Friday, July 14, 2017

Royal Palace: Fit for a King

July 14, 2017 - Amsterdam -Toured the Royal Palace in Amsterdam and it's a building fit for a king with rich marble, brass and ivory and artwork that salutes Roman gods and goddesses, built in the 17th Century as the Town Hall of Amsterdam.

Aside from the spectacular artwork, the details about the Palace were rather fascinating.  

The Palace used to be the Town Hall and it dates to the 16th Century.

It was often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World because 13,659 wooden poles were driven into the soft ground to carry the weight of the building. 

In 1808 the town hall was turned into a palace for King Louis Bonaparte. 

Six chandeliers hang from the ceiling.  The blue ball with stars refers to the globe of Atlas. Curved hooks on the end once held large oil lamps. 

There were no paintings in the corners above Mars and Venus. The docent said it was because Rembrandt did paint two murals and the four mayors did not like them.

One painting was a hero with one eye and they didn't care for that so they took it down. The other painting was too dark and also removed.

Contracting for another painting did not happen because all the money for the Palace was spent on marble. 

Riding today in tribute to Cliff and Ann Hale

July 14, 2017 - Today I'm riding in tribute to:

As I wrap up this year's Amazing Ride for Alzheimer's, I'd like to thank all of those that contributed to the ride in honor of a loved one. 

Your memorials motivate me on the road and I'm honored by your support for both the ride as well as memory care programs at Cedar Community.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

VIDEO | The Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands

July 13, 2017 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - It was a day full of rain and Jewish history. The must-have ticket is to the Anne Frank House. 

It's amazing and sad all at the same time. Rooms where the Frank family, the van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer lived were tight quarters. The floors creaked, still, and that limited their daytime movement.

We climbed the stairs to the office and then the hiding space. Steep stairs. You had to duck your head and step up about six inches to climb behind the bookcase and through the secret passage.

The helpers had to shop for eight people in hiding; ration cards were purchased on the black market. 

Height markings for Anne and her sister Margo are visible on the wall along with film star photo collection and post cards. 

Rudy Vallee, Ray Milland, Ginger Rogers, Greta Garbo and a post card of chimps around the card table. 

The toilet is decorated with Delft blue. 

"Wouldn't it be horrible for a father to read these thoughts after she is gone," said one woman as she left the exhibit. 

Otto Frank was the only one to survive after their Secret Annex was found and everyone arrested

They were deported first to Westerbork transit camp, and then to Auschwitz. 

An interview with Otto Frank and his thoughts about his daughter. 

"Anne realized how serious her situation was and she kept her faith."

Riding in tribute to Vic and Gen Albiero

July 13, 2017 - Netherlands - Today I'll be riding in tribute to:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

VIDEO | Inside living quarters of a windmill

July 12, 2017 - Edam, Netherlands - I shot this tour a couple days ago while biking through Edam. This is the living quarters inside a windmill. Take a walk through and climb the stairs to various levels with me!

Riding in tribute to ARNIE VOGEL

July 12, 2017 - Netherlands - Today I'll be riding in tribute to:

Only days left on the tour! If you would like me to ride in the name of someone you know, send their name, a jpeg photo, a brief note if you like, and your contribution of $100. The entire $100 donation will go toward Alzheimer's programs at Cedar Community.

CLICK HERE to donate securely online OR

Checks should be made made payable to "Cedar Community Foundation" 113 Cedar Ridge Dr., West Bend, WI 53095

Cedar Community is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The oldest working paper mill in the world - De Schoolmeester

July 11, 2017 - Zaandam, Netherlands - The Declaration of Independence was written on paper from a paper mill in De Zaan, Netherlands. 

The mill De Schoolmeester (the Schoolmaster) was built in 1692 and is the oldest working paper mill in the world. 

Arie Butterman, 62, is the keeper of the mill. He started when he was 18 years old. "I must like what I do," he said. 

Dressed in one-piece blue overalls, Arie is the lone caretaker of the paper process and the mill. 

There used to be 13 full-time employees and 5 to 10 rag tearers. 

While paper is usually made from wood products, the product at De Schoolmeester is made using rags, textile industry waste, flax and hemp. 

"The windmill is just the engine to keep the factory going," said Arie.  

Today the wind is strong and the mill is pounding out a deafening rhythm as it pummels the rags into a green stock of mush. 
The white squares of flax are stored in a northern section of the mill next to stables of rags piled high in a mound. A box of random buttons and clasps sits on a shelf near a window. 

The dark mill has the feel of a Jewish concentration camp. 

Torn pieces of rag are placed in the tamper barrel where they are chopped into smaller pieces. 

In the beater tubs the material is mixed with water and pounded until the fibers separate. 

Zaandam City Center

July 11, 2017 - Zaandam, Netherlands - Spending the day in Zaandam. Few museums, but a lot of colorful and unique architecture.

Here is the city center:

Typical Dutch landscape (panoramic view):

FLASHBACK TUESDAY: Sanford & Sisters, Nook & Granny -De Funiak, FL

July 11, 2017 - Netherlands - Thought I'd share another flashback from one of my previous Amazing Ride for Alzheimers trips. - Judy

De Funiak Springs, FL -  De Funiak Springs is about 75 miles east of Pensacola, Florida.

Running right along Highway 9,0 the small town of about 25,000 turns is a gem with homey storefronts and fantastic historic buildings.

The Hall of Brotherhood is a large white-domed building that sits on the west side of Lake De Funiak and across from the pinnacle-steepled First United Methodist Church on Circle Dr. and West Ave.  The building was finished in 1910 for $28,000 and features a 4,000 seat auditorium.

The hall was once home to the Chatauqua Institution, founded in 1847 in western New York State as a vacation school for Sunday School teachers. The idea was to provide a retreat and improve religious and secular education for the general public.

The effort spread rapidly across the nation and in 1885 opened in De Funiak Springs. By the 20th century the national movement declined and the Florida chapter closed in 1920.

The Hall of Brotherhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

In 1975 a hurricane destroyed the auditorium wing and severely damaged the rest of the structure. Since then, there's been an ongoing program to fully restore the building.

Scattered throughout De Funiak Springs are small shops with character.

The Little Big Store is a general merchantile located on a quiet side street. A sign in the window reads 'homemade lye soap' and there are tin toys that line the windowsill.

There's the Busy Bee Cafe and the Little Big Store; a general merchantile located on a quiet side street. A sign in the window reads 'homemade lye soap' and there are tin toys that line the windowsill.

There are a handful of antique shops including Nook and Granny, and Sanford & Sisters Mall and Tea Room which sits along Hwy 90.

Sanford & Sisters looks like it would be in the National Register, or at least half the items sitting out front of the store do, as the front of the building is piled with an eclectic mix of items; sort of a cross between a rummage sale and garbage day.

There're brightly painted old farm tools, racks of wooden fishing poles, and a pair of rusty bikes.

Other items include wicker chairs that have seen better days, a stack of tiki torches, and a pyramid of old gas cans framed by the mantle of a fireplace.

Up the street is the Corner Cafe. The hometown diner is a simple square building.. Inside tables are covered with red and white checkered plastic tablecloths.

I sit down at a table with four old men; they are busy solving the hot topics of the day, including the value of AAA, whether it's better to pay with cash or credit, and where the police were headed with their siren last night.

"If you're going to sit here, you better hang on and buckle up," said Tyrone. He was the self-proclaimed director of the group.

Tyrone had to be in his early 70s. He wore a blue gray mechanics shirt with his name printed on a white patch sewn on the right-hand pocket. His shirt was unbuttoned way too low and a big tuft of curly old man hair filled the gap.

Everybody at the table had a pocket protector stuffed with pens and a case for their sunglasses. I felt a bit out of uniform.

"I can build you an airplane, I can build you a train but I can't figure out my wife's rose bushes," said Tyrone in a very loud voice.

Matter of fact, everybody at the table talked loud. The kicker came when Tyrone fielded a phone call. It was like when we were kids using a walkie talkie. He held the phone in front of his face and yelled into it and then looked at it when the person on the other end yelled back.

It was like we were on the party line with the operator. Worse yet, the woman on the other end apparently misdialed - yet she and Tyrone carried on for five, long, painful minutes anyway.

There were no secrets at this table, much less at the Corner Cafe.

"Your legs hurt after a day of biking?" asked Tyrone after he turned off his phone and shoved it in his front pocket.

I started to tell him 'not much' but Tyrone was already onto his own leg pain and how he came home one day and his wife had "found a water bed."

"I says, I'm not sleeping in that lake."

Tyrone then went into graphic detail about his nightly leg pain, the shaking, and how he'd be pulling in his wife's hair because his leg tremors were so out of control.

Yes, there was an actual reenactment at the table. Tyrone got so into it we all had to grab out ice water and coffee cups for fear he'd kick them over.

As I wrapped up breakfast and walked to my bike to leave, Tyrone followed me out the door.

"See all these political signs," said Tyrone - who was never at a loss for conversation. "That's for school board. I told one candidate she should take the TV show test and if she was smarter than a fifth grader - then I'd vote for her."

Tyrone was still talking as I rode away; although I'm being kind - my fifth-grade teacher would call it yammering. I really hate to leave De Funiak Springs.

Odds 'n ends from Sanford & Sisters..

 Me in front of the Hall of Brotherhood (below)

Riding in tribute to Gene Wendelborn

July 11, 2017 - Netherlands - Today I'll be riding in tribute to:

If you would like me to ride in the name of someone you know, send their name, a jpeg photo, a brief note if you like, and your contribution of $100. The entire $100 donation will go toward Alzheimer's programs at Cedar Community.

CLICK HERE to donate securely online OR

Checks should be made made payable to "Cedar Community Foundation" 113 Cedar Ridge Dr., West Bend, WI 53095

Cedar Community is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Farm camping, I love it!

July 10, 2017 - Graft, North Holland - Setting up my tent in the front 40 to the sound of a peacock calling in the background. There are also sheep, the moo of the cow and some rustling behind me soon turns out to be a hen and her mates. 

Farm camping at Camping Tuindery Welgelegen and I love it. 

Third generation owners to Bram and Aagie. The family farm still produces organic vegetables and all are for sale to guests. 

One of the chicks checking out the new girl on the block. After this little lady and three of her pals walked by, the jet black rooster followed behind. I fear it's going to be an early rise and shine for all of us. 

The Wooden Shoe or "Klompen"

July 10, 2017 - Hoorn, Netherlands - I've only managed to gather a couple tidbits about wooden shoes or "klompen" - one of the traditional hallmarks of the Netherlands. 

Currently really only worn by farm and fishermen, gardeners, farmers, blacksmiths, masons and road workers. 

The fishermen's shoe had more of an upturned and pointed toe. Apparently they could then hook their nets with the tip of their shoe and pull it up without bending over.

For the farmer they were easy to clean, warm in winter and cool in summer and if a cow stepped on your foot, the shoe would prevent serious injury. 

Riding in tribute, and in thanks, to my sponsors today!

July 10, 2017 - Netherlands - Today I'll be riding in tribute, and in thanks, to all of my sponsors for The Amazing Ride for Alzheimer's. Thank you for making this trip a success in providing funds for memory care programs at local Cedar Community!