Gosh, my neck and shoulders are so stiff :(
On Thursday, I visited Delft (20 mins outside Rotterdam) with Mrs VDK, whom I shall re-christen Moeder Irma <-- less formal, more affectionate.
Delft is a historical city, and known for its Royal Delft handmade porcelain and also the home of the royal cemetery. It's also famous for being the place where Willem of Orange chased the Spanish out of The Netherlands and I think he made it his home from then on (haven't read the historical printouts Moeder Irma gave me yet).
The interior of the Oude Kerk (Old Church). It's just filled with stained glass, but not very old, probably from around the 1920s onwards because of the bombing from the war. Still nice. And the tombstone things that are carved and placed into the floor were all still visible and made the floor quite treacherous to walk on if you didn't look where you were going.
The stained glass. It was a bright, sunny day so we had the full glory of it.
We then moved onto the town center where the antiques and curioso market is held every Thursday and Saturday in the summer. Delft is an old town and lots of old ceramic tiles from old houses were on sale, asides from old books, wooden posters and some other junk.
Just next to the market there are a few restaurants with lots of tables outside, so we decided to have lunch and sit outside while the sun was out. It was very windy and cold, but with the sun on our backs, it was more comfortable.
I had a really yummy foccacia meal with a kind of white-coloured ham, delicious sun-ripened tomatoes and tuna mayonnaise. Omg, it was really delicious I just wolfed it down.
Actually I just realised that from all my times eating out here, I've never been disappointed by the food. Which is actually very remarkable.
After lunch, we headed to the Nieuwe Kerk. Which wasn't so 'nieuwe' since it was built in the 1300s (I wonder how old the Oude Kerk is then... didn't check). In here there was a little exhibition on Willem of Orange and his life. His love life was kinda tragic, as his first three wives died from illness or madness, all leaving children behind, but his fourth and final wife, fortunately, was a very good mother to all of them.
There was also a family tree tracing his descendants down to the current royalty. And the current queen is not a direct descendant of the crown prince, but from his brother or sister (something like that). The line is still clean enough, but I think somewhere up the line, someone didn't have children, or didn't have a son, and so the crown passed on to the younger sibling's children.
After the Nieuwe Kerk, we took a really long walk down to Royal Delft. It's the only factory left that produces original Royal Delft porcelain, out of the seven that used to be in Delft. There's a showroom, a public area to watch two painters painting the pottery, more showrooms and then the actual factory where they blow and glaze the pottery.
It was pretty empty that day.
Those are the steps to making the products. The paint comes out as black, but after the second firing process in the oven, the cobalt oxide in the paint turns it blue, and is well-known as the Delft Blue. Everything is hand-painted, and simple designs are painted by apprentice painters, while specialty and celebration pieces are painted by master painters who have spent more than ten years doing this. Their most famous work is the reproduction of Night Watch by Rembrandt on 470 ceramic tiles in Delft Blue. Two master painters took, I think two years (can't be bothered to pick up the leaflet right now) to finish it, one starting on the left and one on the right side of the work.
All around Delft you can see souvenirs of Royal Delft for very cheap prices, but once you go into the official shop in the factory, you can see the real value of the items. One Christmas bauble, average-sized, cost €48!
Walking back to the station I saw this nice building, reminiscent of Venice where doorways are right at the canal front. And this old guy just happened to be speeding past, so I grabbed this photo op.
Definitely worth a visit!