Thursday, May 14, 2015

Open Harbor Day, 2015, in Gorinchem, NL

Okay, Folks.  Fasten your seat belts because it was a full 3+ hours of being out-n-about this past Saturday, just blocks away from where we live here in Gorinchem, NL. 

Let's start with the Dragon Boat Races because that was the part nearest our apartment,
only 3 blocks away.
These races have been in Gorinchem for ten years and are now considered "official."

How can you not love the dragons!
This is serious stuff.

But when I saw this team of ladies, ooo-la-la.
Imagine sprites (elves, fairies and pixies) and dragons in another world.
(click on collage to enlarge)

The races were held throughout the day until the final in late afternoon.
The team that lost last year, the Alphas, won this year! BRAVO.

You know me.  I couldn't resist catching the first race of the day.
Not all the races we saw were this neck-n-neck, trust me.

But they were all watched over by the water scouts, making sure everything was tip-top.

What I love about Open Harbor Day is the variety of sights and experiences.
This lady from the Raalte region was explaining how to clean her bonnet whenever it gets dirty.

We think this was her husband weaving baskets next to her.
(I loved his seat-stand contraption.)

We passed him several times and were lucky to see him finishing up the handles.

Don't you love how he chops his hand down on the reeds at intervals to make them tight.

It was in this area of the Linge harbor that we spotted my new friend, Marielle (remember?).
Gotta love us photographers in action, right?  HA!

This is also where the salmon boats congregate every year for their demonstrations... mending their fishing nets,

and cooking up the red poon fish for us to eat (one of our biggest treats each year).

 (photo courtesy of Marielle de Valk)

This year we even heard the fishermen's choir.

Peering into their boats was like peeking into their homes away from home.

And they are very much "at home" in their wooden shoes!

 Speaking of the fishermen's choir, there were 20 choirs/bands around town that day.

Like this one, for instance, just two blocks from where we live.

It was a day for being "short of eyes," as I often say.

A little bit of this-n-that wherever we went.
And I was on my feet the entire time and had no knee problems!

 But my absolute joy of the day was finding this 51 x 63 in. tapestry for €5 at one of the stalls.
The images don't do it justice but the moss green color is closest to the bottom-right.

"This is a garbled version of Horace's Ars Poetica, a treatise on poetry. The passage should read:
Si uis me flere, dolendum est primum ipsi tibi; tum tua me infortunia laedent, Telephe uel Peleu; male si mandata loqueris, aut dormitabo aut ridebo.

It means:

If you wish me to cry, you must first feel grief yourself, then your misfortunes, O Telephus or Peleus, will injure me. If you speak ineptly assigned words, I shall either sleep or laugh."

This now hangs on our bedroom wall as a reminder of everything I love about where we live!


  1. What a great set of pictures, the event looks really interesting. It must have been marvellous to see all those skills being demonstrated.

    1. Thank you, Anne. We never miss Open Harbor Day because we don't want to miss anything. And we also add a DVD or two to our collection (this time 4). I had told Astrid the other day that I want to be very selective about what DVDs we buy going forward, since we already have over 500. I said a movie like "The King's Speech," for instance, would be okay...and sure enough, we found one, for €1. :)

  2. It is one of the year's highlights from my point of view. I love those Salmon Fisher boats and the whole 'tribe' that comes with the fleet, just across the river from us.
    The Dragon races are a treat, so much fun and action. The flea market 'gave' us some treasures. The music is the cherry on the cake. Gorinchem, we love to live in this wonderful city. Thank you for this wonderful post, with lots of memories.

    1. Just when I think it couldn't possibly get better, it does. And 4 new good DVDs, all for €1 each...The King's Speech, Saving Private Ryan, Unknown, and Cast Away. What a gold mine.We are so lucky.

  3. What a wonderful posting! So much to absorb and take in! Always love learning more about your city! That tapestry is just the BEST!

    1. Thank you, Anne. I think it's time that you and Quinn start planning a trip here!!!

  4. Rich rich rich! I love picturing you out and about in your city. SO wonderful. And yes, the tapestry is to die for.

    1. I know, Ruth. I know. Life doesn't get much better than this!

  5. What great luck finding the tapestry! It's precious. What is the harbor day celebration for? Is it nationwide or only in your area?

    1. I so agree about the tapestry, Maria. At €5 I thought I had stolen it! The harbor day is just a city thing that happens every May. We never miss it, even though the same things happen year after year. It feels new every time.

  6. I have to know Ginnie...why is everything in the Netherlands so colorful and beautiful? Can it be? It's a stunning place with all the best of color, and glorious people, and nature. You must be sooo happy there and I can see why. The tapestry is very interesting. I was thinking the same thing as a comment you made: after King's Day, how could it get any better? What joy!

    1. Any country that has ORANGE as it's national color (from the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau), Susie, is surely a colorful country by default. It also happens to be my favorite color! :) In many ways I feel like I was made for this country...if not all of Europe. I often say I am much more European than American, which has been true since my high-school days (having never been to Europe yet). Where do things like that originate???

      But yes, just when things couldn't get better, they do. I don't know how that happens either!

  7. Once again you have taken me to a most wonderful event and place as if I was on husband would love those boat races....he was a rower in high school and college.

    1. What's so wonderful, Donna, is that I never experienced most of this in my life stateside, You could safely say I have become most enamored by the European may of doing things. :)