Random Ramblings : Dear Tourist, please unlock your Love…

Put your love on the wall ( East Side Gallery , Berlin 2019)

Who among you is enamored ( or had been, never was, or has future plans ) by these love -locks mania?

Is it only me or others also find it fascinating (or rather intriguing) to ask why people wants to put love locks on bridges, walls railings, fences, or to other odd places ? In the first place, padlocks belongs to doors and gates and not on bridges!

I was inspired to write this post because some time ago, I heard my Colleague sharing her story about her daughter who has a boyfriend. On her birthday she asked her mother for a gift, a very special gift— a “Liebeschlosser” in Deutsch or personalized engraved love lock ! With the name of the couple of course.Where they are going to hang it I didn’t bother to ask anymore!

See, honestly, it’s hard not to ignore them , they are almost everywhere! Crossing the bridge full of padlocks will definitely redirect your focus. I wanted to look at the city view but I can’t even have a better view because the bridge is so full of tourists–everybody ogling around the padlocks!

Just look at all those heart-shaped little piece of metal. I’ve seen that the new fad comes even with a photo! Look closely and you will realize that it becomes a human nature. People from different origin are doing it.Wanting to do it, and maybe already bought a padlock to put it somewhere.

They are unbelievably insane in numbers! All of these locks with inscriptions, in different colors, size and design composed a debatable grafitti--an undeniably vandalism of natural scenic spots. All for the sake of going through the “fad”or ” tourist trap”, “photo point” or whatever you call it. The effect can already be seen–some key states already started the padlock ban !

But what really drives people ( or couples) to “bridged” and locked their love? perhaps a travel culture, or just a plain tourist trap dilemma? Netherlands has another fad–locking their bikes along the canal bridges, and that’s another story.

Bridges full enough along the canals in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From the place where I grew up, we never have this kind of love lock bridges, ( or not that I know of, or have seen!) nor that I’ve seen something like this in Kuwait either. First, padlocks are not cheap and rivers are already contaminated and adding keys will definitely pose another environmental problem. Just imagine the amount of padlocks that were removed from Paris that ‘s almost over a million padlocks that weights more than 45 tonnes! That was a sensational issue.

It’s not for sure a European thing because I’ve noticed that in many different parts of the world, there are definitely magnets for romantics to put a chain of their love ! It’s crazy just seeing the amount of padlocks and how multi-lingual the inscriptions, it’s really international! Even here in my little town of Ingolstadt, where Audi’s and BMW’s parades the streets, but also, our bridges are getting “heavy”and “heavier” because people are also putting more and more their love on chains! All for the sake of “Liebe“.

A love lock chained in the bridge in Salzsach river in Salzburg in Austria

I noticed that this thing became a thing in almost big cities. Started in Paris and now, almost big cities have their own bridge of love locks attraction. People picked-up the habit of buying locks, engraving their names, and chaining their hearts on these metals hooked up in bridges, throw the keys and then left. What is astonishing is that so many shops sells these stuff! If there were no padlocks, of course this “business” will not thrived as well. I noticed that many locks are written with different languages so people from different places really contribute to this commotion of locks in bridges.

How to kill time with a toddler : Bring them to a bridge full of padlocks and let them read all the names, better let them count the lovelocks.

Big balls of Love from Bavaria
Love padlocks invade the world!

Have you ever tried putting your love in chains?

If given the chance, would you ever put a padlock for your love on a bridge?

Landgoed Singraven : Sun is warm, grass is Green.

The world is better when it is Green.

We found another perfect green paradise and as always, Nature never fails to amaze me. I am a lover of beautiful buildings & modern structures, but nothing compares to a visit to nature. The allure of the sound of the gentle waters slushing from a flowing river, the crisp green plants, the warm and bright sun that touches our cheeks with the gentle breeze.

Its all priceless.

 Do you know that your mood changes the moment you are exposed to green outdoors? It’s a natural  booster.

Or haven’t you realized  that strolling and walking outside can even increase your creativity?

I grew up playing outdoors a lot. My childhood memories are full of  playing & running in the rice fields, catching spiders and spending so much time as if there’s no tomorrow.It was so much fun compared to the modern games of iPad now. Now that I am a mother, I am so concerned about this especially with a wandering, active, feisty toddler who wants to be out, all the time! Studies show that playing in the dirt (soil) outdoors helps kids stay healthy. Bacteria, viruses and other gross things in the soil actually help the immune system, and brain develop. Playing the dirt can also improve a child’s mood and reduce anxiety and stress. There is really a great insight why spending outdoors in green settings can do so much to our overall being. This is also one of the reasons why Dutch kids have a very active & happy childhood. They are so blessed with natural greens.

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The wandering Toddler

We’re so glad that we stumbled into this hidden Green Oasis and a gem tucked in the woods. It”s  a secluded place of imaginary fairies, lotus, and serene river Dinkel tucked away from the busyness of the city life. There we heard only the sound of Nature. Nothing else. Everything is green. Everything is fresh. Even the sun has a special rays. It is gentle. The breeze is cool. We felt instantly at home.

Langoed Singraven estate is beautifully situated along the Dinkel near the village of Denekamp. In here are many special monumental buildings, including the state house Singraven, the rear coach house and the ancient water mill with three wheels. Singraven offers a versatile landscape with woods, alleys, fields, meadows, marshes, and the ever-present Dinkel. If you visit Holland, don’t miss to see this place. It is worth your time.

This place has  fascinating cultural history, soothing and interesting nature, active leisure activities such as cycling or walking and much more. My daughter just simply loved lounging on the greenest grass that we have ever seen! She climbs everywhere and licked the grass, pinch it, and tasted it. I cannot blame her, the place is like an oasis to us. We haven’t had these amazing greens in Kuwait, so we really indulge.

 

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Even the water in the river celebrates nature. A reflection of quiet green bliss.

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The Langoed Singraven  ( Singraven means Large Canal )

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Of Mid Summer Night’s Dream ,with clear River Dinkel on the side.

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Dutch Watermills (Watermolen)

Now one of the fascinating things about Netherlands is their Watermolen (or WaterMills).The Singraven watermills were first mentioned in 1448 and inspired famous 17th century painters like Jacob Ruysdael and Meindert Hobbema.

 This watermill is unique because of its three mill wheels: one oil mill (inactive), a flour mill and a saw mill; both of which are fully functional and still in use. Current buildings date from around 1880. So much beauty &  history on this place.

Singraven has a manor which is sometimes open to the public and a watermill. The watermill has three functions: oil-mill, flour-mill and a sawmill.  Today the oil-mill is a restaurant but the other two are still functioning with the of volunteers.

The first house of Singraven dates back to 1415 but it was demolished and replaced by a new house in 1661. Several different Counts and families lived in the house. Almost all of them made improvements to the house. The last owner is  Willem Frederik Jan Laan donated the estate to a foundation.

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The River Dinkel that flows through Singraven

There so much activity that this place can offer. Its perfect for families with little children who wants to explore and roam.The vast area is perfect for Hiking, cycling, walking, strolling, or just enjoying a quiet meditation. The place has a park, a range of restaurants , Dinkel shop, Watermills, Carriage Houses that can house a function, Dinner or Luncheon meetings. You can even marry in this lovely place. This could be a perfect setting for a romantic garden wedding.This is also the ideal place to learn more about Nature. Estate Singraven participates in the project “Education on Location”, organized by the Foundation Museums in Dinkelland. Other participating institutions and museums are: Huize Keizer, Natura Docet, Mill Foundation Lattrop-Tilligte the Open Air Museum Ootmarsum and Cosmos Observatory. If you want to learn mohre about this place, you can check their website (Dutch ) Here.

Do you enjoy green landscape of Nature like this? What do you appreciate about country living?

Hope you have a chance to visit a green place just like this. Here’s to #theworldneedsmoregreens!

 

A Dutch Farmhouse {Boerderij}

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A Dutch Humble Farmhouse : Red Doors, Black Roof & Brick walls (2015) in Full color.

Local Sightings – A Striking Dutch Farmhouse

F A R M   O F   T H E   H E A D -B O D Y  T Y P E

 On exploring the countryside of Holland, I found this beautiful farm which turns out to be one of the pride of this place.This farm house belong to the estate of  Almelo. The farm  is designed &commissioned by the Count of Rechteren Limpurg in around 1939 by Architect Jan Jans, an architect with his designs made ​​much use of traditional Twente elements. The farm is north of the Gravenallee outside the moat (canal ) around the castle but in the sight of it, with the back towards the castle. On the back is the entrance to the yard, a wooden fence between pillars Bentheim sandstone. This head-body type is constructed of red brick under saddle roofs with black glazed Dutch tiles. The gables are shot, the right windows closed lower stretch are covered with shutters .  The façade  of the house is articulated by two Negenruits ( Nine small windows ) sliding windows on the ground floor and two zesruits ( 2 six small windows ) windows in the gable. Between them is a sandstone made ​​with the coat of arms of Almelo.

 

5 Free Things to do in Amsterdam

You want to explore Amsterdam but don’t want to smash your budget ?

I know touring Amsterdam can really be expensive . There is so much fun things to do and so much to see . But I wanna share with you how we survived it .  Here’s my Top 7  Free Things to do in Amsterdam that would definitely let you have a taste of its culture , and learn why this charming Dutch metropolis is one of top Europe’s travel hub. I highly recommend these things even if you have young kids travelling with you . It’s all about location . You don’t need to stress out yourself , Amsterdam is  beautiful  &  diversity is all over the city & deserves to be part of your Budget-friendly destinations  in Europe .

1. Go to the Bloemenmarkt

Holland is famous for its Tulips and other beautiful blooms , so why not indulge yourself into amazing array of flowers displayed in Bloemenmarkt. There’s no charge to wander past the stalls of the city’s wonderful floating flower market , the Bloemenmarkt (daily opens at  9am–5pm, some stalls close on Sunday), which extends along the southern bank of the Singel. Popular with locals and tourists alike , the market is one of the main suppliers of flowers to central Amsterdam, but its blooms and bulbs now share stall space with souvenir clogs, garden gnomes, Delftware and similar souvenir keepsakes .

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Tulips blooms in Bloemenmarkt

 

2. Discover Begijnhof

Ah,This one is my favorite . If you’ve been into the busy streets of Amsterdam that is packed with tourists then why not have a Breather, right within the city . Go to Begijnhof . Its  little gateway on the north side of the Spui leads into this hidden gem, where a huddle of immaculately maintained old houses looks onto a central green. This is one of the city centre’s most beguiling sights, and totally free. It was founded in the fourteenth century as a home for the beguines – members of a Catholic sisterhood living as nuns, but without vows and with the right of return to the secular world.

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One fine afternoon in Begijnhof

3. Listen to lunchtime concerts at the Concertgebouw

There are regular free lunchtime concerts at this impressive Arts venue, home of the famed – and much recorded – Koninklijk (Royal) Concertgebouw Orchestra. It has become renowned among musicians and concertgoers 
for its marvelous acoustics, and after a facelift and the replacement of its crumbling foundations in the early 1990s it is looking and sounding better than ever.

4. Walk or take a Nap in Vondelpark

This is a famous park in Amsterdam and if you want some peace & quiet ,then find yourself a space near the lagoon in Vondelpark then just admire this beautiful place.You can feed the ducks ,people watch , or just ride your bike along its bike paths.There are many artwork and sculpture displayed in here that might catch your attention .Amsterdam is short of green spaces, which makes the leafy expanses of the Vondelpark, the city centre’s main park, one of its best attractions. The park possesses a wide variety of local and imported plants, an excellent rose garden, and a network of ponds and narrow waterways that are home to many sorts of wildfowl. There are other animals too: cows, sheep, hundreds of squirrels, plus a large colony of bright-green (and very noisy) parakeets. We had a lunch picnic here and my daughter enjoyed it .

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Lush greens in Vondelpark

5. Take a stroll along the Red Light District 

With a kid tagging along with us , I feel squemish of bringing along my toddler  in here . I mean this place is known for scantily- clad women displayed in red framed windows! Most parents will raise their eyebrows for exposing your child to sights like that. But when I observed how quiet and safe the place is , i didn’t see any reason to miss this area . If you go here in the morning , you can see packs of men, young and old , couples holding hands and pointing in shock of it all, giggling groups of women ,teenagers , and busloads of Japanese tourists toting cameras and making selfies. This is proof enough that De Wallen deserves a visit, if not a little look in.  But photography of the women are strictly prohibited ,so be careful .

It’s your choice ,you need to experience passing by the RLD and  then probably you will understand what i felt when i see this place.

6. See Amsterdam’s finest church

If you are an Architecture buff and interested in religious building such as old churches, then you wouldn’t wanna miss the finest churches in Amsterdam, all can be reached by foot .

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Zuiderkerk as seen from Prinsengracht

The Westerkerk, is the biggest church in Amsterdam  just along Prinsengracht,  The church still dominates the district, its 85-metre tower – without question Amsterdam’s finest – soaring graciously above its surroundings. This church became the symbol of this city . The church was designed by Hendrick de Keyser and completed in 1631 as part of the general enlargement of the city, but whereas the exterior is all studied elegance, the interior is bare and plain.Zuiderkerk is the first Protestant church in the city . During  summer season, its tower may be climbed offering the nice view on canals and old houses of the area.

7 .  Watch people climb the I Amsterdam Letters in Museumplein 

Finally , You are in Amsterdam so what’s the best way to make memories of it than to take a selfie & watch people clambered on top of the letters . Discover why people of all ages climb on top of it , or why  Tourists flocked in here each one of them  striking their signature poses . Museumplein is an amazing place  and totally crazy in Summer.

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People watching at Museumplein

Have you’ve been to Amsterdam ? How was your experience ? I would love to hear your comments from your trip .

Thank you for stopping by and reading !

 

Typically Dutch : Clogs

Last Christmas , my husband & I with our daughter are watching a Walt Disney ‘s animated cartoon movie. I forgot the title but it was all about children from all over the world trying to help Santa Claus in his chores . The children are dressed in their traditional costumes.One of them is Dutch . We recognized him eventually because He is wearing Clogs! He makes so much noise while walking . The other children tried to put anything under his clogs to lessen the noise  so Santa Claus will not be waken up. We were laughing out loud of how funny it is .

Clogs or locally known as Klompen are important part of Dutch cultural Heritage . This traditional footwear becomes a national identity of Dutch people . Clogs has been a popular protective  footwear for people who work the land , mostly farmers. Because of its durability and ability to withstand sharp & heavy objects and harsh concentrated chemicals. It was even certified by the European Union as Safety shoes with CE mark. The oldest wooden clogs were found in The Netherlands  in Nieuwendijk . It was believed to be dated since 1230 and is made of Alder wood . In the old days , it takes a skilled worker to carve &  make an identical pair of clogs . Nowadays , clogs which become a popular tourist souvenir and are machine made.

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While in Holland , we were lucky to visit a community workshop in Enter in Twente in Eastern Netherlands , about making wooden clogs . It has a charming Museum , named Klompenmuseum Sköpke  and a shop gallery of the Artisan Workers who made these beautifully hand-made Clogs. Most of the clogs were made out of Willow and Poplar trees.

It is quite an experience to see a local Artisan demonstrates how to make clogs out of willow clumps. In so many shops in Amsterdam you can see hundreds of displayed Clogs but seeing the  manual way of carving it makes you appreciate it even more. One pair of clogs is worth  hours of hardwork & genuine skill. We ordered for a size of my daughter who was 1 year old that time . Its amazing how they carefully carved it with perfection to suit her tiny feet.

 

They can make personalized designs as you wanted just like the way they did to my daughter’s clogs. She loves to walk with it , play with it , even eat it.

Travel Tip !

If you visit The Netherlands ,make it as part of your trip to visit Traditional clog making villages and Tours  such as the one in Zaanse Schans .You can bring home a souvenir clogs with design of your choice or even buy a custom-made for yourself. Knowledge about your travels are the best souvenir.

Thank you for reading!