10 FUN WINDOWS in BLARICUM: PART I

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YOU MIGHT WONDER JUST WHY THERE IS NO STARBUCKS IN BLARICUM. And no other franchised eateries. And no hotel chains. The busiest place in town, and favorite local gathering spot, is Ijssalon de Hoop, a family-run, home-made ice cream parlor, operated in the same location for generations. People line up all the way around the corner sometimes and cordially wait their turn to buy a cone and top it with real whipped cream; then they sit outside—in sun, in rain, in snow—at the over-sized picnic table or atop antique, metal milk churns and discuss the daily news, or the weather, which constantly changes from blistering sun to cloudy to chilly to monsoon downpour and back to sun in one afternoon. Or, they debate just how their garbage truck works, and they wonder if their glass actually gets recycled into three different colors—um…I made that last part up.

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Ijssalon de Hoop at the corner of Huizerweg and Achteromweg

But I’m not making this up:

The area around what is now the village of Blaricum was initially a settlement of farmers, recorded at least as early as 970 CE, living in turf huts and simple farm-houses. Even later during medieval times, the land was still fairly wild, and living here consisted mainly of cultivating the land for farming, growing food, breeding cattle, and surviving winters. The people raised sheep on the moorlands. They cut hay for cattle in their stables and sowed and harvested the fertile fields with vegetables and grain, including hops. The farmers perfected the technique for growing and harvesting asparagus underground, which leaves it white instead of green; the asparagus gets longer, thicker, more tender, and it tastes lighter, smoother, sweeter (it still affects the aroma of your urine, but it too, if not exactly sweet, is less pungent). For many centuries, farming was the only way of life and the main method of survival in the region. There were few stores, and no coffee shops. Actually, coffee had not even been discovered in this part of the world yet. But during the Renaissance when coffee finally did arrive in Europe in the 1600’s, some people—perhaps those pesky, staid and unadventurous Dutch Reformists?—reacted poorly to coffee and called it the “bitter invention of Satan.” Obviously, anything that good had to be bad—like sex, drugs, Rock & Roll, and croissants. Makes you wonder why when people disagree with something—or want to do something or don’t want you doing something—they invent or interpret words from their god that make them feel righteous and content, while forcing everyone else to feel malaise and pain (wait…how did that sentence find its way to Blaricum? Maybe, it’s still the ordeal in Orlando on the brain?). At any rate, Blaricum maintained its agrarian ethos until the 1920’s, and today, some folks consider it the loveliest village in North Holland.

During the mid to late 20th century, numerous artists moved to Blaricum—to leave the pother and bother of Amsterdam and to be closer to the artist colony that was thriving in the nearby village of Laren (today, the second-most-expensive town in which to buy a house here). The artists purchased land from the local farmers in Blaricum, and built houses; a little later, other artists and then businessmen discovered the appeal and also built houses; they created the village of Blaricum with no real plan, one house or lane at a time, so the streets now wander across the land, weaving themselves together over a tapestry of ancient footpaths and caprice.

This is one reason Blaricum is such a beautiful little burg, nothing linear about it. But don’t look for it in your travel guidebooks: Blaricum offers a tourist nothing—no funicular, no over-sized Ferris wheel, no slot machines, no bridge over troubled waters, no seashore. You will, however, get an eyeful of history and architecture and doors and windows and forests and hills and dales and moors and elms and trained lime trees and a large dollop of double-Dutch allure. Nothing you’d need to pay to see. You might not even be able to find a bicycle to rent, which in Holland, almost borders the absurd. And although Blaricum is the most expensive place to buy a home, you can rent a nicely-appointed room in the Blaricum B&B or the classic Bellevue Hotel at very reasonable rates, far lower than Amsterdam.

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Hobbit house with curved roof off Huizerweg

One thing you don’t need to wonder about, though, is the class of the architecture in Blaricum. Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re riding a bike here in the burg. Imagine you haul your aging German Shepard around town in a nylon trailer behind your bike as you peddle your aging body around town, or down to the Ijssalon de Hoop ice cream parlor to sit on a keg of milk and talk trash. Perhaps you notice a tourist standing on the opposite side of the street. You can tell he’s a tourist because on a summer day at 16 degrees Celsius (60F), any local Blaricumian would be wearing shorts and a T-shirt. This guy’s carrying an umbrella, wearing fleece and shivering. He seems to be photographing you as you peddle by. Now, imagine what the windows might look like in houses in the most expensive burg in the Netherlands. Imagine you and your dog are riding down Huizerweg, the main street running from the nearby town of Huizen into Blaricum. You might notice any number of houses and decide to photograph curved roofs and quaint windows in Blaricum.

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Corner of Achteromweg and Huizerweg

 

 

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On Dorpstraat

 

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Halfway down Brinklaan

 

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Off Naarderweg

 

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On Schoolstraat

 

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Corner of Bierweg and Bloemlandseweg bordering the moor

 

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On Torenlaan

 

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Down Meentweg

 

 

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On Burgemeester Heershopweg

Have you seen fun windows, or dogs in trailers, in some place you’ve visited? 

You can find more entries for DP Photo Challenge here: Curve

You can find more entries to Lucile’s Rehab here: Photo Rehab

113 comments

  1. Well, for sure I have not yet seen a Badfish in a window. The German Shepherd is just as cute. Ice-cream parlour is exactly where people gather around here as well, whole families, husbands do not run away to have a beer, they eat gelato just as happily. Thanks for so many windows too, it’s as if now I don’t need to visit this town any more. There surely aren’t many others.

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    • Half a badfish is better than no badfish, eh? Yeah, it was great to see the men lining up just like women and children…no need to pretend they didn’t like the stuff or go drink Absinthe

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Coffee the bitter invention of Satan indeed! How did anybody get through the day without it? Anyway, Blaricum sounds like a nice place to visit, although I’m disturbed by its lack of a Ferris wheel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everyone needs a little Europe, a little ice cream, a dog, a bike, and some cute windows on a summer vacation, and since I won’t get many of those, I relished your seasonal treats. (I did notice you got some urine into your 2016 blog themes list to go along with the trash and the poop …) Sounds like a heavenly little village; did you already tell us how you even found it given its lack of tourist bonafides? Looking forward to Part II.

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    • Everyone needs a little Europe, indeed. I didn’t think I needed THIS much, never wanted this much…but “something” sent me this way, and now I find myself here. Why am I not in Madagascar, as previous planned is what I’m saying.
      The lady I usually rent an apartment from in Amsterdam lives here, I came to visit…didn’t leave.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the windows. I love the narrative. I love the German Shepherd (my all-time favorite breed). And I LOVED the “selfie”! I guess this Bellevue (hotel) is about as close as you’ll ever get to mine. But it did inspire me to look up the definition of the name of my city. Duh.
    Was this another ancestry trip?

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    • Bellevue…your “what”? you have a hotel? Is your name Dutch, I forgot? This was not necessarily an ancestor trip, but going to Amsterdam always sort of is an ancestor trip. I almost thought of going back up to the island where my folks were from, but it was raining most of the time.

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      • No hotel, although I do run a B and No B (Bed and NO breakfast-I ain’t cookin’ for no one!). I live in the city of Bellevue and it does rain here most of the time. At least, that’s what we tell outsiders. My name could not be more Irish if it tried. If I decided to visit the home of my relatives/ancestors, I would start in Salt Lake City as I am related to most of the population there, though to be clear, not religiously connected. Again. loved those photos. I do so love how you find cool stuff wherever you go. Takes a special mindset for that…

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  5. Badfish was it actually you I glimpsed in the window?! Oh my you are getting adventurous now aren’t you? 🙂
    Now i must be off to get some more of Satan’s invention. We are on quite the tour these days with you. Perhaps there could be a map as to where one is going next? 🙂

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  6. Wow, this place looks magical. Love your photos of the architecture. And a rare selfie, too! Is this where you’ve finally landed for summer vacation? Great choice. Will keep it in mind for someday when I get to Amsterdam. Enjoy your ice cream! 🙂

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    • Yup…a rare selfie! And no, this is not where I landed…well, yes it is. But not for the whole summer. But it’s hard to leave…ice cream is just soooo good here.

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  7. “Or, they debate just how their garbage truck works, and they wonder if their glass actually gets recycled into three different colors—um…I made that last part up.” My partner is wondering why I’m laughing like a maniac at my iPad. The 16 degree cold also made me laugh – we avoid running when it gets to 17 degrees as it’s too hot.
    Those are some very enviable homes you’ve captured, you’ve now put Blaricum on the map. Before I wouldn’t have believed such a place existed and would have guessed it to be one of those paper towns. You know the ones, located on a map but they don’t really exist.

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    • Safar…Ha! so glad you enjoy Blaricum! Too hot at 17 degrees!! Yikes. I live in a desert, it never gets to 17. And maybe Blaricum doesn’t really exist at all, maybe it’s just a state of mind, maybe there’s lithium in the water there?

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  8. Well Blaricum just went on the list! What a wonderful post. What a wonderful place. We have a friend who lives in Groningsburg in north Holland. It can’t be that far away. Please tell me all the camera settings for the fabulous opening photo. I’ve been trying to do that without success. I assume you panned? I hope your camera settings are recorded in your computer with the photo as mine are. Do you use iPhoto? Don does and he says it records camera settings. What Fstop, shutter speed, iso, and anything else that’s there. Please and thank you. I tried without success to do this in Mexico. Perhaps it was too bright, but either the subject was blurred, or both subject and background, or both were in focus.
    Alison

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  9. We’re like that too in the Great North-wet: 60 and it’s t-shirt shirts time, for sure. Love how our pasty-white skin glows like neon when the sun hits it. Thank God for sunglasses!

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  10. “Blaricum offers a tourist nothing” – therein lies the difference between tourists and travellers. The former enjoys ferris wheels and slot machines, while the latter enjoys wandering off the beaten track to explore beautiful villages where tourists don’t venture. I think you’re a traveller, Badfish. I’ve never seen a dog in a trailer but I have seen a camel in a ute. (That’s what we call this vehicle in Australia – short for utility.) https://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/ships-of-the-desert/

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  11. That shot of the guy with the dog is amazing. And what a beautiful place it is. Drollery did, however, turn his nose up at the whole asparagus bit. 😀 Yes, I still read him your blogs occasionally now that he’s over the poop shock. 😉

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    • Yeah…that was a lucky shot. Both their faces aren’t moving. Did Drollery turn his nose up at asparagus, or the urine part? White asparagus is something to get used to, maybe?

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  12. What neat architecture! I had a great-uncle who was Dutch. He and his wife started a greenhouse here in the states, which they ran for years.

    And now I know where you chose to go! It sounds perfect, and it makes me miss Germany.

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  13. What an interesting place you have found. Why is it not over run with tourists? I would stand in a queue for that ice cream topped with real decadent cream. I think I spied you BF trying to hide behind your camera!!!

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    • REALLY??? How cool is that! And I think no tourists…and all the cool stuff…is exactly why I like it. And that it’s so small. Everything you need within a couple blocks.

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  14. The wonderful world of windows! I see a coffee table book in your future!
    I love the houses, especially the ones with the curved roofs.
    And I never considered, for some reason, that Holland would have moors.
    And I can’t think of anything better than to live in a place where I don’t have to do anything, but eat ice cream. *grin*

    So, would you live in Blaricum yourself, once you retire from work? *wonders if the most expensive place to live in Holland is as expensive like in the ‘millions – what is their currency?*

    Always such a pleasure having you has my guide to other-worldly places.

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    • I would live in Blaricum when I retire. But no I won’t because yes it’s in the millions of euros, which is more than millions in dollars. Maybe I could rent a place? Or live out of a station wagon. Park it behind the ice cream parlor.

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  15. Terrific post …I think artists OFTEN lead the way in cities… Having much foresight and vision and then the masses follow due to their visionary ways.

    Love the charming photos.

    Okay, next time we are in Holland….

    Peta

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    • Thanks Peta. And I agree. So many cool places now were first ‘discovered’ be artists. And now, it’s just rich people and the artists had to move!!! Like Aspen.

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  16. Serious about their recycling these Dutch. In fact, they were on the bleeding edge of the recycling movement, and their pristine countryside shows it. Oh, and did someone mention cycling? ~James

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  17. I suppose the ice-cream at Ijssalon de Hoop must really be good for there be a long line around the corner most days…and that you didn’t stop for a bite because you had better things to do 😀 Not much of a windows person myself because I really am shy about looking into them and being caught out looking in…then again, there’s no guessing what I’ll discover.

    Looks like the roofs of those houses seem a bit curved. That would be a bit of a slide down from the top 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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