Today I had a free day and Lya took me sightseeing. We drove through the province of Friesland, which has many lovely farms decorated with this symbol of two swans:
This is the way willows are traditionally trimmed in the Netherlands:
The Friesland coal black horses:
We were very lucky to spot some storks! Lya says that they are rare, but making a comeback in the Netherlands. This stork was gathering sticks for its nest.
Here are two storks nesting:
These photos are in black and white because I am a total klutz. I was so busy looking at all the amazing things around me that I tripped and fell, and must have pushed a button that switched off the color! (And yes, I'm okay.)
Next, we drove to Luttelgeest to de Orchideeen Hoeve - een Tropisch Paradijs (the Orchid House - A Tropical Paradise). There were many enormous greenhouses in this area, growing many kinds of flowers.
Lya snaps some photos of the orchids:
There was also a big area filled with hundreds of butterflies.
This is a fragment of a blue Morpho butterfly wing. There were lots flying around, but they were very elusive.
The orchid greenhouses were lined with antique tools and farm implements, including this cookie mold:
And old wooden shoes:
In the afternoon, we visited two small towns known for their traditional farmhouses, Rouveen and Staphorst.
Houses here have shutters and doors painted green.
Here is a woman in traditional dress, on bicycle:
Workers re-thatching a roof:
As the roof gets older, it sometimes grows a lovely mossy coat:
Nearly all of the houses are impeccably neat, clean, and well cared for, but I found one house up for sale that had wonderful old paint and rust.
On the way home, we had to wait for a boat to pass the drawbridge over a canal: