Day 3

July 2, 2015

Our first morning in a B&B  … ever.

We were greeted by:

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Breakfast this morning, tons of different kinds of bread (including a nummy apple bread that I became particularly fond of), boiled eggs (wrapped in aluminum like a Hershey’s kiss), the best yogurt I have tasted, huge slices of cheese and a thin sliced salami which you would think would be too powerful and greasy but was none of that—just very tasty. A carafe of juice, a carafe of milk (which when we advised Mia we didn’t drink milk, she replaced with another juice carafe every morning). Mia lets you keep everything you don’t eat at breakfast, so we actually managed breakfast and some lunch on most days, which saves money.

And I have to say right here: the coffee in Holland, even from dispensing machines, is the best I have tasted and that includes regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino, or whatever. Mia has a great dispenser that takes 2 seconds to pour a coffee that is absolutely delicious.

After breakfast we got ready to go to Franeker and Eernewoude or Earnewâld, in Fries.

Before we left on our trip, at home, I had my truck checked out by our favourite mechanic: Steve. Steve is a great guy and a great mechanic, a bear of a man with a sweet disposition and kind nature. I was concerned that the emergency brake, which had frozen previously and trashed my brakes, had been set once more by my son during a bottle depot run, an unknowing error on his part.

Steve checked the truck out and proclaimed all to be well (for free), so we talked about our Europe trip and Steve told me about his voyage to South America a few years prior. We talked about our next door neighbor’s car, which was also in to be worked on by Steve and I told Steve I could drive the neighbour down to pick up the car, if need be. Steve said instead he would pick her up.

That’s Steve.

How many mechanics do you know would pick you up to retrieve your car?

So we go home, and a few hours later, there is a knock on our door and there is Steve.

“Hey, I got to thinking, you’re going to Europe, so … you might need this.” He handed me a universal adapter. “That’s good for all countries and adjusts for voltage and goes high wattage, too,” he said with a grin.

I thanked him profusely, as it was indeed a kind and thoughtful gesture. I did not have the heart to tell Steve, but when we were preparing for our trip, we realized that we needed adapters for the different countries, so we had already trundled down to the Source and picked up a Universal Adapter, good for US, South America, UK and Europe.

After Steve left, I turned to MLW. “It won’t hurt to take two.” I said.

“Absolutely. What a great guy Steve is,” said MLW. And he is.

now, I told you all that to tell you this:

As MLW was preparing herself for our outing to Franeker, she retrieved her hair dryer from the suitcase. Something was niggling my brain, just under my consciousness. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it …

As MLW plugged the dryer into our new adapter, the thought began to rise to the surface …

“Wait!” I said at precisely the same second that MLW turned the hair dryer on.

The hair dryer blew familiarly loud and strong … for 1 second, then died.

“What the hell?!?!” MLW said.

“What happened?” I asked innocently.

“The dryer won’t work.” MLW was blunt.

“Let me see that.” I grabbed the dryer and the adapter.

“Oh, this is the problem,” I advised, sagely. “Fine print says not to use for high wattage appliances—like hair dryers.”

“What?” said MLW. “How come we didn’t know that?”

“We?” I said. “I knew that.”

Again the lovely glare.

So this is what happened …

When I got  home from picking up the adapter at the Source, sure I noticed that it was not to be used for hair dryers. So, yes I knew that.

“Hmm,” thought I at the time. “I must remember to tell MLW about this.”

And promptly forgot about it.

Possibly (and I enter this only as a slim and miniscule defense) I only forgot because I assumed most places we stayed in might have hairdryers available …

“Well, I guess it is a good job … Steve brought … us … his.” I said weakly.

“Indeed—a very good job! We would be f&^#ing f&$#ed without Steve!” said MLW in sweet and dulcet tones, so gentle to the ear.


So dear travelers, make sure when obtaining an adapter, get something like this …

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… as they are not created equal.

So began our hunt for a second adapter. We asked Mia if perhaps another B&B-er had  left one behind, at which she said no and  promptly offered to go into town to find one for us, right now, this instant, which of course we refused, saying we would look while on our travels.

I was understandably in a hurry to get on with our travels at this point, so we headed out for Franeker –

This is the beautiful and charming town of Franeker, one of the two main places of origin of my family line.

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As in Leeuwarden, Franeker has renovated all the buildings to keep the facades as they were, as well as much of the insides, depending on whether it is a tourist attraction or just a shop and /or residence.

This building with the umbrellas outside is a bakery now. And OMG what a bakery inside….well I can’t say more or show pictures because MLW marched me out after one turn around the shop. Trust me it smelled and looked delicious. My arteries are slamming shut as we speak, just thinking about it.

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Down from the bakery we found a pharmacy/drugstore (Apotheek), at which we thought it wise to ask for distilled water (if you remember from the previous days entry). But, apparently an Apotheek simply dispenses drugs and medical supplies. The kindly assistant directed us across the street to a department store.

At the referred store, MLW asked the attendant behind the counter if they had distilled water and she said brightly, in perfect English  (these people make me feel so inadequate with their mastery of languages!) “Oh distilled water, of course, follow me.”

<Now here is the part where I would award the grand prize of an all expenses paid trip to Mexico to the winner among all those who took me up on the quiz from the aforementioned previous blog entry; unfortunately, no one took part so I will just have to proceed immediately to the big reveal.>

MLW and the multi-linguist returned with:

demineralized h2o

Yep, it is the same thing as was available at the grocery store, probably at half price. But we bought it here anyway and managed a feeble ‘dankjewil’ to make up for our lingual inadequacies.

Carrying on, this is the Stadhuis (town hall) built in 1591, where many of our family were married way back in the day. (It opened at 1pm, so we couldn’t go in, a recurring theme).

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I found this following decoration on the city hall of some interest. I suppose if I knew more about the history and medieval culture of the area, I might know that the head was a symbol of some sort of commerce and prosperity to do with livestock, but from my cultural lens and perspective, it has a Satanic tinge … I could not resist snapping a shot.

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Then we visited the Royal Planetarium, built by Eise Eisenga, one of the so-called peasant professors of the day (mid-to late 1700s), who was a carpenter who learned mathematics and instrument building in his spare time (!) –

Eisenga set up a planetarium, or orrery, in his living room in Franeker, with a working model of the solar system known at that time (without Uranus, which was discovered later in the same year of completion).  Supposedly he did it to quell the citizens Armageddon panic about a forecasted conjunction of the moon and Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in 1774.

I wonder what sort of discussions he had with his wife about it.

Access to the Orrery above the living room is by these stairs:

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Which appears fairly typical of the buildings we have encountered so far. These are similar to the stairs I wrote about at our B&B.

Here are some photos of the gears Eisenga designed to move the planets around the sun. They are working today.

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On 30 June 1818 King William I of the Netherlands and Prince Frederik visited the orrery. King William I bought the orrery for the Dutch state which eventually donated it back to the city of Franeker in 1859.

For educational purposes, in the Franeker planetarium are also original instruments of some other of the peasant professors; local inventors, clock builders, instrument makers and so on.

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It is amazing to think these men, who began with little education were able to accomplish such feats of instrument making and scientific illumination during this time period. If you like telescopes and space, you will love this.

During the period of the Dutch Revolt against the rule of the Roman Catholic King Philip II of Spain, the town sided early on with William I, which caused the imprisonment of some of these peasant professors and many others.

From 1585 to 1811 when Napoleon shut it down, the city housed the University of Franeker and was a recognized centre of learning. All in a little town of Franeker in 1700’s, when our line lived there.

Another sight is the Martinikerk (St Martin’s Church), which dates from 1421 and is the only medieval church in Friesland with an ambulatory (Choir Aisle).

It is located in a large open square where, from the huge lights strung up on a crane above the square, I can imagine they might hold festivals, markets, concerts and fairs of some kind.

As is our luck in some of these visitations, the church was under construction and not open at the time so here are some outside pictures:

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And for those interested in seeing the inside you can go here:

From Franeker we traveled to Eernewoude. We visited the Agricultural museum (Landbouwmuseum) which had some interesting, if juvenile displays of the Friesland agricultural and conservation areas.

We relaxed by the canal and peered at the town of Eernewoude across the water and watched the boats and ships and yachts glide by. A rough life.

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We then visited the Skûtsjemuseum in Eernewoude where  the smith there started building a new skûtsje named the Æbelina out of wood in the old traditional way and it in launched it in August of 2009 –

Very interesting to see the old tools, metal works and replicas of living quarters as well as a history of the bargemen and their families. Of interest are pictures of the woman with a huge rope around her as she is pulling the boat down the canal from shore. A rough life for reaL

It was unfortunately so hot in the museum we forgot to take pictures …


We headed home to our B&B, where we went down the block to Tom’s Cafeteria and got some burgers with fries (with a mayonnaise on them that is oh-so-much better than anything found at home so far) …

… relaxed on the deck with a breeze and some wine.

Here is MLW doing just that.



I tried to do a self-timed shot so I could get both MLW and me in, and this was the first result

Me trying to figure this out … 

Managed to get one finally …

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2 thoughts on “Day 3

  1. Pingback: Day 4 Leeuwarden | Colin John Keats

  2. Pingback: Day 2 – To Leeuwarden | Colin John Keats

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