Marken

The last stop at the end of our visit to the Netherlands was the fishing village of Marken. I had read about it on some travel websites and, after the events of the prior day, I thought it would be easier if we were just to drive about and do something less strenuous.

Marken is a pretty little village – we first visited a workshop making the Dutch wooden clogs – like the ones you’d find in any souvenier store. Made from poplar, the clogs are made over two machines – one to shape the exterior form and one to do the interior of the clog. Pretty cool.

The other highlight was a visit to a “typical” house of the old days. There was a middle-aged woman explaining the details – the house belonged to her grandmother, who refused to completely modernize it and therefore the house stayed almost the same as it would have been a few decades ago. I did not take pictures, as I was busy talking to the lady and it somehow seemed right not to take pictures… but I remember a few things – the fireplace was covered with blue and white glazed tiles showing events from life of Christ, the beds were more like closets against the wall with parents beds above, the kids below and the parent’s sleeping closet had a raised platform at the foot of the bed for a new born. There was a certain pride in the voice of the woman as she explained the way of life in beautiful summers and harsh winters, in a time when people had to ski across frozen waters in winters to get to the nearest town as there was no road then, in a time when fishing was still viable in the waters around the village.

Heritage comes in various forms and I am sometimes surprised how strongly people hold on to it in their own small way even in the most developed countries, where much of the old has been replaced by new – even if heritage is nothing more than how my grandmother lived her life.

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