Today Mike and I decided to explore a nearby town: Naarden, a fortress town dating from the 1300’s. From Google maps you can see the starburst outline of the town’s canals and fortifications. Obviously, this sounded amazing so we had to check it out.
As you approach the city, the fortifications are striking: angular high green berms rise from the ground beyond a beautiful moat. When you enter the fortifications, you can easily see the church spire. We followed the spire of Grote Kerk, past charming buildings in brick or the traditional Dutch green, to the heart of the city.
The church was open so we wandered in. There is a beautiful painted wooden ceiling with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. A nice gentleman offered us a couple mirrors to get a better look at the ceiling without neck strain. On the way out Mike stopped to admire some centuries old graffiti on one of the doors. Some of it looked like it was Latin or Greek letters.
I found poems and quotes painted on numerous buildings around the town.
There are some cafes and wine shops along the main street but sadly most of them were closed. (Monday lots of businesses close or open later.) I think we may go back to check out the wine shops at some point. We did find a nice little place to have some coffee.
Our visit to Naarden was a low key day trip and we loved the architecture and fortifications. I’m really glad we finally got to see it.
Last Friday, I visited the Zaanse Schans which is a typisch Nederlands place. It has windmills, cheese, wooden shoes, boats, and of course water.
Originally, during the 18th and 19th century, the Zaanse Schans was an industrial area with around 600 windmills. Windmills were used more than for just milling grain. The Dutch also ground pigments for paint, oil (or extracted it rather), spices, cocoa, and even sawed wood.
Later, old houses were moved to the Zaanse Schans to be preserved.
Now there are museums too. I visited the Klompenmakerij and a kaasboerderij.
I took lots more pictures which you can check out here if you are interested.
Last month, Mike and I went to Den Haag (native English speakers will know it has The Hague). We visited many of the must-see sights although we did not go on any tours. The morning started out rainy but the weather was soon warm and sunny. Our first stop was Het Binnenhof, built around the 13th century or so. Het Binnenhof was where the Dutch parliament used to meet but now it is just a historical site (and an impressive one as you can see below).
After Het Binnenhof, we headed downtown…
Of course we visited the Vredespaleis, though we did not get to tour the inside.
We visited the Den Haag market – which is huge (so huge and packed it was hard to get a good picture)! Half the market has clothing stalls the other half has fish, fruits, vegetables, and bread stalls. However, we were slightly saddened by its lack of fry stands. We also had lunch at a lovely little cafe (I forget the name) a short walk from the Vredespaleis.