to discuss, wonder at, question and think about the issues advances in science and technology are raising for our world."

Amen.  Selah.  So be it.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

We can hardly wait to go back to England again, hopefully two years from now, if not sooner.
(Next year we already have two sets of people coming to see us here in Dutchland.)

Thanks to all who made this another trip of a lifetime.  You know who you are!
And thanks to all of you who have come along for the ride.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bristol, England

With this post, Folks, we're at the end of our England trip this past May, except that I'm dividing it into two separate posts.  YAY.  I bet you thought I'd never finish.

This all happened on a Saturday, the day before we flew back to the Netherlands.  And instead of driving, Chris and Lisl decided it best for us to go by train.

So, we left from Bath Spa and arrived in Bristol about 15 minutes later.  A no-brainer.
Straightaway from the train station we went to the St. Mary Redcliffe parish church (next post).

And then we walked to the harbor on the River Avon.

We could even see Cabot Tower from there (bottom-center).

 Don't forget the English narrowboats, of course.  I'm in love with them.

But the huge plus of the day was seeing the MATTHEW ship,
a replica of the sailing ship used by John Cabot in 1497 to sail from Bristol to North America.
In fact, today Lisl and Michael are actually sailing on her for a little tour.  How cool is that!

 There was so much to see down at the harbor.  Yup, we were short of eyes!

 After all that, we were so ready for a bacon buttie, something the English can never live down...
not as long as Astrid and I are in the picture.

 With tummies full, we started off again, on a mission...

...past all those colored houses, through the woods, to the bridge in the distance (top-center).

It's the Clifton Suspension Bridge from 1864, spanning the Avon gorge and River Avon.

Can you believe my little camera picked out this guy from 1100mm away!
He's crazy!  I don't think he had a clue what to do next.

Then it was tea time.  You know those English.  Ha!
I loved the wee family sitting right outside my window.

On our way past where the medieval church of St. Andrew was bombed during WWII,
but where the church graveyard still exists, is what's called the Birdcage Walk.

Then into the hub of the city past the Wills Memorial Building,
a landmark building of the University of Bristol, from 1915.

In that vicinity we saw a true Banksy painting and found out he was born in Bristol.
The Well-Hung Lover (top-center and right-bottom) is on Frogmore Street.

Impressions.  Impressions.  Impressions.

This is what we love about these walks.  Impressions.

How things are made!

The weathervanes were some of the most intricate and 3D-ish I've ever seen.

And the flowers all along the way....this year I couldn't get enough of them.

One last post remains of the England trip:  the St.Mary Redcliffe parish church.