Monday, December 11, 2017

Openlucht Museum

On the tram. We rode all the way around the village first, to get it out of our system, and then started through the village backwards.

Enormous pigs. Kevin is always trying to make sure the children get the educational benefits available in each place we visit, so we went over what pigs are good for, namely, bacon. 


The bakery fairly pulled us in, with a fire blazing a welcome in the big open oven. We had a fresh apple turnover and bokkepotjes; not as good as Papa’s  potjes of course. It was hard to leave that building! 

A few more pictures from Het Loo

On the way.

Colouring in the stables.

Would you trust this little man with your palace furniture? 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Looking Ahead

On our way home from the Palace, we stopped to pray in Utrecht. There, we were surprised and happy to find someone who knew the minister from our church at home. If I was Cornelia from the Anne books, I would say he is of the race that knows Joseph. 
The children are smiling so well because they are proud to have found purple in the church, and they know its meaning - the colour of royalty; to remind us of the coming of our King.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Outside Het Loo

We walked almost to the end of the formal gardens. KE lowered himself into a fountain (dry for the winter, happily), and walked along it to the end.
When Napoleon made his brother king of this place, many years ago, he ripped out the formal gardens, preferring a more natural woodland look.  Today the formal look has been restored, and it is certainly impressive. I’m conflicted in my thoughts about this. I don’t want to identify with the french revolutionaries, but I do like my gardens with a little more mystery and privacy; with curving pathways that lead to unexpected meadows, and wild tangles of roses bordered by orderly shrubbery.
A sign near the 84-horse stables said that, in order to maintain their status, royalty must always observe protocol. I think that this has never been more true than today, as many people now have the opportunity to be as wealthy and powerful as kings and queens, and class and caste have been discarded in favour of democracy. Maybe the only difference between Mr Jones and His Royal Highness would be the liveried guards, the crown, and the protocols.

 We didn’t get to see the boathouse, but I read that there were two pools in the stream; an upper and a lower. The royalty swam in the upper pool. 

Palais Het Loo

We found Juliana’s room, so we took a picture for Aunt Juli. The girls’ enthusiasm waned when they found out we wouldn’t be seeing any real live princesses. Holland does have three, but they don’t live here. 
O liked this bear rug.
A cake shaped like a swan.

Inside the palace, it was dimly lit and opulent. There were a lot of things that really shouldn’t be touched, and guides everywhere to watch your children almost touch things. 
It was better outside.


Whenever we visit Oma, I talk to her in my very best Dutch, which isn’t actually very best at all, and Kevin occupies the children, interjecting the occasional question about family history.  Between the Kevin and Oma, I am learning quite a bit about our past. 
From today: Oma was engaged to Opa at 16, married at 24; the same age her mother married. 
I also asked how she felt when my father decided to go to Canada at age 20. “He was only going for a year,” she said. She paused. “But when the year was up, he was already married.”

Oma offered to hold KE for the photo Oom Adri was taking, but he wouldn’t sit still. I like to tell him he’s a barrel of monkeys these days. It’s hard to keep the lid on, and I don’t know that I really want to. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

SintJanskerk Gouda

This church was huge. It’s the longest church in the Netherlands, they say; 123 metres long. We were there during the week, and as we walked around, listening to the organist’s music, I tried to imagine all the benches filled with people worshipping. The sound and sight would have been amazing. 
The grandeur, the richness, the intricate work of the stained glass windows... I can’t put it into words very well, but it felt like the Christians who built this over 100s of years lived a greater devotion to God than I see in my time. 
Which was a bit of a lonely thought. 

As we left, we saw photographs from 1939 of the stained glass windows being taken down and stored in wooden cases in a sort of underground shed at a farm. There they made it safely through the war.

“Take a picture for cousin Peter,” said Kevin. “Wouldn’t he love to hammer on that organ.”