zondag 31 juli 2011

The tower of the Great Church of Naarden

Climbing the stairs inside the wall
  Yesterday we weren't really outdoors as we were ascending the local churchtower. Ascending that is using the stairs not climbing the outside.
Having been born in the neighbouring town the city of Naarden has always been the opponent. As a child I hadn't been to Naarden often and it has been one of my wishes to climb the churchtower of The Great Church of Naarden.

Yesterday I took 2 of my kids up the tower. Kids like to do these things.

The church was build during the fourteenth and fiftheenth century in the stronghold of Naarden. Naarden was rebuild after been flooded earlier as it's in spitting distance from the former Zuyderzee. Being part of the defenses around Amsterdam and Holland it got double starshaped canals around the city. People that wanted to live inside the city had to pay 2000 bricks for the construction of the church. With the small number of inhabitants 500 years ago it's a miracle the church has been completed - the walls are more than 8 feet wide. The staircase is inside the wall, turning clockwise so it could easely be defended with swords.
Floor of middle section : the churchbells
were hauled up through this hole
The ceiling of the lower part of the tower

The churchtower contained 5 bronze bells until WWII. The smallest of the bells was thrown in the canals to hide it for the German occupier. The 4 bigger bells were stolen by the Germans and transported to Germany where they were melted for warmaterial. Luckily plastermoulds were made so they could be reconstructed after the war.

5 bells in an oakframe

The views from the tower are wide and far.
It's windy on top

View north from the tower
View southeast with cityhall behind the church 

The Great Church of Naarden stitched together
Much too soon we had to get back down again after which we made a tour around the church. Ancient canonballs can still be seen sticking in the walls. Naarden has been occupied and looted by Spaniards, French and Germans and 'rentals' from all over Europe. As far as I know the British have never been here. Instead William of Orange went the other way.

woensdag 20 juli 2011

A falcon as guest

When I was a young lad I've had a close encounter with an eagle in the backgarden of an aunt, its enormous wings spread out in front of me. Today I had another encounter with a rather smaller bird of prey but none the less still giving me a WOW moment. 

A young falcon had entered the conservatory, probably thinking it might have an easy snack with one of our Zebra finches. Being unable to reach the little birds it tried to find a way out again but the glass prevented a direct getaway. It gave me the chance to grab my photocamera and take some pictures before it finally escaped through an open door.
It's one of those rare occasions, when you come close and totally unexpected in direct contact with wildlife, that makes you feel very much alive.