Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Madurodam, Den Haag

It's billed as the smallest town in the Netherlands, everything exactly 25 times smaller than actual size. It's beyond cool. (My 60s are showing.) Ben was working again, as professional people tend to do on work days. Ruth graciously packed us into her car and drove us (about 45 minutes) to this wonderful site. They gave us a slick, colorful booklet that names the buildings, so I'll try to identify what you're seeing. Don't give me too much credit for a wonderful memory I don't have.

Here come the photos of Madurodam. I keep looking at the spelling, because I continue to give it an additional sylable when thinking or speeking of it, calling it Maduradderdam in my head. I'll figure some of this out eventually, won't I? Then we'll know it's time to ship me home, I guess.

As a child even I had heard the legend of the little boy who saved Holland by sticking his finger in the leaky dike. Here at Madurodam they have him immortalized.

Here's the world's best (or at least happiest) Grandpa. Ruth almost got to push the stroller once, and I actually did for awhile. Of course, when I got it, it was empty...

Um... well, this is one of the cathedrals, and is apparently so well known they didn't feel it necessary to include in the pamphlet. Bummer. Maybe Ben or Ruth knows where it is, because I'd love to get there is person--the big one, I mean.

Again, I suppose I didn't photograph the things in the booklet, but I loved the Roman architecture on the building in the back--whatever the building is.

Chinese architecture was shown in the columns on this building. It's not in the book either. I'm batting a thousand. I'm not going back to pick new photos. That's final.

I've seen many of these little Dutch buildings. They have a charm I've never seen in America, as much as I love my own country. Seeing things like the old architecture make me feel like Toto in the Wizard of Oz, being taken along for a ride and having somebody tell you that you're not in Kansas anymore.

Castle. I was so sure my favorite buildings would be everybody's favorites, and (therefore) in the guild book. Nope. I took photos of the churches and castles. I love the churches and castles. I'll be lucky if I can find anyone to ID them for me so I can go find these places and maybe get inside some of them before we leave. They're so amazing in scale, I can just barely imagine them full sized.

This castle even has its own moat. I'm not sure I'd need a moat. Not being too fond of mosquitoes, I think I'd rather have a moat of flowers. Then if things were really hairy with invaders, I'd have big guys with crossbows hidden in the towers. I didn't live with a rocket scientist for nothing. I'll be willing to protect my castle in order to live in peace. Come in peace and be welcome!

I know Ashley has been here before, but I loved how free and open she was with her excitement. She loved the little carnival, and at one point had to be lifted out of the bushes and brought back onto the path. There are times when I have to remind myself she just turned 2 1/2. Her speech patterns are well advanced from that, and it's hard to remember, when she occasionally acts like a two year old, that she is one. Ruth and Ben are models of patience. It's no wonder the girls are so good and so very happy.

I want to comment right now that Big John is a wonderful grandpa. He's the biggest of us all, taller by far and long legged, but still insists on squeezing that body of his into the back seat with the two granddaughters' car seats. He looks so cute back there. I need to get a photo of that, but haven't yet. It's pretty funny, but the door can't be opened from the inside--child safety door and all. He was to sit quietly and wait for one of us to remember to let him out. He's shown me a side I never suspected he had. I'm so proud of him I could bust my buttons, if I had any.

We took the train around Madurodam, and Ruth was going to stay to guard the stroller and camera bag, but Kate decided at the last minute that if Mama wasn't going, she wasn't either. We waved goodbye to each other and Ashley, Grandpa and Grandma chugged off together for a tour of the park. I wonder if we could see Disneyland together when they go to California in October. That would make it doubly worth a trip to California.

Ruth took a photo or three of us in front of one of the miniature windmills. It was one of the many happy memories from such a beautifully happy day.

Then I returned the favor by capturing her smile and Ashley's, several times. Kate by then was more interested in examining her toes. I think she's discovered that everyone has them, and is busy making sure she doesn't leave hers behind anywhere.

I've been at this a long time. It's a good thing I didn't try to finish last night. We're going to (watch the spelling here, it's probably wrong) Elsenhove today. That's a goat farm, I think. I'll find out. Whoopee! Another day to play with Ruth and the darlings.


sherrie said...

You take such great pictures, and I can't wait until you post them in your slideshows. These miniatures are so well done. Besides the fact that the buildings are beautifully built, I love that there are live plants growing around them to add to the realism.

Moats could be nice with the addition of mosquito eating fish that are very small and would fit right in with the miniature theme (but they aren't as pretty as flowers).

Can't wait for your next post.


Sharon and Marvin said...

You are such a fun grandma and love the way you express yourself in words...great writer. Yes, Marv can totally relate to John's experience in the back seat and locked doors. Asesome pictures!