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Monday, March 17, 2014

Second honeymoon: Netherlands Part 1

Wilhemina park
I finally got round to start writing a very belated series of posts documenting our December vacation in the Netherlands. It partly took so long because of my hectic schedule, but mostly because I find it impossible to write down my impressions immediately after returning home. It's too fresh, too raw and  it refuses to be packed neatly into a rounded post. I have to let the memories, experiences and feelings mature.


As for the title: Second honeymoon. While we were on vacation Mr. C jokingly remarked that the secret recipe for a successful marriage consists of a few simple ingredients:
- listen to what she says
- never forget an anniversary or birthday
- buy her some nice jewellery
- take yearly vacations together

Out of this list an idea was born. Since we love to get away during the December holiday season,  and it was what motivated us to plan our honeymoon for the last week of December, we're going to try and make a tradition of it and go on "honeymoons" every year.

Silver maple planted in 1898
Netherlands was beautiful and what I'll remember most is the feeling of calm, relaxed atmosphere where everything was neat, organized and beautiful in a very distinct humble and understated manner. People were kind and eager to assist us but not extremely outgoing or pushy.

Silver maple planted in 1898
We stayed in Tilburg  for most of our vacation - our base camp and we made daily excursions to the outskirts of Tilburg, Breda and Amsterdam. Netherlands is relatively small, very similar to Slovenia. So in that regard it felt very familiar to the daily road trips we're used to.
The distance between Tilburg and Amsterdam is only about 120 km by car. Similarly Rotterdam and Hague are only about 150 km from Tilburg, yet we chose not to go since I felt that we would exhaust ourselves trying to see everything.

Art sculpture in the middle of Tilburg's canal
The Textile Museum is housed in a converted AaBe Factory that manufactured wool blankets. It was a must see for me!
Textile Museum

Textile Museum

Textile Museum

Wool before processing

video

The video shows an original mechanism that distributed power to the machines used to process the wool. The power was derived from a huge machine housed in a separate room.

Spools of wool yarn
video


Old poster for AaBe blankets

St. Dionysos Church

St. Dionysos Church
 
Appartment building complex positioned over the street



King William II

St. Joseph's Church
St. Joseph's Church is situated right next to the city centre also known as the Heuvel. The Heuvel was a central meeting point in the middle ages and the only source of fresh water for the citizens of Tilburg until 1898.

A replica of the water pump

Tilburg's walk of fame

Interestingly Tilburg also has its own walk of fame. I love that they've chosen to fill it it footprints and signatures of prominent citizens: mayors, artists, writers,...

Tilburg's walk of fame



14 comments:

  1. I love the idea of an annual honeymoon. Last year my husband and I went back out into the field where we got married and read our vows again. It was so nice to remember those important words.

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    1. Kelly, that so sweet! I think all couples find their own rituals that reaffirm the bond. We have a few things we like to do together repeatedly as well as retelling certain stories or past events.

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  2. Dear Ana,

    I tried to post yesterday to congratulate you on your anniversary and tell you how much I love the Netherlands (my sister lives there) and how much I love your ideas. Let's see what happens today with the CAPTCHA! Have a great new married year! xxx

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    1. Thanks! No longer newlyweds ;-) and 2014 started well: neither of us has lost our ring, though we're still getting used to wearing them and one or both of us continually forgets to put the ring on when we leave the house. That's about all the drama we have going on right now

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  3. Holland is my second home,have friends who live in a small country town + my father is buried there.As you say the Dutch are so polite not pushy in anyway.Every where is clean and fresh looking (noticed how dirty UK is after my visits urrgh) Did you take a bike ride?

    Thinking of giving HB Mr C's 4 tips for a happy marriage ;)
    Your photos caught the atmosphere of Holland,am looking forward to part 2.

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    1. Judith, I had no idea you have friends and relatives in Holland!
      We didn't take a bike ride - too cold but we did take the obligatory boat tour in Amsterdam :-)

      It was so beautiful I long to go back!

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  4. Me C is indeed a wise man! What a lovely trip you had. Love all the pictures esp the woolen factory. I visited the Netherlands several years ago and was quite taken with it. A sane country with sane people! Looking forward to the rest of this story!

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    1. Sanda, from the comments I see there are lots of Holland fans among my readers :-)
      Yes the textile factory was amazing: incredebly well preserved, all of the original equipment on display was still functioning and we saw demonstrations of blankets being woven on one of the original machines.

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  5. Where are all the people?
    You have taken very beautiful pictures and I actually like not seeing people.
    One of our neighbors here is a Dutchman, and he is very polite and helpful.
    For many years, he has helped us in our hay show. One year, he even brought along his own father, who only spoke Dutch, but we managed to communicate quite well.
    I could imagine visiting Netherlands myself, the flight over is not too long.
    Please keep up the tradition of the honeymoon trips!!

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    1. Part of what made this trip so memorable was the ability to experience an authentic Dutch town. Tilburg is a very calm town, not many people walking around in the streets. Which is very pleasant. I was also impressed with the manner in which they focus on family life. Mos of the stores are closed by 17.00 or 18.00. Very, very few stay open past that time! On Sunday Tilburg is a ghost town ;-) only three cafés were open in the city centre.
      Amsterdam is a completely different story - highly touristic and globalized.

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  6. Hi Ana!
    you can imagine how much I enjoy the photos you brought back from your "new" honey moon: these are the kind of "whereabouts"-impressions, the local view, which interest me far more than the shots you find everywhere in the travel guide books and blogs online.

    At the first glance I mistook the Walk of Fame for sheep-prints (their hooves) - because they textiels made the town famous. hihi.

    How did you like the protestant "style" of the cities overall? Compared to Austria, the Dutch cities are quite "factual" (I hope this the right word) - the opposite of exuberant.

    Having seen this posting I hope for future honey moons to come :-)

    Have a nice weekend!
    Paula

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    1. Paula, as you know the architecture and the overall culture of Vienna is familiar to me and in many ways close to me because Slovenia and our cultural heritage is interspersed with heavy influences from Germanic speaking regions going back into the middle ages. I love the exuberance and opulence of Vienna, it's cultural richness and a feast for the senses Vienna provides.
      On the other hand Netherlands and its inhabitants surprised me with their unique perspective of communal responsibility. While the uniformity of architecture and the subdued quality even modesty or plainness may be seen as bland, constricted and totalitarian I've found it quite the opposite. They value personal freedom and equality of everyone.

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  7. I'm so glad you and Mr. C had a much deserved vacation together. It looks like you had a wonderful time. You're a very good photographer :). I've not been online much. Annie and my various volunteer activities are keeping me busy. I did put a couple new photos of Annie up on twitter if you get a chance to take a peek. She is four months old now. Also, everything worked out with the family saga. I'll write an email when I have a chance. I wished you lived closer because we're hosting a jazz vocal event in a few weeks with our two professional singers from choir and their pianist. It would be so much fun if you and Mr. C could come! My copy of the John Paul Gaultier dress came out pretty well -- I'm wearing it to the party. It's kind of hard to sew with Miss Annie around :). xoxo

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    1. Susan, I'm so happy you and Annie are enjoying various activities out and about! Keep inviting me and I'll put San Francisco on the list for one of our future honeymoon locations ;-) if only plane tickets were more reasonably priced :-(

      I hope you post photos of your outfit on -line, in the mean time, I'm logging into my Twitter account to see the adorable Miss Annie!
      xoxo Ana

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