Grandmother’s travel journal: Amsterdam and Marken in 1952
In the next chapter of my grandmother’s travel journal, which records her time in Europe as a single female traveller in 1952, she visits Amsterdam and the island village of Marken. Our experiences of the Netherlands, 50 years apart, were vastly different. You’ll hear about mine in a future post but, meanwhile, this is hers…
Moved on to Amsterdam which we found booked out but the porter in a hotel sent us to a private home run by a lady and her son who spoke English. Tariff was reasonable and we stayed there Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Had a most enjoyable time in Amsterdam. Visited an art gallery and saw some of Rembrandt’s famous works – he was born in Amsterdam – paintings were wonderful. All saw a dear old artist’s paintbox for which looked similar to a modern toolbox and contained various sized tiny paint pots. The box itself was painted on all sides in various scenes and the card bore the following:
Anthonie Groos en Jon Mentsen
Visited a place called “Marken” where people still retain Dutch national costume and custom. This was a quaint place and we walked round the little village where outside all the doors the clogs of the various members of family lay – they all step out of their clogs before entering house – some wear thick socks while others wear light shoes. All wear their hair in long pigtails or plaits with bonnets. In every cottage the women and girls even little boys were scrubbing and cleaning. It was so funny to see groups of men standing talking pipes in mouths, caps on heads and hands in pockets of very baggy black trousers and large clogged feet.
The little island was a series of canals and we crossed to it from the mainland in a ferry over the Zuiderzee packed with a wonderful assortment of things and it was difficult to know what to buy. I bought a tile picture of a typical Dutch scene and very lovely, also a small ornament at Volendam – another Dutch village similar to Marken and where we had our photos taken in Dutch costume.
The population of Marken was 1004 – and if any of them married a mainland person they would have to leave the island, hence a lot of intermarriage took place and there were some rather odd looking people about.
John took a couple of photos – one of Marge, Mrs de Vaag and son and self the other of Marge and self in a small place between the houses where a girl was scrubbing clogs.
The washing of the Dutch people is always most beautifully hung with all shirts, towels, etc., hung together and even the colours blending – really a line of washing was a picture to see.
Sampled some Bols liquor after dinner Saturday evening and also had some Bols gin before dinner. You drink it neat as it is not as strong as English gin although we did not like it very much.
Went for a lovely drive round Amsterdam – the city is very lovely. Many 16th Century buildings and most of them have a lean – owing to foundations sinking they all look more or less skew-wiff, but there are also some very fine new buildings, one particular ultra modern one of office built in a circular style with windows all round.
There are hundreds of boats and launches plying to and fro on the canals – just like a city thoroughfare. Boats were beautifully appointed in red leather upholstered seats and glass enclosed affording maximum view and sunlight.
Had a lovely meal in the American restaurant where we had the Australian flag put on our table.
Saw the smallest house in Amsterdam – it was one door in width and two doors high and wedged between two other couple of storeyed houses. John took snap of it.
Catch up on the series:
- Travelling through time: exploring similarities of grandmother’s travel journal and my own
- Grandmother’s travel journal: To London to visit the Queen
- Travelling through time: London, York and hotel bars with men
- Travelling through time: Grandmother’s trip to Ireland in 1952
- Travelling through time: Last days in Ireland in 1952
- Travelling through time: Dancing in French streets in 1952
- Grandmother’s travel journal: Brussels, Antwerp and Rotterdam in 1952
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