Sunday, 26 September 2010
I hope you like my new header. You probably can't read what the words say and my skills in blogland are too bad to change the colour to a readable one - so until Dominic is available to do it for me I shall have to tell you that the words tell that we have been to the Netherlands for a holiday - and the header is the lovely little fishing village of Hoorn.
Where to start. We have been for a few days to stay with very dear friends quite near to Amsterdam. The weather was very kind, the company was perfect, the food was splendid - and the things we saw were amazing. There - I have almost run out of adjectives!
Our friends took us to so many places. F remembered that I had said some time ago that I had always wanted to see Rembrandt's 'The Nightwatch' and that I loved painting by Van Gogh. So, where did we go on the first day - we went by very efficient train service into Amsterdam. First we went to Rijksmusem to see the nightwatch - oh my goodness me - how huge the painting is and how full of minute detail - from the gold embroidery on the clothes, the lace neck ruffs - and even the shadow of a hand on the coat of another.
Then it was across the square to the van Gogh museum - to see Fishing Boats on the Beach and A Pair of Old Boots - my two favourite pictures by Vincent. I have them in several books and I know them so well - but nothing prepares you for seeing them 'in the flesh' and seeing his use of colour.
We had lunch in the museum cafe and then went on a boat trip down the canals - a perfect day. I shall post photographs of this trip another day.
On the second day of our stay F and R had remembered me talking about what used to be called Zuider Zee - a place which fascinated me as a child. So where did we go?
We went to the lovely fishing village of Hoorn on the side of what used to be called Zuider Zee. We sat in a cafe for lunch - the farmer had the egg lunch in the photograph - I had something a little more ' gentle' a beef carpaccio sandwich. A grey heron sat close by us throughout lunch. There were working boats moving about and setting off into the Zee; there were fishermens' nets hanging over the sides of the bridge; there was a strong smell of fish in the air. The walk through the old town was beautiful. Sometimes it was sunny and sometimes cloudy, which accounts for the differing tones in the photographs - but it didn't rain, it was warm and so interesting. To finish off the day F drove us over the dam itself and we saw just how huge the area of water was and how cleverly it has all been controlled.
More about the Netherlands tomorrow. It has been the most marvellous holiday - but of course it is always nice to come home.