Saturday, February 27, 2016

Castle Het Nijenhuis in Heino, NL

If I told you this is a post whose images have languished in my archives since 29 June 2014, would you believe me?  Let's just say I never found my Round Tuit!  HA!

But, yes, we started using our annual Museum Cards on any and every museum we could find, just because.  And this one was a doozy.

This is Castle Het Nijenhuis, located between Wijhe and Heino, 138 km NE of us.

It's one of those castles with a moat, around and in which you can walk.
Throughout the course of the day, we did just that.

First, we turned left at the entrance and entered the gardens.
What a great time of the year to visit!

You know by now that the Dutch love their statues and art sculptures.
Sometimes the wackier the better?

Of course, I was most interested in Mother Nature's "sculptures."

Turning right from the gardens (we're moving clockwise around the castle),
we found two fun interactive displays.  This one gives you pause, as you see.

And to the right of it, we had fun playing together with this monstrosity.
Who thinks these things up?

When we passed this bower, I wondered where the bridge led,
but it wasn't where our path around the castle took us.  Hmmm.

Instead, we followed behind the castle through the woods...with art still everywhere.
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...."  HA!  I couldn't resist.

By now we were ready to cross the moat to the eastern side of the castle where,
yes, more sculptures/artwork were to be seen.

At this point, we're really talking crazy and wacky...and H U G E.
(Look at the size of those women top-center!)

The piece I loved the most was this "conglomeration" in miniature.
Look at all the detail.  I'm sure there's a link about it somewhere (Astrid???).

Other artwork around the castle was a bit more austere.

But as we rounded the corner back to the entrance, it was wacky again.
Still, gotta love the color!

By then, we were ready to walk inside, ready for...whatever.
The "whatever" was an exhibition of "subsidized art" midst the castle furnishings.

Can you imagine someone doing this in your home?

Of course, your own valued pieces are still on display.

But...then there's that wacky piece again, almost like a desecration?
Or maybe more like a laugh?!  If you can't take a joke?

Back outside, at the moat, Mother Nature calmed me down.... did a bit of respite from the castles café.

As some of you know, Astrid and I aren't real museum people, but with our annual cards,
we are getting our education in places we might not otherwise see.
When you get to throw in a castle, why not!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A meet-Up with Ayush in Venlo, NL

This post has been languishing in the wings since 7 November of last year and comes out now in anticipation of another meet-up with Ayush 3 weeks from now.

And who is Ayush, you ask!

Ayush Basu is a fellow Shutterchancer from India, living in Singapore.  He posts at AYUSH.
Do you remember that Astrid and I first met as photo-bloggers at Shutterchance?
Astrid posts at Picturit.  I post at Hart & Soul.

When we found out that Ayush works in Singapore for OCÉ, a Dutch Canon printing company,
and that he often comes to the Netherlands to lend his expertise,
we made the arrangements to hook up with him where he stays, in Venlo, 135 km SE of us.

We met Ayush at the train station, where we also parked our car.
As you see, we arrived at 11 a.m. and left shortly after 3:30 p.m.

And because 11 a.m. is definitely koffie-break time, we stopped at the city hall
in city center to chat and get to know each other better.

In fact, that's when he graciously gave this wee interview,
just because I wanted our Shutterchance friends to hear everything straight from the horse's mouth.
He has also met Ray from Thailand, whom also we met last year in England.
Let's just say we all get around!

Once we got all that settled, we started walking around city center.
This is when I realize how many statues are everywhere, all over this country!
But have you ever seen one that is loaded with already-chewed gum???

At one point we walked to the harbor on the Maas river.
Venlo is near the German border in the province of Limburg.

Astrid calls this "subsidized art."   You see it everywhere here in the Netherlands.

But as you already know, there is art in one form or another everywhere you look.

See what I mean?!

Walking back into city center from the harbor, I asked if we could see the church I had seen.
Of course, there was more "art" to see along the way.

And yes, the church was open.
St. Martin's Church was first built in 760, rebuilt in 1410 and then in 1610, the current church.

Backwards and forwards in the prerequisite shots!

Then...lots of impressions.
Can you tell that this is a Roman Catholic church?

The artwork in these churches always blows my mind.
I did not grow up with it in Dad's Baptist church!

But THIS is what actually speaks to me...a soulful alcove/niche that seems set aside.

On that note, we found a delightful Thai café and enjoyed good food and drink.
"Please enjoy Chang beer responsibly."  And we did.

Even in early November the street lights were on for the holiday season approaching.
It was a good way to end the day, walking back to our car...
and saying Good-Bye to a new friend.

Ayush is a genuine, conscientious, kind and attentive gentleman!

We made him promise to tell us when he'd be back in the Netherlands
so that we could return the hospitality favor here in Gorinchem where we live.
And THAT is now.  He's here for a month and plans to visit us on March 12-13,
God willing and the creek don't rise.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tecklenburg, Germany, with Philine and Mechtild

So, finally, we come to the end of all the posts from the end-of-November and early-December trips to Koblenz, Germany (3 days), and  then to Vasse, NL (four days)!  I knew I'd eventually get here but didn't know when.  HA!

It was during our Vasse trip that we took a day to drive the 85 km to Tecklenburg in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany, on the western side of the country.  

You may recall that we have had several delightful visits with Münster friends, Philine and Mechtild, over the last years.  Once we realized how close we were to their neck of the woods, while in Vasse, it was a no-brainer to figure out a visit.  Philine has always wanted us to see the quaint town of Tecklenburg.  So the trip was scheduled.

You know how the journey for us is always an important part of our destination.

We already knew that Tecklenburg was a town of half-timbered buildings...and hills.
From our parking spot, we immediately saw the church tower, hallmarking the town's center.

As we entered the center, it was a sight for sore eyes.

And because we had an hour to "waste," before meeting up with Philine and Mechtild,
we headed straight to the tourist center to get our bearings.
We were there on a Tuesday, between two weekends of the Christmas Market.

We didn't have to walk far to get a feel for the town and it's hilly levels.

Remember that this was the second week of December, so Christmas was everywhere.
Have you ever seen so much mistletoe in one spot?
Or how about a witches' path?

Impressions everywhere.

Then Philine and Mechtild showed up and, because it was time for lunch,
we immediately went to the Three Kings hotel where Philine had already reserved a table.

It doesn't get better than that:  good God, good friends, good food.

Even lots of photo-op goodies inside the hotel.

Back outside, we continued "looking and seeing"....

...being good tourists that we all are!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Astrid and I still had another hour or so to kill before heading back to Vasse for dinner,
so the 4 of us took the short drive to the nearby Haus Marck, 2.5 km away.

It's a 12th century castle/mansion that is still a family home.
A young fella inside the courtyard graciously allowed us to peek.

Then we walked alongside the moat towards the back of the property...

and enjoyed the view as the sun was setting.

What a way to end our day with friends who have become dear to us!
Thank you, Philine and Mechtild.  We should do this more often 
(as daughter Amy loved to say).

And what a way to end these two trips, one week after the other, from last year, 2015!
Now it's this year, 2016, already February...and miles to go before we sleep.