Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays!!

Andy wanted to show off our Christmas tree, which is much smaller than we're used to but is the typical size that we see here. About half of our ornament collection fit on the tree.

We'll be back on January 1 for Theme Day. In the meantime, best holiday wishes to all of our visitors. Prettige Feestdagen!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Shopping Tonight

The Langstraat is a pedestrian street and Wassenaar's main shopping thoroughfare. The street begins at one end with this statue, and ends at the Dorpskerk.
Here you can find everything from small department stores to cheese, wine to electronics, clothes to cameras.
Although there are a few restaurants and pubs along the street, it is generally pretty quiet at night. Fridays are the exception, when some stores are open at night.
On this night a cold rain was falling, typical for this time of year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

In The Hague, the Binnenhof, home of the dutch parliament, has been one of my favorite subjects. The view across the pond shows off some of the city's more modern buildings in the background.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas in Cologne

Couldn't resist posting from the Cologne/Köln/Keulen market again.

Perhaps it's because this was the first gothic cathedral we ever saw on our first visit to Europe (many, many moons ago), but I still find the Kölner Dom (Cologne cathedral) to be one of the most awesome sights in Europe. Yes, I know there are churches that are bigger, or more delicate, or in a more picturesque location, but this one tops it for me.

Here are some more pics from the market, to make up for the fact that we won't publish this weekend. Hope to see you Monday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cologne on Ice: Where?Wednesday

Cologne (Köln/Keulen) has one of the most festive Christmas markets within easy reach of Wassenaar (about 3 hours drive).
More precisely, the city has about 6 separate markets. We visited the largest three outdoor markets. There's nothing like a little holiday cheer in the shadow of the magnificent cathedral (Dom).
My theory is that glühwein not only warms you up, but gives one the courage to navigate through the throngs of people mulling over the thousands of christmas wares on display. It may be crowded and commercial, but the combination of the scenery and the festivity of the season manage to prevail.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trailing Tram

Christmas lights in The Hague, as seen through a passing tram.
Enlarging the photo reveals more details, including tram sparks and a hidden observer.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Night Knights

The Ridderzaal (Knight's Hall) sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague, home of the dutch Parliament.

Dating from the 13th century, it's best known here as the place where the Queen gives her annual speech on Prinsjesdag.

The fountain was featured in this post by our neighbor at The Hague Daily Photo.

If you'd like to see the hall as it looks during the daytime, click here.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Been to church today?

Last pics from the St. Janskerk in Gouda. The first is looking straight up at the magnificent organ. We got to hear the wonderful sound during our visit.

The second photo is a shot down the middle of the interior. Aside from the windows and the organ, the church is typical of the plain interiors of most dutch churches. A result of the reformation, during which most churches were whitewashed and stripped of decoration.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Devotional Dogs

In art with a religious theme, dogs are often used to signify devotion and loyalty ... obviously an important attribute for a church to promote.

There are many dogs featured in the windows of the St. Janskerk in Gouda. These peaceful canines are seen sleeping on the robes of their masters.

This concludes (for now, anyway) our tour of the stained glass windows. Tomorrow a final shot from the interior of this grand church.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Modern Glass, Old Theme

Continuing from the city of Gouda and the stained glass in the St. Janskerk.

Not all of the windows are over 300 years old. This one is the "Liberation" window by Charles Eyck from 1947.

While the window has obvious celebratory elements (the dutch flag takes center stage), there are dark elements too. If you click to enlarge the photo, look around the edges, particularly toward the bottom left where you'll see concentration camp victims huddling.

Unfortunately, since I was standing some distance away from the window, I can't isolate the detail without it becoming pixelated. I'd love to get in there with a tripod someday, but I don't think it will happen as officially I wasn't even supposed to be taking pictures during our visit.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Gift of Glass

*Photo needs to be enlarged to be appreciated*

We'll stay in the town of Gouda (about 40km from Wassenaar) to show you some of the beautiful stained glass windows in the Grote Sint Janskerk (St. John's church).

The windows are considered among the finest in Holland, and a great deal of them date from the 16th century. One of the most interesting aspects of the windows is that they were made during the battle for independence from Spain and change to protestantism. Many of the religious fables featured in the windows are parables for the battles of the time.

This window, while not one of the most colorful, is one of my favorites. Donated by the city of Haarlem, it depicts the of the battle of Egyptian city of Damietta during the crusades. If I remember correctly, the story goes that the dutch, led by William I and the Haarlemmers, conquered the port which was previously impenetrable. Nothing like a little bragging to one of your neighboring cities in the guise of a religious gift.

Click on the photo for a larger size, and check out the incredible detail (which is nearly impossible to see as you're straining your neck in the church). Take special note of the ship sailing over the supposed giant chain that protected the port.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Where?Wednesday: Gouda

Gouda is home to one of the most magnificent town halls in The Netherlands. Finished in 1450, it stands proud in it's gothic glory in the middle of the town square. Photographed on a recent Saturday, when a general market fills the marktplatz.

Outside of Holland, Gouda is probably most associated with cheese. We've never seen the summer cheese market, but we've definitely consumed our fair share of the stuff.

The town is also home to the Grote St. Janskerk, which has some of the best stained glass windows in the country. We'll save that for another post.

One final note. The town residents are all aware that most english speakers pronounce the name "goo-da." It must sound like nails on a chalkboard to natives. We learned quickly that the dutch pronounciation is like "how-da" except it sounds like you are clearing your throat when you say the "h." And that's your language lesson for the day. Graag gedaan (and don't even ask how to pronounce that).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sweet Treats

There are many confectionery/bakery shops in Wassenaar. This one, on the Langstraat (the main shopping street) is displaying treats for the season.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Autumn Bridge

This was runner-up to Saturday's theme day post. I featured a different shot of this statue last month. She's normally wading in the water, but the river of leaves makes it look like she's stuck.
Thanks to all who commented on theme day; we were traveling this weekend and haven't had a chance to see all of the bridges, so we'll be looking at the posts over the next couple of days.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pride of Rotterdam: Monthly Theme Day (Bridges)

Since Don is no longer publishing his Rotterdam blog, we thought we'd show you one of the most famous bridges in The Netherlands.

As much as symbol of Rotterdam as the Golden Gate is to San Francisco, the Erasmusbrug (Erasmus bridge) spans the river Maas in the heart of the city.

The bridge was completed in 1996. Evidently there were initial problems with swaying on the bridge which were quickly fixed. A portion of the bridge is a drawbridge, which is necessary to allow some of the large ships that enter the port to pass underneath.

It is named, of course, for Rotterdam's famous humanist Erasmus.

You can still see the Erasmusbrug posts from Don's blog, along with his excellent commentary on Rotterdam's architecture, here.

Each month, the Daily City Photo Blog theme day gets bigger! This month there are over 120 participating blogs:
Boston (MA), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Stayton (OR), USA - New York City (NY), USA - Portland (OR), USA - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Inverness (IL), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Stockholm, Sweden - Setúbal, Portugal - Brussels, Belgium - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Hyde, UK - Manila, Philippines - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - London, England - Austin (TX), USA - Toulouse, France - Weston (FL), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Selma (AL), USA - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - Cleveland (OH), USA - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Seoul, South Korea - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - North Bay (ON), Canada - Arradon, France - Paderborn, Germany - Durban, South Africa - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Portland (OR), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Wichita (Ks), USA - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Grenoble, France - New York City (NY), USA - Nottingham, UK - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Arlington (VA), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Miami (FL), USA - Cheltenham, UK - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Saratoga Spgs. (NY), USA - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Nashville (TN), USA - Toruń, Poland - New Orleans (LA), USA - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Melbourne, Australia - Moscow, Russia - Trujillo, Peru - Château-Gontier, France - Quincy (MA), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Joplin (MO), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Brookville (OH), USA - Chateaubriant, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Baziège, France - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Detroit (MI), USA - Riga, Latvia - Nelson, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Cape Town, South Africa - Sydney, Australia - Dunedin (FL), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Radonvilliers, France - Turin, Italy - Montpellier, France - Kansas City (MO), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Wailea (HI), USA - Lubbock (TX), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Terrell (TX), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Budapest, Hungary - Montréal (QC), Canada - Sharon (CT), USA - Le Guilvinec, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - London, UK - Crepy-en-Valois, France - Orlando (FL), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Paris, France - Mainz, Germany - Newcastle (NSW), Australia - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Darmstadt, Germany - Naples (FL), USA - Torino, Italy - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Bogor, Indonesia - The Hague, Netherlands - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - Melbourne (VIC), Australia - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Christchurch, New Zealand