Thursday, July 26, 2018

The KLM Houses in Gorinchem, NL

I wish you knew how many times Astrid and I both pinch ourselves about where we live, here in Gorinchem, NL.  How many times we've acknowledged that THIS is where we were destined to live in this whole wide world.

One of the gazillion reasons, as an example, is what you will see today with this public, outside exhibition of the KLM houses that were first shown in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.  They're now here where we live, from July 13 - August 10.

But I need to go back a bit into my past life when Donica, on her many-many flights on KLM, back-n-forth to The Netherlands, received miniature KLM houses for free in the World Business Class.  She collected them!

So, yes, I was very familiar with them and was delighted to see the much larger "miniatures" on exhibition here.  In fact KLM's 96th Delftware miniature was unveiled here at our Gorinchem exhibition:  the Hamel House.  That in itself is a long story that connects the Dutch with Korea.  That Hamel house is here in Gorinchem!

Anyway, after all that, here's what I want you to see:

There are supposedly 15 houses on display but 13 of them are here at our Lingehaven (Linge harbor).
[Addendum:  we have now found the 14th here as well.]
Coming in from town (a short walk from our apartment), we see the first 5.

Two more houses stand in front of the terrace of the Le Bon 'Apart restaurant across the street,
followed by another stretch of 4 houses, bringing us to 11.
(If you click on the restaurant link and just wait, it'll give you a video view of the harbor.)

Then you come to the inner lock of the Linge canal, on which I'm standing, looking into town.
On either side of the lock is another house, bringing the inner harbor total to 13.

Got it?  So here goes, in the order as given above:

Pulitzer Hotel, Amsterdam, opened in 1970

Dutch National Opera and Ballet, opened in 1986

Rode Hood, Amsterdam, a hat-making shop

Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, from 1915

Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam, on the UNESCO "Gentlemën's Canal

Meddens, an exclusive department store of men's and ladies' clothing, Amsterdam
(Astrid was a window dresser there from 1977-83.)

Hamelhuis, Gorinchem
(This is our city's claim to fame!)

Hotel Sofitel Legend the Grand, Amsterdam, opened in 1992

Coster Diamonds, Amsterdam, oldest diamond polishing factory

Japanmuseum Siebold House, Leiden

Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam, opened in 1885

Hotel Arena, Amsterdam

Hotel Estheréa, Amsterdam

Heineken Experience, Amsterdam, built in 1867

I'm quite sure there's a specific name to each house, which I may want to research further.
But for now, you get the idea.  These are the "life-sized" miniature KLM houses 
of historic buildings from all over The Netherlands.
[ADDENDUM:  I have now added all the names as well as the 14th house.]

To give scale to the size, I had Astrid go back with me one day.
Here you see different views of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet Theater house.

Here's the Hotel Estheréa.  How fun is that!

This way you can also see the inner harbor up close.
See the lock in the center above the foreground boat?  Yup.
It opens up to the Merwede river outside our city walls.

And you know me.  I have to put them all together for Facebook.

But now that I know there are two more, I will go look for them
and add them later.  I had no clue.
[ADDENDUM:  I hadn't yet found the 14th house when I made the above collage.
This past Sunday Astrid and I went back to look and found the Heineken house,
which I've now added to the above list.]

[ADDENDUM 2:  I heard back from a contact that says #15 is the INK Hotel in Amsterdam which was damaged in the Oosterpark and is now in the atelier.  It will be exhibited in the hotel soon.  
#16, the Koepelkerk, had the same problem and is ready to be transported to Hotel Renaissance
in Amsterdam where it will be exhibited.
Which is to say we weren't crazy after all...about not finding them here!] 

It's directly across the river from the Meddens and Hamel houses at the Le Bon 'Apart terrace.
How we missed it earlier I'll never know!

And when we realized what house was, in fact, the Hamelhuis, I decided to round out this post
with some info specific to Hamel, since he's from Gorinchem:

First of all, this statue of him stands further down the Linge, not far from our apartment.
Hendrick Hamel (1630-1692) was born in Gorinchem but spent 13 years in South Korea.
It's a story worth reading from the link if you have the time.

Also, we have the Hendrick Hamel Museum...his house, just a couple of blocks from our apartment.
Astrid was there years ago, and maybe now I'll go on Open Monument Day in September.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Remember the Memory Bricks (another reason why we love this city)?

We found the #00 Roll of Film outside the citadel wall,
thanks to a clue from someone on the Memory Brick Facebook page.
I have now added it to that post....
but #26 is still a mystery to everyone.  No one has found it yet!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mud and Water Challenge 2018, Maurik, NL

You all know by now that I have a crazy, Wonder Woman wife, right?!  I can't begin to tell you how much she amazes me to no end.  Just sit back and watch!

Once she heard there would be a Mud and Water Challenge in nearby Maurik (42 km away), she started getting excited, wondering if she should or shouldn't do it.  I, of course, piped up when I saw her excitement and said it sounded like she'd kick herself forever if she DIDN'T do it.


And that's when she started full-fledged training to get in shape, just a month before the 4+ km race with 42 obstacles.  The race part was a no-brainer, since she runs 5 km twice a week in 30 minutes.  But it was everything else that needed build-up...especially of her upper arms and body.

You couldn't have asked for a better day, warm and sunny!

This was the last race ("wave") of the day, starting at 5 p.m., for 90 participants,
parents with their 8-13-yr-old kids.
Legends (age 60+) were also invited but Astrid discovered at registration that she was the only one!

(EVM stands for Island of Maurik which is a recreation area on the Nederijn river.)

You can see how crazy this race was and why I couldn't document everything by NOT participating.
The 42 challenges ended at the podium that had to be climbed for the completion medal.

All good races start with a warm-up, of course...

And then they were off-n-running.

The good thing was there were options for conquering the obstacles.
If Astrid couldn't climb a hurdle, she could use the ladders available, which she did.

One of the first obstacles was hurdling the water tires.
Don't you love how Astrid refused to give up!

No sooner was one obstacle completed before she was faced with the next.

Lucky for me, I was still close enough to catch what she was doing.

Someone on Facebook called her GI Jane.  Another said Ninja Warrior.
I like that.  :)

After 5 or 6 attempts on this challenge, Astrid knew she could never make it...and so moved on.
There was nothing to grab onto while making a running start up the inflatible slide.

Way off in the distance I could capture this muddy slide but not while Astrid completed it.
She said she had to slide down on her butt.  HA!

By now you totally get why this is a "mud and water" challenge!
I waited half an hour here for Astrid to appear, enjoying the parents with kids who came first.

What a trooper!

Who says you can't enjoy playing in the mud!

Still smiling after that!

Astrid says this was the hardest of all 42 obstacles.
After crossing the horizontal rope ladder, you had to climb down the tires at the end.

Just when she decided she couldn't do it, a volunteer encouraged her,
telling her the easiest way to accomplish it was on hands and knees.  He was right.

At one of the obstacles she could NOT complete (not enough upper-body strength),
she stopped to chat and I joined her to give her a drink of water.
The volunteers said, "You're the Legend, aren't you!"

Off-n-running again.  No rest for the weary.

Here's another obstacle to which she said NO.  There were 7 of them she didn't even try.
She had made that commitment, which I applauded.
Know thyself.  NO means NO.

I loved the seesaw at the end of this one.

Up, down, up down, throughout this scaffolding maze... the final real mud and water challenge.

I can imagine how refreshing the water must have felt by then.

At that point I left for the Finish line to meet Astrid there,
capturing impressions along the way.

Look at that smile, 1.5 hours after she started the race.
For her it wasn't a competition against time or the others.
It was simply the "competition" to FINISH the race.

The last, 42nd obstacle of the race was to climb the podium and receive her medal.

The official portrait by the designated photographer
(with mud still on her face)!

Well done, Astrid.
You're the Wonder Woman Legend, the GI Jane and Ninja Warrior of them all.

P.S.  In Dutch the word for obstacle is almost the same as in English, except that the Dutch 
put the emphasis on the second syllable: ob-STA-kel.  Don't you love it!  :)