Introducing Charlie

CharlieSo, a few of you noticed that I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I appreciate you reaching out and apologize for not responding directly. I’m ok, but various things meant that I had no desire to blog and didn’t really want to talk about it all. I’m still not sure how much I want to get back into blogging. Right now it feels like a lot of work on top of my actual work. But I do have a reason to get out and about a bit more now, so if nothing else, I’ll hopefully have photos to post!

I’ve missed having a dog to go on long walks with regularly, so a couple of months ago, I started searching for a new canine companion. It was surprisingly difficult, mainly because of our two cats. Finding a dog that could live with cats, get along with other dogs, and stay home alone for a few hours was a surprisingly big ask. A few times, we thought we’d found a dog, but it would either be adopted before we had a chance to see him or it turned out he wasn’t ok with cats or something or other.

Finally, last week, on my daily searches of various dierenasiel (animal shelter) websites, I came across a Staffordshire terrier who sounded like he would be a good fit. After exchanging a few emails with the shelter, it seemed like things could work out, so we asked them to reserve him for us until we could get there on Monday. (They’re all closed on Sundays and our weekends are Sunday and Monday.)

So yesterday morning, we headed out to Rotterdam to go see about a dog. I’m going to give you the condensed version as he’s currently trying to use my arm as a chew toy and sticking his big head up under my arm. Obviously, we got him. He’s only one year old, so he’s still got a lot of puppy enthusiasm. But he’s wonderful on walks! Not so great in the car, though. We knew he had the potential to be car sick, but we managed to get all the way to Utrecht, just minutes before we were home before he decided to be sick. Of course. Since then, we’ve been to see a few sights around Utrecht, though his selfie game needs work. He found a Nijntje yesterday. Charlie
He took a tour through the Pandhof at the cathedral.
CharlieCharlie

And today he took in some 3D chalk art by the Stadhuis (more on that tomorrow). 3D Chalk ArtAfter that mini wrestling match a few minutes ago, he’s now passed out on the sofa next to me, snoring away. He’s a big snorer.

As for the cats, he’s been fine with them, just curious. They, on the other hand, are not happy. Luna’s dealing better than Lola, which is funny, since Lola is the one who used to follow Pippo around everywhere. Oh well, I’m sure she’ll come around.

The Dom’s Architect

Jan van den DoemI’m a tab hoarder in my browser and regularly have more tabs open than is really necessary, but often they’re made up of things that I want to write about. However, sometimes I feel like they require more research than I have time or energy for, so they sit there for month after month. This is one of those topics that I’m finally just going to post what I know and if anyone else has better or additional information, they’re more than welcome to share.

This post started because of this photo that I took of one of the statues in the Pandhof of the Dom cathedral. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked around it, looked at it, and in this case, photographed it, but then never gave it much more thought. I guess I was distracted by all of the gargoyles. But then, a few months ago, I finally wondered if it was a statue of a saint or someone else. Curious, I started Googling.

What I learned is that it’s a relatively modern sculpture of the first architect of the current cathedral and/or the Domtoren. There’s some confusion over the names, but it seems that he was known as Jan van Henegouwen, but sometimes misnamed as Jan van den Doem, who was a later architect. Not surprisingly, for a structure so large, the building process went on for a number of years and there were multiple head architects throughout the project. Some information lists Jan van Henegouwen as the first architect of the Domtoren, whereas Jan van den Doem is listed as the first architect of the cathedral and Pandhof. I do have a book that probably explains it all, but I’m short on time, so I’ll try to do some more research and update if I learn anything more.

For now, a few details on this specific sculpture, though. It does seem to be meant to be Jan van den Doem, the architect of the cathedral and Pandhof. The sculpture was installed in 1989 (practically yesterday!) by sculptor Paul Grégoire (Amsterdam 1915 – Amsterdam 1988), presumably after his death. His son is also a sculptor, so perhaps he finished it/attended its installation. It turns out that there’s another sculpture by Paul Grégoire on Mariaplaats that I quite like. The sculpture of Jan van den Doem includes a beaver down by his feet and a plumb rule in his hand, symbols of an architect.

It was a nice, “Ah! Of course!” moment when I finally found out the subject of the sculpture. Nice to think that the architect gets a bit of a nod after all these centuries!

Southern Gargoyles

Gargoyle 13
I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I posted any gargoyles! I’ve been taking photos, but haven’t been blogging them due to work/time/patience restraints. I think it’s definitely time to rectify this! The stone sentries you’ll be seeing today are my southern gargoyles, and while I could make some sort of analogy about the rough state of some of them, the reality is that they’re simply the gargoyles on the southern wall of the Pandhof.

First up is our wavy-haired friend above. His face may be a bit weathered — wear sunscreen, folks! — but his hair still looks fabulous!

Our next fellow really does seem appropriate for the southern wall, as he does have a bit of the yokel about him. I shall call him Cletus.
Gargoyle 14

One of the particularly interesting things about Cletus is that he seems to be sitting on an upside down head. I know it’s not usually polite to stare between someone’s legs, but when there’s a whole head there, I think you can be excused for looking.
Gargoyle 14

Our next watery friend is rather handsome in a winged kind of way. He’s got wing-like ears and a set of rather fancily curved proper wings, too.
Gargoyle 15
Gargoyle 15

Unfortunately, the next two have seen better days. In fact, they seem to be missing most of their heads now, so they’re not seeing much at all! Spare a moment of silence for our two wounded waterspouts.
Gargoyle 16
Gargoyle 17

Finally, we have our winged cow. I’m familiar with the saying “when pigs fly”, but “when cows fly” is a new one for me.
Gargoyle 18
Or maybe it’s just the angle. From this angle, Bessie the Cow looks a bit more like Winston the Wolf.
Gargoyle 18

So there you have it, the southern wall of the Pandhof and the gargoyles spread along it.
Southern Wall

The Return of the Gargoyles

Gargoyle 8
When last we visited the Sint Maarten Kathedraal waterspuwers (St. Martin Cathedral gargoyles), we had moved into the Pandhof, the cloistered garden area of the cathedral. Sadly, work and weather have prevented me from getting over there as often as I had hoped, but I have finished one side of the garden area. I figured I’d go ahead and share photos of this particular batch. There are some interesting looking fellows and one poor guy who has been battered by the elements.

First up is my big-eared favorite who seems to have a fish head for a bottom, and the fish has wings instead of gills. I still can’t quite wrap my head around this one, but I absolutely love it.
Gargoyle 8

Next is our 1970s porn-stache entrant. That’s a face with a ton of personality! Unfortunately, some of it gets lost in the snow.
Gargoyle 9

Gargoyle 9

Gargoyle 9

Big mouth strikes again with this next fellow showing off his teeth. He’s got cloven hooves and a stylish medieval neck/shoulder warmer. Another impressive pair of ears, as well!
Gargoyle 10

Gargoyle 10

Next we come to a stylish lion with one impressive head of curls! Still, I wouldn’t tease him about the amount of time he spends on his hair. He’ll take a chunk out of you with those fangs!
Gargoyle 11

Gargoyle 11

Finally we come to the poor guy who’s seen better days. I feel bad for him having to hang out with mister hairdo right there next to him. Still, I’m sure our big mouthed friend on the other side of Locks of Lion is happier not to see what he’s bound to turn into some day. There’s a distinct family resemblance.
Gargoyle 12

Gargoyle 12

Pandhof Gargoyles: The Beginning

Gargoyle 4
My photography project of taking photos of all of the gargoyles on various parts of the Domkerk continues. Without a tripod for my camera, I thought I’d move into the Pandhof, the cloistered garden area next to the cathedral, since most of those gargoyles are a bit lower and easier to shoot. I’m still hoping to get a tripod at some point, since the extra stability will come in useful for the higher-up gargoyles, but there are plenty of creatures in the Pandhof to keep me going until I do get a tripod.

I continue to be fascinated by all the little details that make up these fabulous grotesques. Each one is unique, like a demented snowflake. This first fellow is pretty scary with his cloven feet, pugnacious nose, and big snarling mouth.

The next fellow is some strange hybrid of snail and Gary Busey.
Gargoyle 6

Gargoyle 6

This next one I think of as a Babushka Gryffin. I love the little head scarf.
Gargoyle 5

Gargoyle 5

And finally, we have the one I got today, which is just inside the back entrance to the Pandhof. I like to think of him as my Billy Goat Gruff.
Gargoyle 7

Gargoyle 7

Gargoyle 7

Photo Op

Fiat 500
When I arrived at the Domplein yesterday, I was surprised to see this adorable Fiat 500 parked in the middle of the square. With all of the temporary stages under construction around the square, in preparation for the festivities later in the day, I wondered what role the car was to play.

After admiring the car for a bit, I wandered into the pandhof (the cloister gardens next to the cathedral) and was surprised once again to see a single red balloon attached to a bag sitting in the garden.
Red Balloon

All of these little mysteries soon were revealed when I spotted a woman in a white dress, holding a bouquet.
Bride

A newly married couple was taking advantage of the beautiful setting to have some wedding photos taken in the garden area. I’m sure it’s a popular location for wedding photos; it’s certainly not the first time I’ve seen a newly married couple in the area. The balloon belonged to the couple, as did the car. When I left much later, the couple and the car were both gone. Hopefully, they went on to have a wonderful celebration and a lifetime of happiness.

Bride and Groom