The Netherlands early Summer 2017 – Edam

2017-12-14 at 18:01

From the campground to Edam or Amsterdam takes about the same time with the bicycle. And I was so many times in Amsterdam but not in Edam – so it was Edam today. You pedal in the general direction until you pass a signpost with the bike routes on it. Now you find your number and follow the route along flowery meadows, ponds and ditches, bridges, a lot of cows and sheep, winding dykes, waving reeds, old and new farmhouses and an old windmill if you lucky. The land is flat and as long as you do not face wind from the front it is super easy. I decided to bike over Volendam and along the water to get to Edam and circle back against the clock to the campground.

Volendam

View from Volendam
View from Voloendam out on the sea

Snak time in Volendam⁩
Snak time in Volendam – the birds liked me all of a sudden since I had Hummus with bread. Turns out they did not really care for Hummus after all.

Kathammer Molen Windmill

Kathammer Windmill
This mill was built around 1650. It burned down in 1896 and was rebuild. In 1911 the blades and the roof were removed and the mill became a pumping station. In 1986 the mill was finally restored and operates again

Team green
Team green

Edam

Edam
Edam! It is not allowed to ride from Volendam to Edam on the dam – you can only walk so I had a nice view of – nothing for a while but what to do? But I can assure you – there is water on the right! Behind the dyke!

Townhall Edam
Townhall Edam – it is still in use for marriage and other ceremonies.

Townhall Edam Detail
Townhall Edam Detail

Lots of red brick buildings and narrow paths
Lots of red brick buildings and narrow paths

Carillon Tower from 1561 The Church of Our Dear Lady
The Carillon Tower from 1561. Next to it is the Church of Our Dear Lady (Kleine or Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk in Dutch) or what is left of it. The first church was built around 1350 and the last one was demolished in 1882. All that is left is the small part to support the tower. When I took this picture the tower had 37 bells. Now it has 5 more!

Shells on the church's ground
Shells on the church’s ground

Decoration over an entrance at Lingerzijde
Decoration over an entrance at Lingerzijde

Decoration over an entrance at Lingerzijde

Entrance with window
Entrance with window

View from a bridge towards the Oorgat
View from a bridge towards the Oorgat

Old watergate to regulate the water level
Old watergate to regulate the water level

Edam Cheese market

At the Cheesemarket in Edam
At the Cheesemarket in Edam. This is what Edam is known for – the Edam Cheese!

At the Cheesemarket in Edam

At the Cheesemarket in Edam

At the Cheesemarket in Edam

Taking the boat to town

Sometimes you have to cross a town. There are bridges all over the place and nice people who make a living open and close those bridges.

Slowly the bridge opens
Slowly the bridge opens

Half way up
Half way up

There you go
There you go

Finally open water
Finally open water

The next bridge awaits
The next bridge awaits

St. Nicolas Church

Various stages of the construction. It is built on piles and the weight had to be kept at a minimum. The vaulted ceiling for example is a wooden copy of a stone ceiling.
Various stages of the construction.
Grote Kerk or St. Nicholaaskerk as the church is known here was build at the beginning of the 15th Century. A few times lightning stroke the church and it burned down and was rebuilt. It is one of the largest 3 ridged churches in Europe. It is built on piles and the weight had to be kept to a minimum because the ground is not stable. The vaulted ceiling, for example, is made from wood instead of stone.

St. Nicolas church

Grave Stones
Like in other churches some people got burried right in the church

Stained glass windows
Stained glass windows

Stained glass windows donated as gifts from neighboring towns
Most of the stained glass windows where donated as gifts from neighboring towns

More windows

More windows

St. Nicholaaskerk,

The organ of St. Nicolas church
The organ of St. Nicolas church

There was an Art Exhibition about the war in Syria
There was an Art Exhibition about the war in Syria

Coffee in the church
There was an old lady selling coffee in the church so I had one. Tried one of the local treats as well – quite eatable if you are hungry.
After the church it was time to pedal back and wait for the guys. It was a nice week and I love to bike in Waterland. Somehow you arrive in this part of Holland and calm down in an instant. The same goes for Friesland – where I was a few weeks later.

The Train back home again

Omi's Apfelstudel - in a bottle? But it is Vegan!
Omi's Apfelstudel – in a bottle? But it is Vegan!

Castle
A few more castles on the way home and 6 times changing of the train as well. Well well….

Castle

The Netherlands early Summer 2017 – Part 1

2017-12-12 at 17:37

If you want to go to from Stuttgart to Amsterdam to Stuttgart and you do not want to spend more than 100€ you have a few options.
Hitch Hike: Free but one can not be sure to arrive at the same day
Ride sharing: Quite fast but you need somebody that goes both ways at the day you want to travel
The bus: Easy since you do not have to change from Stuttgart to Amsterdam. Not a lot of space
The train: You have to change 6 times. You can walk while changing and have more space.

So once again I took the train for 89€ something. Was close to take the bus but the last time I did German police did a drug search on the highway. Not even after the border – a stop later. That took over two hours. And the bus trip is slow in the first place. No such thing in the train – I wonder why?? How come they stop the buses and no check in the train? Take a dog and walk the train – it is so easy and you can do it while the train is moving!
And the train is a bit faster than the bus – if (IF) the train is on time. Which usually it is not. The cheap ticket is only for the day and trains that are listed on your ticket. If there is a delay of more than 20 minutes you can take any train. A few times I could switch into a fast train and saved a lot of changing trains and time!

First train
First train

Second train
Second train

Next train
Next train

Outside at the train station in Oberhausen
Outside at the train station in Oberhausen. Imagine this is what you see when you come home! Since it was a booze free vacation I could not even drown my sorrows in beer at the Trinkhalle.

There is one more thing about the train ride – the train goes along the Rhine river for a while. That must be the most scenic part in Germany you can do on rails. Old small villages on the side the train goes up. The river on your right (or left when you come back from Amsterdam) and lots of old villages and castles on the other side.

Along the Rhine river
Along the Rhine river

Castle

Next train
Next train – this one will cross into Holland

Switch trains again in Arnhem⁩
Switch trains again in Arnhem

And one more time in Utrecht
And one more time in Utrecht. Not even do you have 4G as soon as you pass the border. All the national railway trains do have free WiFi which makes the journey more bearable. Sure enough I look out of the window but when you drive this one a few times it will get less and less interesting. Its nice to read some mails, facebook a bit or scan the news sites.

Finally - the outskirts of Amsterdam
Finally – the outskirts of Amsterdam. Dee and Gerben picked me up at the station and we left for the country side.

My home for a week in Monnickendam⁩
My home for a week in Monnickendam⁩

My ride for the next week
My ride for the next week. I would love to have my green one here. This one is a bit small and very very heavy.

Flat but if the wind comes from the front this bike kills me
Flat but if the wind comes from the front this bike kills me

‎⁨Broek in Waterland
Broek in Waterland

The guys at the market stand
The guys at the market stand

Amsterdam
Amsterdam

The Singing Sheep

On the way back to the camper I passed a few sheep. I stopped to take a look at them. One sheep asked me where I was from so we talked for a while.

Wanna hear my mate sing?
Wanna hear my mate sing?

Listen up!
Listen up!

Thooohooo
Thooohooo

Tarrraaa
Tarrraaa

The sheep where on holiday here. They come from Friesland or Frisia. If the Dutch speak to me I understand most of it since it is close to German. Some is a bit more difficult with the Frisians from the northwestern part of the Netherlands but I works as well. After the song I was quite impressed and pedaled the rest of the way with a big grin on my face.

The monkey likes cold water
The monkey likes cold water

The next day

It was blue, warm and sunny! I managed to find the week where Dutch summer takes place. It usually only lasts for a day but it is great!

The pool from our campground
The pool from our campground

Summer in ze Dutchland
Summer in ze Dutchland

The boys
The boys

Back in Amsterdam

I enjoyed the quite mornings at the camp ground. The guys left quite early so I could sleep again. After that a nice hot shower and coffee. There was a camper parked across but the guy did not sleep at the campground. And there was one parked round the corner – never saw the woman who stayed there.
And after my coffee I did the dishes every day.
If you ever think to marry a Thai girl and love camping – think again! She does a few dishes every evening – any leftovers go into containers in the fridge and end up as snacks for the next day. So you have almost everything you use to cook or eat in the camper on a big dirty pile every day. That results in doing dishes for 30 minutes or more every day.

Next stop Schipol
Next stop Schipol

On the way to Amsterdam
On the way to Amsterdam

On the way to Amsterdam
Only cows, a few sheep’s and some water birds till you get really close to Amsterdam. This camp ground is a bit further from the city than the one from last year. Last year I was walking just under 1 hour to the ferry for the train station. Now it takes about 40 minutes with the bike.

Monnickendam⁩
Monnickendam⁩

Oranjekerk
Oranjekerk

View down the Rustenburgerstraat
View down the Rustenburgerstraat

That was a beautiful art deco theater and is a Rijksmonument. Now it houses a coffee place
That was a beautiful art deco theater and is a Rijksmonument. Now it houses a coffee place

I take that picture every time when I am in Amsterdam. The globes get old now
I take that picture every time when I am in Amsterdam. The globes get old now

A long Weekend in France – Part 3

2017-12-10 at 14:08

Today we drove from Sainte-Menehould over Navarin and Sainte-Menehould to Nancy with a few stops on the way.

The same big sky
The same big sky

Navarin

Monument Aux Morts des Armées de Champagne, Ferme du Navarin

Monument Aux Morts des Armées de Champagne, Ferme du Navarin or the Ossuary of Navarin
There are more than 10.000 soldiers buried inside the pyramid. The sculptor worked the faces of three real people in the statues on the top. On the right Quentin Roosevelt, nephew of the President of the United States, who died in the service of France. The soldier on the left has the features of his brother, who was killed on the Chemin des Dames. To the grenadier in the center, he has given the features of General Gouraud. The tomb of General Gouraud is also inside the monument. He wished to be buried with those whom he had commanded from 1916 to 1918 as head of the 4th Army.

Barbed wire
Barbed wire next to the monument. Part of the site.

Sainte-Menehould

Mairie de Sainte-Menehould
Mairie de Sainte-Menehould

Monument for the fallen 167 Soldiers of the town
Monument for the fallen 167 Soldiers of the town

Nancy

Hotel de Ville Nancy
Hotel de Ville Nancy

Stanislas Leszczyński
Stanislaus I of Poland. When he was exiled he was given the duchy of Lorraine. The town flourished under his rule. He build the Place Stanislaus that connected the old and new part of town at the time.

Place Stanislas
Place Stanislaus

At the Place Stanislas

Nancy Cathedral
Nancy Cathedral build in the 17th century. King Sigebert III of Austrasia was laid to rest here.

Fontaine Amphitrite
Fontaine Amphitrite

In the good old times - who needed cloths?
In the good old times – who needed cloths?

Hostile territory, alleging server, their family honor and love
Hostile territory, allegiant server, their family honor and love – sorry my Latin is not even existing

Decoration
Decoration

Nancy

Street light
Street light

Nancy

Basilique Saint-Epvre
In 1863 construction of the Basilique Saint-Epvre begun. It was completed in 1871.

Basilique Saint-Epvre

Detail from the entrance
Detail from the entrance

Angel
Angel

Basilique Saint-Epvre

Road blocks
Road blocks – a new enrichment to our cities



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A long Weekend in France – Part 2

2017-12-09 at 16:57

Todays plan – a circle from Douaumont to Reims and Auberive after that over Souain-Perthes-lès-Hurlus to Sainte-Menehould. Visit a few more cemeteries and see some French country side.

Douaumont Ossuary

Douaumont Ossuary

A memorial build within the Verdun battlefields. It contains more than 130.000 fallen soldiers of the French and German side. In front of the memorial is a big graveyard with more fallen soldiers. The battle of Verdun was the longest in human history and lasted 303 days. In 2000 it was estimated that the battle took 714,231 soldiers. Recent estimates go up to 976.000 casualties during the battle with 1.250.000 suffered at Verdun in the first world war.
When you drive to the monument you pass trenches and smaller memorials. A whole village that was destroyed and not rebuild after the war. You drive through peaceful forest that was planted here in 1930 – still 100.000 missing soldiers under that forest. And every time they find the remains of one they bring them into the Douaumont Ossuary.

The largest single French military cemetery of the First World War with 16,142 graves.
The largest single French military cemetery of the First World War with 16,142 graves.

Muslim part of the grave yard
Muslim part of the grave yard

10 soldiers in one grave
10 soldiers in one grave

Grave

Douaumont Ossuary

At last 130.000 soldiers are buried under the building
At last 130.000 soldiers are buried under the building

All of them unidentified combatants of both nations
All of them unidentified combatants of both nations

Mitterrand and Kohl lay down wreaths 1984 in memory of the fallen soldiers
September 22nd 1984 the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (whose father had fought near Verdun) and French President François Mitterrand (who had been taken prisoner nearby in World War II), lay down wreathsin memory of the fallen soldiers. They where holding hands for several minutes in driving rain as a gesture of Franco-German reconciliation. And there are some mad monkeys that think Europe is a bad idea! This is the longest time we had no war with the French. In fact no war at all in the European Union since WW II.

Memorial for the Jewish soldiers
Memorial for the Jewish soldiers

Why could they not ask for German translation?? Forbidden lawn?? And even spelled wrong
Why could they not ask for German translation?? Forbidden lawn?? And even spelled wrong

La Pompelle Marker
This stones mark the furthes points the Germans reached during the 1918 offensives. This one in La Pompelle was paid for by the Mexican Association of War Veterans. 200 Mexicans fought in this sector!

Fort de Vaux

This was the second fort that fell into German hands after Fort Douaumont.

Flags over Fort Vaux
Flags over Fort Vaux

Memorial for Rayand's last pigeon
Memorial for Rayand's last pigeon

Hospital in Fort Vaux
Hospital in Fort Vaux

Canon in Fort Vaux
One of the Canons

Enough of the war for today!

Reims

Breakfast in France
Coffee break before we hit the city

Cathedral Notre Dame in Reims
Cathedral Notre Dame in Reims. The first church was build here in 401. In 816 the first King of France was crowned here. After that it was remodel, it burned down and rebuild a few times.

Cathedral Notre Dame
The main entrance in the front

Cathedral Notre Dame
A fire destroyed the towers in 1481

Cathedral Notre Dame
Inside the Cathedral. The 3 windows all the way in the end are designed by Marc Chagall

Cathedral Notre Dame
This is pretty amazing

Cathedral Notre Dame

Cathedral Notre Dame

Public library
Public library – one of the many Art Deco buildings in Reims. After the First World War 80 percent of the city was destroyed. So a lot of buildings where build in the 1020s. I have to go again next year and have a look!

Louis XV in front of the Place Royal
Louis XV in front of the Place Roya

What a nice house
What a nice house

500 years Jeanne D'Arc
500 years Jeanne D'Arc

Reims

The town hall in Reims
The town hall in Reims

Hôtel de Ville, Reims
Hôtel de Ville, Reims

Detail of the town hall
Detail of the town hall

A horse looks out of a wall
A horse looks out of a wall

Sube Fountain
Sube Fountain

A living wall
A living wall

Auberive

Road in Auberive
Road in Auberiv

French cemetry in the front - German one in the back
French national cemetery Le Bois du Puits

They put them 6 feet under head to head
They put them 6 feet under head to head – which is quite unusual

5359 German soldiers - 3124 that could not be identified were laid in an ossuary at the end of the grave yard
5359 German soldiers – 3124 that could not be identified were laid in an ossuary at the end of the grave yard

Book with the names - in case you want to find your great-grandfather
Book with the names – in case you want to find your great-grandfather

Name book

Now it looks quiet and peaceful
Now it looks quiet and peaceful

The clouds made the whole visit even more intense
The dramatic sky with the clouds made the visit even more intense

Flat land and a wide sky
Flat land and a wide sky

We drive to the next place
We drive to the next place

Souain-Perthes-les Hurlus

Souain War Cemetery - French side - more than 30.000 graves
La Crouée War Cemetery is the name of the French side – more than 30.000 graves

Under this stone are 11320 fallen German soldiers
Souain German War Cemetery is the name of the German side. Under this “Unknown soldiers” memorial are 11320 fallen German soldiers buried

Names and rang

Another 1900 graves on the German side of the grave yard
Another 1900 graves on the German side of the grave yard

The Jewish got different stones
The Jewish got different stones

The old stone with outdated information
The old stone with outdated information

 
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