45 Photos - Oct 9, 2012
Photo: Out in the country on the way to Marken. The IJsselmeer is in the distance.Photo: Chill sheep of Marken.Photo: Soaking poplar to make wooden shoes. You can use willow, too. They're the best woods because they can hold a lot of water, which makes them pliable to work with.Photo: Finished wooden shoes. Apparently a million pairs a year are still being worn. They're great for people who work in wet areas as they are really waterproof and well insulated. Wide, flat soles also help you to not sink into mucky ground.Photo: Unfinished shoes.Photo: Machine that carves the interior of the shoes.Photo: Machine that carves the shoes. When it was done by hand, a pair would take several hours, and you had to apprentice for five years before you were considered a shoemaker.Photo: Cheesemaking demo. That's whey.Photo: Unfinished shoes from the shoemaking demos.Photo: The stages of shoemaking.Photo: The machine at work. The white thing in the middle is a resin mold that the machine follows when carving the wood. They come in all different sizes, of course.Photo: New shoe on the left, resin mold on the right.Photo: Elvis duck was a bit of a dick.Photo: Houses in Marken. Because of frequent flooding, some houses were built on stilts. You can tell that these were because the front door is on the second floor, and the first floor is brick - it was bricked in to make more living space later on.Photo: The other way to help avoid flooding was to build on higher ground, either natural or manmade, like this farm.Photo: Houses were almost all black or green. This is traditional, dating back to when this was just a poor fishing village, and they couldn't afford to repaint their houses often, which living in sea air requires. So they used local grasses, which were plentiful, to make a green paint, or used tar, which sealed the wood, which made houses black.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: We caught a ferry to go across the IJsselmeer to Volendam. The IJsselmeer is a freshwater lake - the largest in western Europe, but it is the result of a massive engineering project that turned a saltwater bay into an enclosed lake, and the freshwater outflow gradually changed the water. We were wondering what that did to the marine ecosystems.Photo: Photo: Photo: These are called ears. There's one on each side of many of the boats, and they're used to help moor boats safely.Photo: Photo: Volendam in the distance.Photo: Photo: Photo: Volendam is/was Catholic, so Mary guards the harbour... complete with metal spikes to keep off the pigeons and seagulls. :)Photo: Volendam, which is a fairly traditional fishing village. From the IJsselmeer the fishermen catch eels, which are eaten smoked. Since the Dutch aren't big fans of freshwater fish, the fishermen do their major fishing for cod and such in the North Sea.Photo: Photo: These gents were across from our table when we were having lunch. The guy's wife was off shopping for some time. We had the BEST fish 'n' chips for lunch.Photo: Walking tour of the old residential part of the city. All the front doors are different, since it was considered a sign of wealth if you could own your own house and buy your own door for it.Photo: Entering the "labyrinth". The houses are quite small and packed together in odd ways.Photo: You know it's a Catholic village because the steeple has a cross. Protestant churches are topped with roosters.Photo: Raised cemetery. Wouldn't want the dead floating away when it floods.Photo: Zaanse Schans, village of windmills. Those big ones along the water are for milling, like grinding grain and such.Photo: It was actually raining fairly hard when we got there.Photo: Small windmills like that one are pumps to help keep the reclaimed fields dry. Most of the Netherlands is below sea level, so it's a constant battle to keep the land they use for agriculture.Photo: Photo: Photo: Those three girls on the right were doing some dancing thing for an AIDS charity. Sherry saw them doing Gangnam Style at one point. Ahh, globalization...Photo: Photo: The canal had been mucked out fairly recently, as you can see from the mud piles and reeds and such on the left.