A visit to the Stoomtram (Steam Train) at Hoorn in Holland

This is a story of serendipity. I was trolling through Haarlem when I came upon this print in a printer’s shop window.

Print found in Haarlem shop window

Print found in Haarlem shop window

I had reconciled myself to a holiday without a visit to a model railroad or a historic steam train so I was chuffed when I gazed upon this large beautifully executed drawing of a steam engine. A couple of days later the Tulip Parade – floats covered in spring flowers which starts in Keukenhof came into Haarlem. Because it was so cold we did not go and see it come into town late in the evening. The floats stay in Haarlem overnight and the whole world comes to see them the next day.

When we went to see the floats it was cold and clear. As I roamed through the crowd admiring the floats I couldn’t believe my eyes – a Gauge 1 (G Scale) loco and a couple of coaches were running to and fro in a stall. It also had a fab model of a steam loco made out of wood:

Stall at the Haarlem Flower Parade advertising the Stoomtam at Hoorn

Stall at the Haarlem Flower Parade advertising the Stoomtam at Hoorn

One of the guys manning the stall spoke english and he and I had a jolly old chinwag. He told me he was one of 330 volunteers who worked on the historic train at Hoorn. He gave me a couple of pamphlets and wife Sarah and I went back to our wee house to see whether it was “doable.”

We are staying in Haarlem and we determined that Hoorn was about an hour away from Harlem on an inter-city train. A visit was “doable.” When we arrived at Hoorn we looked at the poster below and decided to “do” the train and take the boat trip.

Poster showing the steam train and and museum ship

Poster showing the steam train and and museum ship

We weren’t the only ones taking the trip. The train was packed. The wooden seats shone with many coats of lacquer. We were on the late side and didn’t have time to inspect our loco. When we got to the end of the line I did manage to pop off a few shots:

The museum ship we we were due to ride didn’t leave for  an hour so we  traipsed into town to get a bite. Over lunch I had a bolt of lightening strike me – the loco that had pulled us was the one I had seen the print of in the shop window in Haarlem. Serendipity.

The museum ship like the train had been lovingly restored, The trip along the coast was smooth and enjoyable.

Our steamer - the Friesland - built in 1955 - she was originally a ferry

Our steamer – the Friesland – built in 1955 – she was originally a ferry

The town we landed at was called Enkhuizen, In the port was this beautiful old sailing barge.

 An old fashioned Dutch sailing vessel

An old fashioned Dutch sailing vessel

The town also had some interesting architecture and some feathered fowl:

This last photo you have to look at carefully. When an inter-city train stopped on the line opposite track two birds promptly jumped on the coupler and started pecking away. It was the first time I had ever seen such a thing. As usual lightening struck my feeble brain in  the  middle of the night whilst visiting – the birds were searching for insects killed by the train !!!!!!

An inter-city train comes into the station and look who hops on - never seen the likes of that before

An inter-city train comes into the station and look who hops on – never seen the likes of that before

A great day out!

Here are links to two vids of the Stoomtram. The first shows you the tulip fields that the train passes through. The second shows different locos that have been restored.

Say Cheese, say Holland

The Dutch love cheese. From the train you can see massive fields with lush green grass. They have lots of cows. The result is cheese – buckets of cheese of every type and flavour. Every town we have been to has cheese shops – note the plural. These first photos were taken on a freezing cold day in Amsterdam. [Click on any pic to see full size.]

Alkmaar is about 40 minutes by train from Haarlem where we are staying. The train was a Sprinter which means it stops at pretty much every place along the way. Alkmaar is full of courtyards, canals, dozens of terraces and, of course, the world famous cheese market. Visiting a cheese market was second on our bucket list of things to  do on our trip.

Dispatch from Maastricht, Holland

Maastricht is about far south as you can get in Holland. Maastricht is a university city on the southern tip of the Netherlands. It is known for its medieval-era architecture and vibrant cultural scene. In its cobbled old town, is the Gothic-style church Sint Janskerk, and the Romanesque Basilica of St. Servatius houses a significant collection of religious art. On the banks of the Maas River, bisecting the city, lies futuristic-looking Bonnefanten art museum.

It’s three hours each way on the train from Haarlem where we are staying. We went on the top level of our speedy inter-city train and got a great view of the Dutch countryside. We went on a Friday because the main square boasts a very large market then.

There were a lot of flower stalls at the market in Maastricht

There were a lot of flower stalls at the market in Maastricht

Flowers in pots for garden - great value too

Flowers in pots for garden – great value too

You name it and the market seemed to have it

You name it and the market seemed to have it

This was on a stall - she who must be obeyed said it would not fit in my suitcase

This was on a stall – she who must be obeyed said it would not fit in my suitcase

One of the three churches that border the main square

One of the three churches that border the main square

Some weird flower covered figures in a corner of the main square

Some weird flower covered figures in a corner of the main square

AND, Maastricht is the home of Andre Rieu. Limburg, the “county” wherein Maastricht lies has its own anthem. I do NOT recommend Limburg cheese – it STINKS.

We didn’t see Andre but did have a great, if very cold, day.

Epistle from Keukenhof in Holland

When we were in Holland some five years ago we went to Keukenhof on a quickie bus tour. We were flabbergasted and vowed to return. Well here we are in Holland celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary AND we are going to Keukenhof. What is Keukenhof?

“History of Keukenhof

The history of Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century. Countess Jacoba van Beieren [Jacqueline of Bavaria] (1401-1436) gathered fruit and vegetables from the Keukenduin [kitchen dunes] for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle. Keukenhof Castle was built in 1641 and the estate grew to encompass an area of over 200 hectares.

Landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who also designed Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, redesigned the castle gardens in 1857. That park, in the English landscape style, still constitutes the basis of Keukenhof.

In 1949 a group of 20 leading flower bulb growers and exporters came up with the plan to use the estate to exhibit spring-flowering bulbs, signalling the birth of Keukenhof as a spring park. The park opened its gates to the public in 1950 and was an instant success, with 236,000 visitors in the first year alone. 2019 will be the 70th edition of Keukenhof, with Flower Power as its theme. During the past 69 years Keukenhof has developed into a world-famous attraction.”

I have no idea how many pics we took on the freezing day (sharp north wind and temp of 40 degrees) when we went. We are staying in Haarlem and it is a mere 40 minute bus ride on Holland’s superb public transport system. This is what hits you in the eye when you walk to the pavilions – giant glass houses:

[Click on any photo to bring up gallery and see the colours of the flowers]

There are several very large pavilions, This one was virtually all orchids:

99% of the plants in this pavilion are orchids

99% of the plants in this pavilion are orchids

The density of the colour of the orchid got me

The density of the colour of the orchid got me

Another stunning orchid

Another stunning orchid

The next pavilion we went in had the theme of “Flower Power”:

We didn’t get to see the flower arrangement pavilion nor did Sarah order any bulbs. The weather IS getting warmer so we hope that when we go back just before we come home many more of the beds will be in full bloom.

 

 

 

Reporting from Haarlem in the Netherlands

We got here last Monday. We’ve been strutting our stuff ever since.

The weather hasn’t been what I expected – VERY cold wind from the north, temp in the 40’s, two showers of which one had hail or snow. The weather hasn’t stopped us. All my walking in water has paid off – I walked 14,500 miles one day.

Food? It’s been great. The coffee is superb wherever you get it.

Photos? Between us we have taken over a million!!!!!!!

Haarlem – which is where we are staying – is a hop step and a jump from Amsterdam. The city dates back to the 1600s. One building on our street – which is split by a canal – is dated 1696. There’s interesting stuff everywhere. This mini selection might give yo a sense of what one sees on a simple walk in any direction.

What I am going to look like after my visit to the tonsorial artiste

What I am going to look like after my visit to the tonsorial artiste

Typical old fascia -this one dates back to the 1700s - note the oxen pulling the cart

Typical old fascia -this one dates back to the 1700s – note the oxen pulling the cart

Espalier tree - one of manyEspalier tree - one of many

Espalier tree – one of many

Detail on door

Detail on door

Amazing door adornment

Amazing door adornment

 

Copenhagen Fields 2mm/ft Finescale Model Railway

Club Member Joe DuVivier sent me this e-mail and three photos:

Tom Knapp and I are working on perspective distorted buildings for my Caspar project. You have to look at the second photo full screen as it is a magnificent panorama. The sense of depth of the scene is unmatched in model railroading. Tom was one of the contributors to this continuing effort. This layout is one of my must-sees when I go to England in 2022 for the National Model Railroad Association annual convention.

An interesting story about this layout, told by one of the group who created it: at a train show in Great Britain an old man was overheard talking to a boy about this display layout, Copenhagen Fields. The old man said he recognized the place. During Word War II he, then a German bomber pilot, had flown over this place and dropped his bomb load.”

Here are the photos – PLEASE click on them to see them at their best – the originals are VERY large and take a bit to load – have patience – it’s worth it.

Copenhagen Fields Layout

Copenhagen Fields Layout

 

Copenhagen Fields Layout

Copenhagen Fields Layout

Copenhagen Fields Layout

Copenhagen Fields Layout

Tom Knapp wrote this note to Joe:

“The three photos of the Copenhagen Fields layout below were taken at a weekend show in the UK. The last photo shows the back side of the building I built which has the very ornate brick façade on the street side. Tim Watson built the “demolished” building which fills in the odd space on Randall Road.

Note the very hazy effect of the backdrop. It is realistic without taking your eyes off the buildings. And the background structures have less and less detail and the scale decreases the further away from the front, until the ones at the back are basically just massing models.”

Thanks Joe.

Here’s a short vid of the layout:

The grey patches surrounding the rail lines are allotments. Allotments are small amounts of land rented by locals from the Council to grow veg and flowers.

My comment, totally amazing.