Francois_Dumas Posted May 7, 2006 Share Posted May 7, 2006 It is not always necessary to ride a long distance to find something of interest..... not when you live in a small country like Holland, anyway ;-) Yesterday afternoon, after cleaning the facade of the house, standing on a wobbly ladder.. yikes.... I took off for a short ride. Saturday evening is when the leisure skippers and passenger sailships come in and fill the old harbor and the new marina. And with good weather (like this weekend) the harbor area is filled with tourists and locals, taking in the sun.. and taking in some beverages, mostly alcoholic ones ;-) Our town is over 800 years old, and officially a town for more than 650 (I believe). It is well preserved, having escaped the war and our town leadership had the common sense of making sure that historic buildings were always restored the way they were meant to be at the time. One thing we can not get rid off are cars, and yes, motorbikes, and other modern things..... if we could you could easily imagine yourself walking around in the 16th century here..... Please join me on a tour of the center of the Summer activities .... First of all.... lets 'spoil' the ambiance with this bit of high-tec German engineering...... pretty out-of-place.... but hey ! Next the 'mandatory' picture of our 'Hoofdtoren' (main harbor tower, guarding the old inner harbor entrance). It was built late 1500's, the clock was installed in 1632 (the original iron clockwork is still kept in the town museum..... I guarded it for years when working there in my highschool days, earning money for my first little 50cc motorbike !) ... and I found another BMW boxer fan.. couldn't find its owner.... This is one of the new marina's, with modern appartment buildings on the far side.... not so nice.. but bringing in money for the town.... A sample of the old houses just behind the Souther Sea dike. This is where fishermen lived in the old days..... actually 'not so old' days too. They were still there when I was young and especially eal fishing was a Big Thing for the town ! Another view on the new marina.... standing on the old dike. Some old boats nearby, modern yachts in the distance.... I liked this one.. looks like the model of an old clipper... but smaller. I'm no ships expert anymore..... A close-up of the Hoofdtoren tower. The town's 'mascot' is the unicorn (the red animal olding the shield). The origin of our town's name is shredded in mystery and various theories have been published. The name is Hoorn. 'Hoorn' means 'corn' (as in the unicorn). There would be many cows with corns. People would drink from corns or corn-shaped tin things. But others say it is derived from the expression 'corn of wealth'. Hoorn was one of the wealthiest and most influential towns in the hostory of the country. Whatever the truth is, we'll probably never know..... Here a view on the locks that would provide shelter for the tides in the old days (no tides now anymore, because of The Big Dike - see other ride tales). The wooden doors would hold the tide and salt waves out. The Tall Ships would not enter the harbor, so the lock could be small. In the background the streets of the old part of the town and people sipping drinks in the late afternoon sun. The 'new tourism'. It is The Thing To Do these days to muster on an old sailing ship and cruise the lake or Friesland province, as a passenger. All of these are now 'companies', docking here for the weekend. Rather funny seeing the passengers sitting on deck with drinks and food, while the few crew members work to dock, clean, serve....... I would not feel comfortable sitting there doing nothing, to be honest ;-) The wonders of the sailing ships.. so many ropes..... Another picture of the old tower, sea-side. In front of it the wooden jetty that was built ages ago (litterally !) and renewed recently..... These three little guys have become a legend. They were portrayed in a book that almost every young man of my generation must have read. It was called the 'Scheepjongens van Bontekoe... Here my English lacks depth I'm afraid. Scheepsjongen would be 'junior shipsmate' possibly? Anyway, these three hid on one of the VOC ships in 16xx to go to the West Indies.. and adventure. Bontekoe was the captain of the ship they hid on. A real adventure and still a great book. They originated from Hoorn (in the story), and now they look out over the sea for ever, as they did, dreaming of voyages, before becoming stowaways. One of the ships leaving..... I wasn't the only biker visiting.... The typical houses of the era..... the larger the 'facade' the more 'status' the owner had...... Inner harbor with draw bridge and people taking in late sunrays..... From the harbor many canals would lead into the town, instead of streets, providing for flat ships to take the goods further into town to the warehouses and markets. The Harbor Master. I can tell you (and you can tell from the grin on his face) this man LOVES his JOB !! With some vanity perhaps I ebvy these guys... and the writer of the book. They existed long before I was on this earth, and they will be staring out over the water... or whatever else there will be in future... long after I am gone. Wouldn't we all like to leave something like that behind ??? Hope you like the little tour of our harbor 'district'.. there's lots more to see.. you should come over one day. Recommended ! François Link to comment
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