Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On the streets where they lived

On Saturday Olof took me to Haarlem, which is 100% different from the NY version with a different spelling. In the 1600’s, two of my ancestors were born and lived the first 20 or so years of their lives there. They got married in St. Bravo’s church and then moved to New Amsterdam (currently known as New York).

So, this past weekend, I found myself walking the streets they walked and lived on, and touring the church they were married in. My ancestor Abraham Peiterson was a miller by trade, so I also had to tour the windmill that was located in the city. (There's a reason for my facination with windmills… it’s in the blood).

It still amazes me to see buildings from the early 1500's converted into clothing stores, chocolate shops, restaurants, and OH, we must not forget the shop completely devoted to cheese... *sigh*. This is the street where Abraham Peiterson lived, and he had good view of the church at the end of the road too.

The church architecture is amazing. It was built between the years 1300-1500, and is gigantic. The inside is just as beautiful...

(if you look really closely to the bottom right of the picture, you may be able to see me)... man the church is huge. The floor was made of gravestones; the ceiling was made of wood and was absolutely amazing. However, the inside of the church was freezing, I thought my hands were frostbitten; fortunately they thawed out once we stepped back outside.

Next stop on the list was the famous Haarlem windmill. It was first built in the 1700's, but burned down in 1903. It was finally rebuilt by the 1990's and is currently a museum.

Being right next to the blades was an experience in and of itself. They're quite powerful. The operator of this windmill is even able to turn the top around 360 degrees (to catch the perfect wind-- of course). Why don't more countries make windmills like these? What a cool contraption. "Back in the day," windmills were used to saw wood, crush grain, even draw out the water to make lakes into dry ground (which is why Holland has as much land mass as it does).

To end the day, we took a stop to the small town... no that's to big of a visual... small 'village' of Saandam where the legendary Hans Brinker is from. I even got to see him too... and got a picture as proof. So, here it is folks, a picture of the boy who saved Holland with the power of his tiny thumb.


ReL said...

That is SO awesome. It looks like you're really settling in and having a good time. I absolutely love the windmill pictures and hope to see many many more.

Marci said...

I am so glad you have choosen to blog about your adventure, it helps since I am living vicariously through you!