Monday, April 28, 2014

Sand Castles and Dandelions

Zandsculpturen Festijn

Sand sculptures? Of historical events? In the middle of Holland?
I was skeptical but that was what Blanka and Rebecca wanted to do, 
so sure lets go. It was a fun drive through beautiful rural country 
side and lovely little villages.
Once inside, I was really surprised at how cool these sculptures were. Not nearly as well known or as large as Keukenhof, Zandsculpturen Festijn was never the less a delight. Fun for the kids, educational, whimsical, and exceptional quality. I will let the photos tell the story.

This year's theme was Holland's Golden Age - the 15th and 16th centuries.
Great events, famous people, what has made Holland what it is today.
Politics, military battles, the arts, the crafts, science, exploration are all represented.

This should give you an idea of the scale of the sculpture and introduce you again
to our Dutch family, Wilmar, Rebecca, Sanne-Joy and Lois.
In the 15th and 16th centuries the Netherlands had far reaching influence
throughout the world with the largest merchant fleet in Europe.

All the sculptures are 100% sand 

and are shaped by hand. The scale

and detail are impressive as is the quality.

Fish mongers, flower growers, watch makers and painters were all represented. Oh yes, don't forget the cheese guild.

And the setting was in keeping with the theme, but also fun for the kids. What little girl doesn't dream about being a princes in a castle.

In addition to the outer walls being castle like, the overhead rail system was just the thing to keep the kids and adults interested. To go around on the overhead rails you had to paddle with your feet, just like in a paddle boat. A great birds-eye view of all the sculptures.
The final part of the exhibit was a test to see how many old Dutch children's songs you could identify based on sand sculptures. I (Bob) was of no help at all at guessing the songs but the rest of our tribe were hard at work filing out the form provided naming all the songs and bursting into song.

Lunch at de Espeterhoeve, a nursery/florist shop with a cozy little cafe attached.

Off the beaten path
Not exactly the fastest road back to our home, but certainly enjoyable. We were definitely not in Arizona!                                                                    First off we came upon a couple road signs that looked like they came from the Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. Not sure if their strange shapes help travelers navigate the round about, but they are certainly a fun distraction. I guess the Dutch had a lot of tax revenue left over and needed to spend it some how. Or maybe they train their lamp posts to grow in unusual shapes. I can't image the Arizona highway system installing these types of road signs.
After the magical road sign we ended up on a dirt farm road that was also magical.

Large expanses of lush farm land newly sewn between rows of stately trees.

A week or so ago this field was bright yellow, now it is white like snow!
Yes, dandelions, but what is funny is that they are called paardebloemen
in Dutch which translated means "horse flowers".
I suppose the name is more than appropriate.

Many of the homes and farm buildings in Holland still use thatch as shown on this home.

Kids with an abundance of energy.

As soon as we arrived home Sanne-Joy and Lois dragged me to the local playground.

And with this display of energy we will call it a day!