Sunday, October 31, 2010

Roll on Holl-and sights - Delft

So we decided one day to drive in to Delft. Which is the town I actually know the most about in Holland. So that was a good thing. Marty had always wanted to visit Delft as she likes Vermeer and he was born and lived in Delft and is also of course now buried there. I have to admit to being a fan of the Dutch Baroque and the "Golden Age", so I was happy to drive over and see what we could find.
After parking and strolling through a nice maze of streets, we went past the fish market and popped out into the belly of the main square.
We got to see what Delft is, to me anyway, a nice modern shop where all is perfect,
Then next to it is a nice little antique shop there with things that appear used, ice skates, clogs and lots of faux Delft 18th century pottery.
Something else I noticed about Delft is that there are great little details hidden, and if you don't look up, you won't see them. This must be a moon market.
The clouds in the window, the slightly changing bricks and the dog looking down Oudekerkstraat.
To me, if I couldn't translate the word Bijbel, I would think it is a Harry Potter theme store. Makes you think about fictional books.....
Of course there are the more obvious of wall adornments as well.
Sometimes you just have to remember what Den Nederlands is all about..... cows, but I'm not saying Marty is a cow..... or am I?
The different types of old glass are also all over inner Delft. You can tell the age apparently by the difference in thickness top to bottom as glass is actually still liquid and will run down with gravity. Fact.
The spires try to get higher.
Het Noorden the mining engineer pub I spent a bit of time in last time I was in Delft. You can only come being a mining engineer or invited by a member. It is the only faculty in Delft that have their own pub. Gluck Auf!

As we prepared to leave Delft, Marty wanted to see the location where the Vermeer's famous painting "View of Delft". So the first picture is the day we were there
The second is the painting by Vermeer. Well at least the clouds stayed the same!
So that is Delft, quite a pretty little city and now certainly becoming "trendy" with the students and ex-students staying or returning to live. I recommend it especially if you want to see the spiritual home of the Dutch Golden Age.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The last of Belgium

So as I completely forgot about Ypres, I need to add a few more photos in. After the Tyne Cot we thought it would be good to relax a little as the weather was fabulous. So we went off to have a beer in the sun.
I ordered a lovely brown Kasteel
With such a pretty base to the glass, that really is a treat to have nice individual glasses to each beer. I just don't think it would work in Australia for some reason......
Marty had a Palm beer and it must have been good, or my stories are really boring.... I am hoping it was a good beer, but truth be known.... it was just ok.
We stopped near an Australian memorial, it was lovely as we were the only people there, in the middle of a small forest with a manicured lawn and some time to reflect.
To the fifth.
Then we popped into Ypres/Ieper (which looks like leper if you aren't concentrating) for a poke around.
There were some great ominous looking clouds about too.
Threatening, yet fluffy and nice.
In Ypres there is a memorial to the soldiers of WWI as many were killed defending the area around Ypres. Ypres itself was almost completely destroyed in WWI and so the town is only 100 years old, but you really couldn't tell.
J.J. rest his soul.
I couldn't tell which photo of the fountain I liked more.
So you got two.
We stopped off for our first (and only) Belgian waffle, I asked for chocolate at first he thought I said chicken..... man my English must be getting worse!
Then we did a little shopping, ahhhhh chocolate.
I then looked at, but refused to buy, some cherry beer. It is just kind of wrong, no?
After getting our little hearts, and stomachs, focused on food we decided to have a meal. It was a great idea, as it was the best meal of the entire trip! We went to the restaurant De Ruyffelaer if you are ever passing through, you must stop in. It is really great.
I had Rabbit
And Marty had the poussin
Before we headed towards the memorial at sunset.
For the daily tradition of the last post. Certainly an emotional moment and there would have been a good 300 people there, mid week in September, quite impressive all round.

oooppppsss I forgot all about Ypres

World War I was to be the war that ended all wars.

Just before World War I Australia had a population of nearly 4.5 million. During World War I over 421,809 Australians served in the military, so nearly one tenth of the population. Over 60,000 Australians lost their lives and 137,000 were wounded. The majority of these died in Europe, which is nearly 17,000kms from Australia, even though we also fought in the Middle East and Africa during the war.

I have previously been to Australia's other "War Mecca", Gallipoli in Turkey. So as we were in Belgium on holiday, I thought it would be good to see the site which effected and cost Australia quite largely nearly a hundred years ago.
We decided to visit the Tyne Cot Cemetary. Which is in the middle of the "Western Front".
I liked this one as they were from Sherwood Forest, made me wonder about the Robin Hoods of the day who would be very resourceful in their needs.
They have a memorial register, so that you can look for those in your family or friends that served and lost their life in the region. As you can see there are only a few of my family there.
Scarily enough one of them is a G Masters!
The Cemetery is very well kept by the Belgians and through money from the UK, I believe. It is certainly a fitting tribute to boys, and they were mostly boys, who fought and died here.
We were lucky there were some war verterans visiting from Canada, of course not WWI vets.
It just gave a realistic feeling to the environment
We were lucky that while there a Scottish piper came and played a solemn tune.

You can see a video of it at the bottom. I hope so anyway....

Sometimes I think cemetaries look best in black and white
Especially in the weather like this with bright sunshine and white headstones.
It almost looks like a people lining up for a pilgramage which I guess to an extent is true.
The sun will always rise
But the sun will never set on the memories of these brave men.

video

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gouda today, better tomorrow.

So we jumped in the automobile that was the red rocket and headed from the disputed zone of Belgium over the Northern border to the land of expensive petrol, wooden shoes, unending bike paths and cheese. The later being the more important to us.
So we went to our next accommodation, which was a beautiful little house in a gorgeous garden of two artists. The little studio while not stunning with the interior it was certainly a lovely place. It was so quiet and just fabulous we even spent a day where instead of"touring" we sat in the garden in the sun reading and talking.

On our first day we decided to go to the nearby town of Gouda. Famous for one thing..... yes cheese.
To put it bluntly, Gouda is more bland than the cheese they are most famous for. There isn't really any pretty architecture apart from the cheesehouse/townhall thing.
It probably rocks more when the cheese market is on. However, it just doesn't seem to have the feel of the little Belgian towns we had just left, and other Dutch towns and cities we visited later. It may have been because it was the first town we went to in Holland so it was a "culture shock" after the idle world of Flanders, but it just didn't have any feeling to it. As Darryl Kerrigan would say, it doesn't have a vibe at all. It did allow us however to buy and try lots of cheese.... so there was a positive.
The more famous of the cheese shops in town.
Packed to the rafters with cheese.
Aged, and flavoured cheeses are to be found here.
Even this one that had sambal in it!
Yep, there is plenty of cheese there!
It does make me feel sorry for American persons though. When in this store we were listening to one who was complaining that in the good old US of A you can't get decent cheese and he was trying to determine if he could get a few kilos through customs and if it would stay at its peak. He was however, looking at a Gouda in the shape of a clog at the time..... ohhhhh say can you see...... Never a dull moment when tourists are about!