Local Heart, Global Soul

February 21, 2019

Swans Riding On Ducks?

It might be my imagination running riot but when I photograph ducks I also see swans. They are tiny and sit on their tails. Tell me that you see them too?… The first ones may be hiding…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

see?..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 28, 2015

Swans Everywhere in De Zwaan…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Firstly my apologies to my early bird readers who only got a “part” post with no photographs yesterday, it seems that an earlier version of my post got saved instead of the final version.

A special “Thank You” to fellow blogger and regular reader Kiwiskan for letting me know so that I could fix it 🙂

Now I have to offer apologies to the same reader for this post, it seems that food photographs of luscious deserts and the like can be rather torturous at this reader’s breakfast time.

Since Kiwiskan is in New Zealand I’ve advised her to get even by posting photographs on her blog of all the yummies from home that I can’t get in the Netherlands.

Then we would be square and equally tortured.

It was late afternoon on a Friday last summer when Himself delivered Little Mr and three other little boys to a camp site in Belgium.Not being allowed to leave the country whilst on medical leave, I was dropped off at the last Dutch village before the border, which happened to be Borkel en Schaft.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The camp site was only ten kilometres over the border so Himself dropped them off as quickly as possible and arranged to come back and meet me for dinner.

Kiwi Daughter was away having a sleep-over at a friends’ place so with Little Mr deposited at the camp site we didn’t have to rush back to The Hague.

After checking out the architecture and history of the local church, I saw a promising looking café / restaurant called “de Zwaan” (the swan).

At first I thought they must be closing because there wasn’t a soul at the tables out the front, but I went inside to ask and then found out that the reason none of the patrons were out the front, was because they were all in a wonderful garden out the back.

Filled with sculptures and shade trees and flowers,  I sat down and had a cup of tea whilst I waited for Himself to arrive. He duly arrived and we ordered…  the evening was warm and the setting was lovely, the meal was nice and we ate as the sun set.

There was one burst of sunlight through the clouds that I attempted to capture, a different camera setting would probably have given a better result but I liked the photo anyway. It was dusk as we left for the journey home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

Restaurant “de Zwaan”
Mgr. Kuijpersplein 18
5556 VS Valkenswaard

July 15, 2013

The Details Around Us Deserve To Be Seen…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are almost ready to leave Veere in Zeeland, The Netherlands.

Earlier in the day I took photographs of a beautiful and obviously very old building that stands next to the Stadhuis on Marktstraat (Market Street).

Often in medieval times there would be an important building connected to trade close to the Stadhuis, maybe of the guild of the town’s major industry, maybe a weighing house, or the medieval equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce.

From the size and style of this building I have a  strong suspicion it has more connection to a commercial purpose than a domestic one, but what that commercial purpose may have been isn’t as clear as it often is from stone marker decorations because stone marker in this instance depicts a swan.

I like everything about this building, even the side wall showing the small bricks that were in standard use in medieval times.

There are two window panes present in these windows, on the inner side, an old one of leaded glass, and on the outside a large pane to protect the inner one and provide a rudimentary sort of double glazing. Someone has inserted a wooden panel between the two, painted with the image of a girl in local costume, so that it looks like she’s inside the building looking out.

The closest view of her is from the top of the steps, but the window shutters and lack of handrail make for tricky photography, especially an accident  prone and less mobile  Kiwidutch who’s happy to err well on the side of caution. I hope to find out from our friend who lives in Veere if he knows more about this building and if so, will report back at a later date.

There is also one other very large and  important building in the town, but to be honest it was out of range of my walking ability at the moment so when we return to Veere in the future I will explore that one properly.

I also have to confess that although I took a quick photo of this building the first time we visited, it was so cold in the strong wind that I didn’t linger and never noticed the girl in the window, and even on the fabulously sunny day of the second visit I was amazed at how few people really looked hard at the building or appeared to notice this girl in the window as they walked by.

It’s my personal philosophy that the details around us deserve to be seen,  (which will hardly come as a surprise if you have been reading this blog for any length of time!)  But then again ….maybe I’m a little weird in taking such delight in a heap of bricks.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 11, 2011

Taking a Walk Around the Castle Path…

Filed under: GERMANY,Landmarks,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post from my retro weekend tour of Kleve in Germany a few years ago.

We want to explore the Castle so walk the smaller side streets, making our way up the hill and come out on a small open area near the top.

The Castle stands imposingly to our right, and there is a path that leads all around it.

There is a real mixture of building styles here… that is definiatly in the “top town” also, so this doesn’t have a real historical feel… but since I read on Wikipedia that some 90% of buildings suffered damage in World War Two, it at least accounts for the multiple  styles of the local architecture.

It might not be too clear from my photograph, but one of the windows at the bottom of the tower was at eye level, so I took this photo to show just how thick the walls are… the wall continues on the outside, beyond the window sill that I am leaning on, and also continues deep into the room as well (the white bit of the photo on the right)

The Schwanenburg (Swan Castle), where the dukes of Cleves resided, was founded on a steep hill. It is located at the northern terminus of the Kermisdahl where it joins with the Spoykanal, which was previously an important transportation link to the Rhine.

The old castle has a massive tower, the Schwanenturm 55 m (180 feet) high, that is associated in legend with the Knight of the Swan, immortalized in Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We weren’t sure if this was a fire escape or a short-cut, but this is one very steep staircase that clings to the hills cliff face.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 10, 2011

Swanning Around in the Main Shopping Street…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here are more photographs from my archive files, this time taking you on a retro weekend tour that Himself and I made to the town of Kleve in Germany.

The Castle that dominates the town of Kleve is called  “The Schwanenburg” (Swan Castle) so it comes as little surprise that the emblum of the town is a Swan.

Ingeniously someone made a series of these Swan seats that are in the gently sloping main street, dotted all around, and in arcades etc…

…all have been decorated by local clubs, schools and businesses.

I could have photographed a heap more of them but didn’t want to disturb the people sitting on them…

Here are some that were not occupied when we passed by…

The Swan emblum extended to some windows too, this is the Tourist Information office… (which unfortunately had already closed for the day when we got there).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 8, 2011

Kleve from Top to Bottom…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The town of Kleve is divided into what is called the ” top town” and the “bottom town” We  jokingly wondered if you were to meant to start life at the bottom and work your way up during life ?

(No, I read on the Wiki website that the city grew in medieval times from four seperate  parts, stating with the castle, and that  is why there  are “top”and “bottom” town labels now.)

The name Kleve probably derives from the German word “Kliff” (Cliff), referring to the promontory upon which the Schwanenburg was constructed. However, the city’s coat of arms displays three  “Klee” (clovers) which is comparable to the pronunciation of Kleve in the Low Rhenish dialect and in Dutch, “Kleef“.

This part of Germany has been throughout various centuries, part of the Netherlands, and consequently the local dialect is derived more from Dutch than German.

Interestingly, Kleve was spelled with a “C” throughout its history until spelling reforms introduced in the 1930s required that the name be spelled with a “K”.

As of 2008, the CDU announced ambitions to return the name to its original spelling.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kleve’s most famous native is Anne of Cleves (1515-1557), daughter of John III, Duke of Cleves and (briefly) wife of Henry VIII of England.

The local line of the Dukedom became extinct in the male line in 1609, leading to a succession crisis in the duchies. After the Thirty Years War, in 1648, the succession dispute was finally resolved with Cleves passing to the elector of Brandenburg, thus becoming an exclave of the territory of Prussia.

During the Thirty Years War Kleve was under the control of the Dutch Republic, which in 1647 had given Johann Moritz von Nassau-Siegen administrative control over the city. He approved a renovation of the Schwanenburg in the baroque style and commissioned the construction of extensive gardens that greatly influenced European landscape design of the 17th century.

Significant amounts of his original plan for Kleve were put into effect and have been maintained to the present, a particularly well-loved example of which is the Forstgarten.

The mineral waters of Kleve and the wooded parkland surrounding it made it a fashionable spa in the 19th century. At this time, Kleve was named “Bad Cleve” (Baths of Cleves).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 7, 2011

High (and Dry) Drama in the Town Square…

Filed under: ART,GERMANY,Landmarks,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kleve is a a large town that enjoys the feel of a small one, you find yourself in the city centre sooner than you expected looking at typical small cobbled streets that slope up and down the hill.

That however is where the medieval feel of the town ends because up to 90% of Kleve was flattened during bombing in the Second World War, and although some of the most major buildings were restored to their former glory after the war, most of the town was rebuilt new.

Very close by is an imposing castle, but more on that later.

We parked the car and set out to explore on foot, it’s March and freezing cold but it’s Saturday afternoon and the shoppers are out in force whilst the shops are still open.

We quickly find a focal point in town, a large fountain, presently in it’s Winter dry state but which sports one of the most captivating sculptures I have ever seen.

I’ve tried to find out if there is a story behind the fountain scene, amazingly there is incredibly little information on it at all.

The Scene is one that would do an Opera proud, … a giant swan attacks and  seizes a man, tearing at his clothes, two children desperately try and assist him as he stretches out his arms towards his pleading wife (come on woman, enough of the beseeching,  hurry,  get a fry pan and start waving it around to get the swan off! scream at the bird, DO something! )

There are several water points near the base of the swans feet, so it’s clear that when the fountain is running that the water would splash off the swan and onto the back of the man, reinforcing the dramatic effect.

There is energy here, passion, excitement, action, emotion,  drama… fabulous!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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