Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday, Windmills & Queen's Day

LOUD music... it's Queen's Day here, kind of a combination of Mardi Gras, New Year's Eve, Halloween and the 4th of July! Everybody dresses a little crazy, and drinks a LOT, and is generally festive... there is live music all over the place and lots of folks cruise the canals partying, fun day! Here I am trying to stay out of the wind. decided to do my painting in just 3 colors, 2 blues and a white, to keep the mess down. Ros & I painted on the patio of the snack bar at Kinderdijk, a Windmill Historical Site that is a great secret in this country. We saw it in a guidebook, but our hotel had never heard of it, and neither did anyone else we asked till we got within 1/2 hour of it. HOWEVER we drove all over the place trying to get there, it took us about 3 hours - yes, you can probably drive from one end of this country to the other in TWO hours, but we went around in many circles... all signs were in Dutch. The first person to recognise the park's name was a nice policeman, who asked if we needed the directions in English, then proceeded to give them to us in Dutch. When we asked HOW LONG till we get there, he just smiled and indicated that we should just ENJOY the ride (we had been riding for 2 1/2 hours already, and had RUN OUT of enjoyment... Same deal going home, well, not as long (Paula hearitly disagrees that we were out of control on the way home - she was the navigator going home, and a good one) but we DID do the 'ring'around Rotterdam TWICE - yes, very nice bridges, and architecture, but ONCE should have been enough! So... no paintings from Paula or Sandy - it was like a hurricane at the windmill site - I guess that's why it''s a good place for them!

Below is a view from the inside of a windmill... Paula & I took the tour, they are amazingly constructed - very sturdy, almost 300 years old and held a busload of French tourists and us... there were quite a few rooms and a quaint little kitchen/dining room. STEEP stairs!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I hope this comes out ok, we are at an internet cafe and having a heck of a time getting things uploaded (OK, it's all in Dutch on the computer!). This is a field we found after much searching. We did paint here, but they were in the process of de-heading these flowers to make bulbs. All the tulip fields are gone by!!! We were 3 weeks too late, due to an early Spring and current heat wave!!!!! How could we have known? But we're painting away anyway, and now that I've alienated the clerk at this internet cafe maybe we'll have to find another to post our paintings.... tomorrow!!! Thanks for checking in... it's been an adventure, including having to run out in our pj's last night at 1:30 because of a fire alarm - just smoke from the bar next door, but still! :)

Tomorrow we're going to Keukenhof, a gorgeous botanical garden in Lisse, should be an adventure, and gorgeous.a.. Tulips to come!!! (Paula says Keukenhoff can't possibly compare to our trip to IKEA and the 2 hour trip to the bus station!)

Friday, April 27, 2007

We're HERE!

It's the "Lucy & Ethel Paint Holland"show! Slow start, and we got no (that's right, NO) painting done yesterday. Internet cafe's may be all over the place in Amsterdam, but here in little Haarlem, not so much! I'll try to find one tonight and tomorrow to upload some photos. We had a safe, smooth, quick (although this is not something I would have said athour #5 on the plane, with two hours to go... curled into a vertical fetal position) flight, nice taxi ride and smooth check in at an inexpensive, but clean and charming hotel.
We didn't plan too well and arrived at 8 a.m., but couldn't check in till 3 p.m. Snafau about the car, too, with a day's delay in getting it...Then Paula and I managed to get absolutely, completely LOST in an Industrial Park area, and walked in almost 90 degree heat for 2 hours, with no water, bathroom, etc... FINALLY saw an IKEA of all places and got refreshed, then found a bus & friendly, semi-english-speaking bus driver to get us back.
PAINTING: Today we took the car to Lisse (it's a 15 minute ride and you should have seen the difficulty in getting directions). The tulips, dear friends, are DEAD. There's been this heat wave (I did mention the heat) and they're all blown. Here's where we all got a little cranky, especially me, who was driving. After we disccovered this someone said they didn't want to paint the windmills tomorrow, and like an angry Mom, I told them I wasn't leaving Holland without painting the WINDMILLS. Right after this we found a farm that still had a couple of fields. We painted, and ate dinner in Lisse, and now are all calm and happy. Not snappy, anymore! Still not leaving without painting the windmills though....