Our housemate, Remco, and his girlfriend are in the kitchen making dinner right now. Their voices are drifting through the door, and I can just make out their conversation. It’s very exciting. They’re talking about spoons. Lepels! So much for my Dutch skills.

I’ve had a peaceful day today – we’re settling down into more of a routine now, with That Guy going off to the library and me staying at home reading, studying Dutch, cooking, shopping, writing, etc. On my walk back from the library, I saw the most gigantic man. Here he is below, but unfortunately, you can’t see how the true magnitude of his stature, aka how frickin’ tall he was.

Oh, and this cozy little courtyard/widened street area I was busy waxing poetic about yesterday? Yeah, today I checked out the placard on the side of the road. Turns out the building pictured below, which forms one side of the area, was a prison. And that place the corgis were gamboling on so sweetly? The execution yard.

The sign reads, “This building was originally the county prison. The square tower is the oldest part, dating from the 13th century. The hexagonal tower on the left was added in the 15th century. In 1463, the count transferred the prison to the city. The gallery in front was built in the 17th century. From here, judges watched executions on the square, which was popularly called ‘Fairsorrow.’ Corpses were often exhibited on the Gallow’s Field outside the western city gate in order to discourage future crimes….”

The sign goes on, “…Diagonally opposite the prison lies the Latin School, where Rembrandt went to school before beginning his apprenticeship as a painter. Here he was educated from 1616 till 1620, learning Latin and Greek and receiving his first drawing lessons.” Here’s that building:

You may know I have a little difficulty separating fictional worlds from the real world at times. My husband laughs at me OFTEN for this. The characters and settings in books occupy similar places in my mind as historical figures and places, or even celebrities. This allows me to believe multiple, possibly contradictory, things about the way the world is without any difficulty, occasionally to my detriment. The only problem comes when the circles overlap, like when I see a celebrity in person or when I’m in an historical place.

All that to say: it screws with my head to be walking through an execution yard and past Rembrandt’s school several times a day.

To relieve the tension:

Here’s to the honesty of the chubby Dutch woman and her store.

I’d like to leave with you this last thought: Who DOESN’T want to go to the Snuffel Market?


~ by themeansister on September 23, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: