Thursday, 20 September 2012

HOLIDAY, STILL, THE LAST BLOG.

I was prompted from Holland the other evening that I hadn't finished my holiday blog, so here goes. I'll try and make this the last one!
We all went to the bazaar at Beverwijk one Saturday.  It's an enormous site with several halls with all kinds of items. We'd gone to visit a specific area for some shopping for Teresa.

 This is the main walkway - all pedestrians - passing various stalls selling, well, all sorts of things, while they are making their way to another building.


 We had an errand to fulfil for Stuart then went to 'the Turkish Market'. The smell was very nice! These spices are sold loose and what lovely colours!It was the most brilliant area, colourwise.


Fruit galore...


I had no idea fresh dates look like this!


It's not only Milton Keynes which has concrete cows!! We saw these as we were leaving. Incidentally, as at Het Loo, we paid two entry fees, one for Jonathan, one for me - and Teresa goes free as she's a carer...ie pushing the wheelchair.
Another day the two of us went to Alkmaar to shop and have a look round. A very nice clean carpark just at the edge of the shopping area but I kept forgetting that you should stick to the sides of road, not walk along it as I often do here as the road can be in better condition than the pavements!  This was the only day we had rain and that wasn't for very long. One road had these typically Dutch houses - the building on the right has an interesting crest at the top.

The lions are 'bottoms up', not the usual stance for supporters but it seems that the architect or builder had a disagreement with the client and got his revenge by showing his annoyance, reversing the lions.

The ice cream outlets are amazing - 20 or so different flavours, choose one, two or three different flavours in the appropriate cornet. They do a roaring trade, too. We bought ours then it began to rain.
The rain was pinging into the canal and the people who had just boarded the canal trip boat (under the trees on the right) disembarked in a hurry. Teresa and I found an awning and waited under there.  When it slowed a litle we ventured on, then, as it began again, took refuge under the counterbalance of the bridge where we were joined by several more people. You can just about see the raindrops falling from the counterweight.
While we waited I took photos of the Waag, a very large, imposing building situated on a big cobbled square where the cheese market is held every Friday - it had been a Weigh House and previous to that was a chapel.
Here's the picture on the top of the building... 
I spotted this little girl in her Spanish dancer's dress with her Mum - a lovely fat plait!
Did some shopping and then had lunch in a restaurant Teresa had used before. The meals are e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s, much too for me; I had just about found the tagliatelli under all the vegetables and that was enough for me so 2/3rds of it was left. What a waste! There was a storm, with thunder and lightning, that evening and it rained heavily but we were indoors so it didn't matter.

The next day we all went to the island of Texel, the largest of the string of islands off the north coast, taking the ferry. By the time we'd  queued for the loo and gone up to the deck (in the lift) the ferry was docking at the island - a very long trip! The island has its own breed of sheep... as you can see from this colourful shopping bag bought on the ferry on the way back.
The black sheep is, I think, the shape of the island.




We'd asked a shopkeeper in Alkmaar, who was American, could she recommend a good patchwork/quilt shop. Yes, she said, there was one on Texel - but, disappointingly, it wasn't very good when we got there though perhaps for a very small town it was OK.
This is one of the shopping streets crossed at the top by another street with more shops. There are plenty of sheep toys, mascots and decorations hanging outside most of them. Quite a mix of small shops, including one craft shop selling wools, material (!), and all kinds of 'crafty' items. It was the

shop's Birthday and this cake was just inside the door. It says 'The White Angel shop 15 years' and all made with felt! Not the angel on the top though.
We went back to the car and made our way through typical Dutch countryside making for atiny town called Cocksdorp where we went to have lunch - in a Pancake Restaurant. It sells 75 varieties of pancakes, sweet, savoury or half and half. Pancakes are as big as (small) dustbin lids, about 15" across! Since I have a sweet tooth I ordered a cherry pancake, which was four blobs of cherry pie filling, which is the nearest I can describe it, plus a blob of vanilla ice cream in the centre and four squirts of 'cream'; Teresa and Jonathan both had savoury pancakes. Needless to say, I couldn't finish mine, nor could I take away the remains, much to my dismay...well, sort of! Sitting in the shade, lovely!
 Teresa and I had both seen a repeated BBC2 'Coast' programme a few weeks before and she was determined to find the Georgian War Cemetery which was mentioned in the programme. The cemetery holds the remains of  an estimated 470 Georgian soldiers who fought the Germans on the island in May 1945. They were POWs who had been forced to work for the Occupiers or die in a camp so many took this chance of life. Stalin had a strict policy against soldiers who he regarded as traitors - it was to the Gulag or death.
After our lunch the search began in earnest. We drove through the tiny market which was selling craft-y things and a few stalls with 'car boot items' and went to the dunes, the end of the road. In the distance we could see a monument so off we went, Teresa pushing the chair up a long slow slope. When we got there we found it was not the Georgian monument but one, I think ,to the project which had done work over many years on the coastline/dunes here. I have an idea this shape is part of the coastline but the plaque was in Dutch.

I did manage to walk up the wooden steps which led to the top of the dunes and had my only view of the sea when I was in Holland. The beaches are guarded by high grass-covered dunes which I couldn't manage but I'd been pushed most of the way up the slope. The beach was a very large expanse of mud and some vegetation - a huge bay with only a group of people on the shore.

A drunken skyline here, I was being buffeted by the wind which you don't feel on ground level.

We plodded on with our search; Teresa's like me in this respect, you keep going until you get there. So, back to the car and off again. We stopped to get a map from a large, pleasant tourist centre and by dint of driving back and forth - not because it was signposted - we eventually found the cemetery.

It was tucked away in a narrow lane, bordered by a hedge and almost invisible. The gates leading to the cemetery are quite low. As always in Holland with war graves, the cemetery is well tended and neat.

At the far end there is a memorial to the men who died on Texel while fighting the Germans; Georgia was part of the USSR at the time and the Hammer and Sickle are on this memorial, which can just be seen in the previous photo.

There are several of these plaques placed around the walls and appear to be commemorating soldiers buried nearby.

A rose bush has been planted for each man who lies here.

Several people were here when we arrived and as we left another couple turned up, who had found the cemetery just by accident, not because they had been searching for it.

This was my last trip out in Holland so the next day it was back to Schiphol and my Assisted Passenger status. I said Goodbye to Teresa and Jonathan and an hour later (but 10 minutes by the clock) I was back and Heathrow and being collected by Stuart.

Just a few more photos of things which took my notice as we were driving about North Holland -

I was sitting on a sofa with my feet up one day and saw this strange sight(and unheard of in the UK) of a Man from the Council who comes round every few months and pressure washes the rubbish bin and the food bin, all included in the price you pay for the collection service! Something our local councils might copy - I'm joking... Dustbins for a certain set of houses are put out on the appropriate day and the dustman's cart stops only once...what a good idea?
I noticed this huge plant as we were driving to - somewhere - and asked what it was - a recycling incinerator which burns the rubbish and provides electricity for the national grid.

We were passing through a small town called Heemskerk, where I'd stopped to use a Cashpoint, and Jonathan noticed these Commonwealth War Graves Commision headstones at the front of the local churchyard.

 The plaque telling about the graves which are on the right of the row, seven close together, was in Dutch so when I came home I typed it into a translation site and, apart from a few weird translations, says ' It was a cold dark night on the 16th December in the year 1943.

The overall darkening in the war years was required were the bombers that evening to be heard but not to see. The squadron of the 115th Squadron of the RAF had taken off from England with the aim of bombs over Germany to pay off. It was almost half past six (7.30) in the evening when the Heemskerk [Dungeons] were startled by a violent explosion.Outside saw a huge blaze of light.
Due to a technical fault was one of the new Lancasters caught fire.By the heat of the fire exploded the bomb in the plane so that the air exploded.Pieces fell into the aircraft over a wide area in the dunes down, near the Calvary, the seven-man crew was thrown out of the plane. None of them survived the crash. The bodies were found, could be identified. On 20 December 1943, the seven crew members buried in this memetery. On December 16 and May 4, this is commemorated and we allow for a       [?moment] to dwell on those who died for our freedom.'
It's an odd translation but I think you can get the gist of what happened that night. The 4th May is Dutch Remembrance Day and the 5th is celebrated as Liberation Day.
At last I've got to the end of my holiday and now it's back to normal (ish)...

4 comments:

marigold jam said...

All looks as though you had a great time. Love those bottoms up lions! My friend in Bristol has a man who comes round weekly on bin day and cleans out the bins but I think that it is a private enterprise. We do our own but they are deep and heavy aren't they?

Kath said...

How interesting about Texel. Do you suppose that's where the Texel breed sheep come from? I saw some at the Royal show some years back.
Great photos, I liked the old buildings especially.

Sylve said...

Hallo, ladies.
Isn't Sarah a clever girl? She's got rid of the expanse of unwanted white space, I couldn't!
Jane, I try to bag everything that goes into the dustbin but, yes, they are deep and heavy, I agree.
Kath, It is where Texel breed of sheep comes from - there's a website about them.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing..