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

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

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happines comes in a box: A gift from Japan

A dear friend who recently returned from his travels from Japan brought me a very special gift from the Tokyo National Museum. A traditional Japanese hand towel also known as tenugui.

Tenugui has raw unhemmed edges and comes with a leaflet showing numerous wrapping and folding techniques to create book covers, bread baskets etc.

It can also be turned into a neat little handbag using the enclosed faux leather handle.

Needless to say, that was by far my favourite folding technique :-)

For now I'm enjoying trying out the various different folding and wrapping ideas but I'm thinking of using the tenugui and the handle to sew a permanent bag.