Thursday, April 24, 2008

Haar-dy Ho!

After posting a German castle ruin yesterday, I thought I'd dip into the "archives" to show you a castle from here in The Netherlands.

You don't necessarily think of castles when you think of The Netherlands, but there are actually quite a few castles and ruins throughout the country.

This is Kasteel De Haar, located about 70km from Wassenaar in the province of Utrecht. It was rebuilt in the late 1800's on the 15th century foundations. The "new and improved" version was built with new-fangled modern conveniences like central heating and running water.

We hope you enjoy the contrast with yesterday's post. We're taking more time off, but we plan to participate in May's Theme Day, so please come back and visit on May 1. Many of our recent posts have been outside of Wassenaar, but our post will be a return to reveal a little-known but historic fact about this town.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On the Rhine/Rhein/Rijn: Where?Wednesday

If you like castles, beautiful small towns, terraced vineyards and overall nice scenery, then we can heartily recommend a cruise down the middle Rhine in Germany.

We took a round-trip cruise from Rudesheim to St. Goar, and literally saw so many sights I can't even tell you which castle ruin is pictured above.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Am...

The city of Amsterdam's marketing slogan is the centerpiece of the Museumplein, a large open space that borders the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Concertgebouw.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Politie Paarden Parade

Amsterdam's police force were all over the city a couple of weeks ago. At first we thought that there must have been a major drug bust, or perhaps the royal family were in town. But later we saw the tail end of a protest march weaving its way through town -- although we never did find out exactly what they were protesting against (or for).

Thanks to all who commented on our recent photos and our one year photoblogging anniversary. It'll take a couple of days for us to catch up on our fellow bloggers' sites. We just returned from a wonderful trip to Germany with our sister-in-law and her boyfriend ... we'll show a sample in a couple of days.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Another shot from the Keukenhof garden. These bands of color wind their way all through the park.

Without much fanfare, this celebrates our 1-year anniversary. I guess a photo of tulips and other bulbs is appropriate for a photo blog from The Netherlands!

We have really enjoyed sharing our experiences in and around Wassenaar and The Netherlands (and sometimes beyond). We've learned many interesting things while researching some of our posts. We've learned to look for things to photograph that we wouldn't have otherwise. And we've "met" a lot of interesting people who have visited and commented. So thanks to all those who've come to see a little bit of this part of the world.

Now, we're off again ... hope to see you back next week.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grape River

The Keukenhof is a world-famous garden in the province of North Holland devoted to the display of flowers, primarily spring bulbs. Now in its 59th year, the garden is open from late March through mid May.

While there are indoor exhibits (featuring flowers like the ones pictured here yesterday), the main attraction is the open air garden. Millions of tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs are spectacularly displayed.

This woodland garden scene features a river of muscari (grape hyacinths) surrounded by tulips and daffodils.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Red velvet

I just liked the texture of these flowers from the Keukenhof garden. Flower fans, check back over the next couple of days for some more pics from our recent visit.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hospital Leftovers

All that's left of this women's hospital in the North Holland town of Haarlem is the portal. Above the portal is this wonderful scene of one of the patient rooms.

Unfortunately I can't really translate the inscription, but I believe that it refers to the founding of the hospital. I also found this site which says that if you read the capital letters as roman numerals, they add up to 1435, the year of the original foundation.

Sorry for cutting off the last numeral in the year that this portal was built. It's a "4", which dates the portal back to 1624. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in a "women's hospital" back then!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cool air, Warm sun

When the sun comes out, it doesn't matter if there's a chill in the air ... there's nothing like sitting at an outside cafe, soaking up some rays and watching the world go by. Or if it's not the world, at least the town of Haarlem.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Horsing around in Wassenaar

I haven't posted a lot from Wassenaar lately, so here's a shot of an activity you can see here during the "off-season." Horses are only allowed on the beach for a portion of the year (I think Oct-May). In "season" the beach is reserved for sunbathers, swimmers, etc.

Looks to me like these horses and their riders are having a great time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Canals are not unique here in The Netherlands, but you might have guessed from the gondola that this shot is from Venice, Italy.

The gondolier is about to go under the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs). This bridge connects the Doge's Palace to the dungeons. The English poet Lord Byron coined the phrase ... he supposed that prisoners would stop and sigh at their last view of Venice as they were led to their imprisonment.

For viewers of our travel blog, our apologies for not posting recently. We have taken many recent trips and hope to get back to posting to it next week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Type Cast?

The town of Haarlem, located just 50km from Wassenaar (or 20km from Amsterdam) is one of our favorite stops. It has a rich history and is usually very lively, especially on Saturdays.

Looking over the town square (grote markt) in shadow of the Grote Kerk (St Bavo's church, dating from 1370) is a statue of Laurens Koster.

Legend has it that Koster actually invented the type impression that Gutenberg would later use in his printing press. (Note to Gutenberg fans: I am neither a Haarlemmer nor a historian, hence the reference to "legend"). That's a piece of type that he's holding up in his right hand.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Holy Water

You can find lots of interesting items at De Looier antique showroom in Amsterdam. Including a variety of holy-water-finger-dipping-thingies (sorry, I don't know the proper name for them). But I suspect that having the water blessed is not part of the purchase price.

Thanks to all who've left comments over recent days. We've been a bit busy to return comments but appreciate your visits and remarks.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Living in Water

These oysters are waiting to be shipped from an oyster farm in the province of Zeeland. They are stored in these ponds for a few days while fresh water is pumped in to remove sand and silt.

Dutch oysters account for about 15% of the European Union's total oyster harvest. For more fun facts about "zeeuwse oesters" check out this site.

We're taking a few days off, hope to see you back on Monday. Thanks to all who've commented so far on our "water" series. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Sea, New Land

Continuing on the "Water" theme: some of the people who commented on yesterday's blog mentioned The Netherlands' famous battle with water. I feel the need to point out two facts:
First, the story about the boy saving the country by sticking his finger in a dike is actually an American tale ("Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates" by Mary Mapes Dodge). More here.
Second, about 25% of The Netherlands is below sea level. The dutch have an amazing network of water works, not only to protect the country but to reclaim land. In the early 20th century, the large area of water that used to be called the Zuiderzee was blocked off from the North Sea/Wadden Sea. Once the sea level in this new area (now called the "Ijsselmeer") was controlled, new land areas were created. In fact, an entirely new province, Flevoland, was created. You can read more about it in the wiki entry.

What you see in the photo is the Houtribdijk, a 30-km dike that connects North Holland with Flevoland. In the center of the dike there is a rest stop with an observation tower, from which we snapped this shot. Below is a map (from wiki) of the entire Zuiderzee area.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Water? What Water? Monthly Theme Day

You might think we're trying to play an April Fool's joke -- this month's theme is "Water" and we're giving you "Sand."

Truth is, the sand dunes that separate Wassenaar from the North Sea couldn't be more important to the area's residents as far as water is concerned.

The dunes naturally filter water, which becomes the water supply for 1.2 million customers. The natural filtration means that the water undergoes minimal processing before it's distributed.

The local water authority (Duinwaterbedrijf Zuid Holland) is also responsible for the conservation of the dunes.

As often happens with theme days, the "water" theme will inspire posts for some time to come, so check back often.

There are currently 178 (!!!) blogs signed up to participate in April's "Water" Theme Day:
Adelaide, Australia by Gordon, Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by Digger, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Bandung, Indonesia by Guntur Purwanto, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Paja, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Fenix - Bostonscapes, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Brighton, UK by Harvey, Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Budapest, Hungary by Isadora, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chicago (IL), USA by b.c., Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Cypress (TX), USA by Riniroo, Dallas/Fort Worth (TX), USA by A Wandering Soul, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Evry, France by Olivier, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Guelph, Canada by Pat, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Old Hyde, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jakarta, Indonesia by Santy, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Juneau (AK), USA by Gwyn, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Lake Forest Park (WA), USA by Azure, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Mo, London, UK by Ham, Mainz, Germany by JB, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Marseille, France by Alex, Mazatlan, Mexico by Kate, Melbourne, Australia by John, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minsk, Belarus by Olga, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Montego Bay, Jamaica by Ann, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Nancy, France by yoshi, Naples (FL), USA by Isabella, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, Niamey, Niger by Dinabee, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norman (OK), USA by Chad & LaCresha, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Odense, Denmark by ania odense, Omsk, Russia by Nataly, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Eric, Paris, France by Gordio, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Pont-à-Mousson, France by Tintin-j, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Portland (ME), USA by Corey, Portland (OR), USA by NWgal, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Riga, Latvia by Prokur, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seguin (TX), USA by Thien, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Sequim (WA), USA by Eponabri, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Shanghai, China by Jing, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Nathalie, Sydney, Australia by Sally, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Toruń, Poland by Torun Observer, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by Rachel, Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn,