Saturday, December 31, 2011

Creativity and appreciation

The Christmas Bazaar this year was not any different from the one held last year.
The items on display were almost the same with mostly eatables and most of them related to Christmas and the season.

There was a stall with a variety of wine (and all got sold by evening with only one solitary bottle of  Jamun wine left by dusk)

But there was one item which caught everyone’s attention and that is the creativity that was on display.
These framed items were made from biodegradable items and mostly scrap. The material used were torn paper, dry leaves, wild seeds, and crushed eggshells. All stuck on hand made paper.

 (the red marking on the above two were to indicate that they were sold)

And these two (below) were made from scrap material, like bottle covers, used felt pen, discarded stone pieces from construction sites, toothpaste covers, torn magazine papers, discarded tiles . . . .......

A few of the frames got sold, but more than the sale it was the appreciation that came in hordes. 

Some took down the contact number of the artist so that they could discuss the possibility of getting something custom made later. Some said it was a good idea to give these as gifts for birthdays and special occasions.
The artist will be exhibiting more of her creativity in another exhibition in January.
(the candle stands below are hand made and from Botswana)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trip to Marken Island (part-II)

Once we landed in Marken, we found that the waterfront was lined with soveniour shops just like how it was in Volendam.

There was a particular shop or rather a house along with the shops which displayed how a traditional house was in the good old days. It was interesting to observe each and every item that was displayed there. A young lady dressed in the traditional costume was present, ready to show you around and answer any questions. Did click a picture with her, but I look kind of very stiff in the picture, so am not posting it.

Once you move a little away from these shops and the waterfront, you come to some lovely houses and streets. It’s so quiet and peaceful and what strikes you most is the way these houses are maintained.
 Some pics around the island. . . . . . .

The island is surrounded by a dyke and a walk around the dyke is 10 kilometers. There is a lovely lighthouse and there are some stories about the room next to the lighthouse being put up for rent.

Some pics around the dyke. . . . . . . . .

A little towards the interior there is a place where you get to see how a clog is made. They actually demonstrate the making of the shoe, right from the selection of the wood, processing, and carving it. You can actually see it in the attached video below. The wood used was supposed to be light in weight, soft and something that absorbs water.
First the outside is machined using the cutter and follower method .... . . . . . 

then transferring to another machine to carve out the inner profile.

The young lady who was demonstrating was very articulate and explained that in the olden days if a boy had to get married he had to first prove his skill and ability in carving out a good clog and that too in the days when machines were not there.

She did narrate interesting stories about the robbers who used to have special shoes with the soles carved the other way round so that when one tried to follow the footprints they would be mislead about the direction of the escape route.

On the whole it was a wonderful experience and I would recommend this place to all those who visit Amsterdam (and make sure you spend the whole day on the island)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trip to Marken Island (part-I)

Let us make that trip to Marken island (through Volendam) once again. (the last time we had a peek at it for that fun drive on the tandem cycle)
The bus ride from Amsterdam to Volendam is interesting and as you get closer to Volendam, its less crowded and the streets look peaceful.

 You can see the local residents having their leisurely walk with their pet dogs.

The windmills and farms that you see along the way indicates that we are out of the city. 

The bus drops you off at the last stop and you have to walk it up to the water front.

The youngsters are having a race on their roller blades.

Vehicles are not allowed beyond a point and this seems to be the car park, and you can see the trademark rooftops of the houses in Volendam.

I think we are close to the ferry. Tourists are having their fill, with their cameras working overtime.
As you walk down further you get a glimpse of the sea.

You take in that lovely view of the sea and the shops that are lined up on one side. It is crammed with cafes and souvenir shops.

While the family was busy feeding the sparrows, the young girl went on clicking. I found that the sparrows were choosy about what they ate.

You can buy snacks from a “Vishandel” (fish monger) near the harbour and enjoy it as you roam around the waterfront.

A typical fish and chips shop. I like the design of those hanging lamps. Wonder why those two lamps outside did not have the protective cage. Sorry but simple things like these always get my attention.

More eating places and notice those old photographs displayed above the shop? Maybe a small reminder of the fishing days and the shop.

Some more tourists. Some waiting for the ferry to take them across, while others wait for their spouse to finish their shopping. The one on the far left is not waiting for anyone.

In fact he has been sitting there for a long time. So I thought I would keep him company and get myself clicked with him.

Volendam is a fishing village and statues celebrating that industry and the people who worked there can be seen along the waterfront. Notice his boots which are clogs. (we will talk about clogs in the second part)

The bronze statue of children.

And the one of the lady with whom many have posed . . . . . . . 

And at times stared at too . . . . . 

Many notable personalities has visited and stayed in the Spaander Hotel in Volendam like Eleanor Roosevelt (1913) Walt Disney (1952) Kirk Douglas (1955) Elisabeth Taylor (1975)

The ferry takes you from Volendam to Marken Island. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get across.

Navigation is done skilfully and the captain is equipped with all the latest gadgets including a screen on the side showing what the camera captures from the sides and rear of his big boat.

Many preferred to sit on the upper deck braving the icy wind (you can see the overcast sky, but thankfully it did not rain)
I did notice that the lifejacket box was placed in a visible place and that it was not locked.

At the lower deck there was enough place to keep your cycles, in case you want to carry them along.

That’s the soda fountain at the lower deck and all your food came from here (in case you want to munch on something) Notice that bell on the port side? In case all electronic alarm system fails, just ring the bell.

Got friendly with the captain and managed to go right in his cabin to click this. That is one of the ferries returning from Marken I suppose.
So here we come Marken . . . . . .  just keep the welcome party ready (to be continued in part-II)