Friday, January 20, 2012

Zuiderzee Museum – Enkhuizen.

Photos taken at the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen, on September 28, 2010. I'm feeling nostalgic tonight and posting photos from my last trip to the Netherlands that I never managed to post. Just a few pretties, without commentary.

The Zuiderzeemuseum focuses on the past and the present of the IJsselmeer lake, the former Zuiderzee. The museum features living history, heritage, and crafts from the past.




(Apothecary figure on exhibition)

(Apothecary figure on exhibition)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Other arms reach out to me....Atlanta, Day the Last. And a wrap up.

And as all good things do, our trip to Atlanta was coming to an end. Atlanta, the last. And I was saving the best of last. Best in my book, probably not in Ton’s. I had planned a trip to the High Museum in Atlanta. They do allow photography of their collection, but do NOT allow online posting of the collection. And you sign an agreement when you walk in the door. I respect that, so I won’t post any collection photos. But they do have quite a lovely collection! And the museum itself if quite lovely, too.

The unexpected highlight of our trip to the High Museum was the works by sculptor Grainger McKoy. His atypical but incredibly detailed carvings of birds were breathtaking. Every feather, every vein, was perfect. You can visit his website and view it for yourself.

After leaving the High, we wandered through downtown Atlanta, past the Federal Reserve where they were having some sort of emergency alarm. It was surrounded by police, while office workers complained about their lunch being interrupted. I felt it wasn’t prudent to whip out a camera and take photos of them, considering the police presence. So, we continued up the street to our destination—Margaret Mitchell’s house.

It was here, in what was then apartment number one, that Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind.
After that, I had seen all that I came to see in Atlanta and our time was up. Dinner that night was another highly recommended restaurant in Buckhead, Eclipse Di Luna. The food and service was fantastic but it is definitely a place where you want to go with a large group of friends and hang out. Not really a romantic, cozy place but more of a festive atmosphere. But that’s the heart and soul of tapas, so no surprises. I have to admit, I had too much sangria and forgot to take a photo of anything I ate. Bad me!!! NO biscuit!!! We followed up with a cozy coffee and dessert at our favorite restaurant of the trip, Buckhead Diner. We lingered over coffee (with kahlua, of course) at the bar, watched the regulars come and go, and planned our return trip home.

My feelings towards at Atlanta are mixed. It was a good trip, there is a lot of fun to be had in the area. But Atlanta seems to lack heart. There’s no pulse to the city, no heat. It’s too spread out to be walkable, and their public transportation is sadly lacking. I had been warned about violent crime but saw no signs of danger. In fact, I didn’t see much activity at all. We were there during the week, at times when downtown should have been busy. Instead it felt depressed, and slightly dingy. In other words, it was a nice place to visit, I have fond memories, but it left me with no desire to return. Oh, well. There are other places. And not everywhere can steal your heart like Amsterdam!

And lo, came Day the Third

And lo, the third day came and the sun rose and the city spread out before us. But that didn’t matter. We had aquarium tickets! Georgia Aquarium is a very big deal in the Atlanta area, even if it is supported by *coughcough*HomeDepot *coughcough*. I really wanted to go to see the whale sharks. That’s right whale sharks! And a dolphin show! But alas, it was the beluga whales that stole my heart. Such glorious, graceful creatures. We were some of the first people through the doors that morning, and for the first little while had the place seemingly to ourselves. Thus, my first glimpse of the belugas, I was alone in the filtered blue light of the aquarium. A beluga swam from the depths of its tank, and brushed against the glass. For long moments, I was alone, watching these creatures and getting lost in that surreal world. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Georgia Aquarium is a “hands on” place, where they allow you to touch not only the regular horseshoe crabs (it was mating season, no thank you!) and stingrays (always a joy to touch one of those), but sea anemones and urchins, too. But if the beluga whales stole my heart, Ton fell for the penguins and sea otters. They even had an acrylic tube you could crawl through and enter the world of the penguin. It’s meant for children, but that didn’t stop Ton.


We did attend the dolphin theater show as well, but didn’t take a single photo of it. But it was a lot of fun—as was the 4-D theater. Nothing like getting misted with water and shocked in your seat!!

But the most lovely part of any aquarium experience is simply sitting near the large viewing tanks and watching the world swim by.
IMG_1187 original

But one can stand only so much water, especially one who is deathly frightened of swimming (well more frightened of drowning if truth be told), before you have to escape back to dry land and sunlight. Next door to the Georgia Aquarium is the Coca-Cola Experience. Let me preface this by saying that I am not opposed to Coke, I prefer it to Pepsi! But the idea of paying to be inundated by advertising did NOT appeal to me. Ton, however, wanted to go. Being Dutch, the branding of Coke meant very little to him, the direct emotional marketing appeal of Coke being a bonding experience was not something he had ever picked up on. In other words, he WANTED TO GO. So, we went. We had to wait for a tour to start, so we stood in the lobby and admired the art work-- Coke bottles that had been carved by artists from around the world.


I always feel like somebody's watching me!!!

And I have to say, despite my doubts, I had a BLAST. The tour started with a guide telling you a short history of Coke, and a museum of Coke advertising products over the years.

(See that little cheerleader lady?? Remember her. She will visit us later.)

After that we were shown into a theater where we watched a hilarious animated cartoon—featuring all sorts of odd creatures—including furballs with red lips (one of whom was terribly sad because he had fallen in love with a dandelion who had blown away) and the bottle-shaped cheerleader lady. After the film, you’re left to explore the rest of the “experience” on your own. The various rooms radiate off a center hub, and you can do them in any order, culminating in a Coca-Cola tasting room with drink fountains with products from all over the world.

It was in this center hub that a strange things happened. I turned into a big kid and had the best time!!! They had the Coca-Cola polar bear there and you could get your photo made with him, but I wasn’t interested. Instead, they had the furballs with the big red lips!! And I could kiss them ! And play with them!!!


In the middle of my furry-lipped lovefest, who should appear but the bottle lady! I squealed with delight, but Ton started freaking out. He dared me to go up to her and get a photo made. OF course!! I loved it!!


Ton, however, started laughing. And freaking out. He could NOT get control of himself. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. The figure approached him, he tried to get away. The more he resisted, the harder he laughed, almost incomprehensibly muttering, “It’s too surreal!” (Rather like my reaction when I see clowns, I suppose. But it's a lot funnier when it happens to other people!!!!)


See? He was almost crying!! It’s still hysterical to me. But maybe you had to be there.



After a visit to their 4-D theater, and tasting so many types of Coca-Cola products that we were slightly nauseated, we left downtown Atlanta behind. With our freshly bottled Coca-Cola, and happy memories.

That evening, we decided to eat at yet another diner, this one featured on Guy Fieri’s show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Marietta Diner was good, solid, diner food. I opted for the cheeseburger (I’ve had better) and onion rings (REALLY good) while Ton sampled their Greek menu with a gyro platter. But the main claim to fame for this diner is their desserts. When you walk through the door you’re greeted with a glass showcase FILLED with a myriad of cakes, cheesecakes, and pastries. This is what I was saving my calories for—the waitress recommended the house specialty, and I accepted.

Baklava cheesecake. Two layers of gorgeous baklava, with cheesecake sandwiched in the middle. It is served with a honey syrup that is divine. The portion was huge!! And yes, I ate every. Single. Bite.

After gorging on cheesecake, we went into downtown Marietta. What a lovely little town! They were having a concert/charity dinner on the town square—a vibrant lively little town square.


We walked around, enjoyed the music and the small-town feel. A lovely ending for our third day.

More photos are available on my Flickr account.

Atlanta, Day the Second.

Time has gotten away from me again. The older you get, the faster it slips away! Scary, isn't it? Anyway, before I head off on any adventures this year, I thought I should catch up with a few retrospective postings from our trip to Atlanta. If you recall, day one of Atlanta was a trip to the Museum of Puppetry Arts.

Day, the second, October 3rd, 2011, was to consist of going to embassy and renewing Ton’s passport. It was our main mission, and it was very easily accomplished. Though they had very strict warnings about not being there more than a five minutes prior to your appointment, and if you were, you had to wait in the lobby. Very unaccommodating sign, but typically Dutch!! And in typical Dutch fashion, we assumed it didn’t apply to us and we waited in the hallway and arrived early anyway! They accepted the paperwork and we had an afternoon to explore our surroundings.

It was an absolutely gorgeous autumn day, unseasonably warm, so we opted to go to Stone Mountain. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much and it is a very good thing. Because once we were there and went through the gate, everything was closed. A bit disappointing, but at least we didn’t have to pay full admission price! We’re Dutch. We like cheap.

Stone Mountain, Georgia, the empty village. See? Everything was CLOSED. C’mon people. There were signs everywhere touting a “Fall Festival”. Ehm, Fall, yes. Festival? Not so much.

The rock.


The cable car to the top of the mountain was working, and since we had come so far, we decided to spring for the extra fare and take a ride. It is worth the trip! The view is gorgeous.

View from the top, looking over the edge. The carving was directly below us!
Enjoying the view, Atlanta is in the distance.

Crocodile rock?!?!?

At least the insects were working at the park that day!

Dinner that night was at the Buckhead Diner. Amazing food, beautiful art deco interior, PERFECT ambiance. This was my favorite place we ate in Atlanta!

Chili crusted mahi on a bed of roasted tomato grits.

Ton was boring and had a sandwich with homemade chips. But it was a beautiful sandwich!

And the Pièce de résistance! Dessert—
Chocolate chip crème brulee!.

The rest of this set is available on my Flickr account.