Sanctuary of Mesa (or Messon)

by Jennifer on

During our holiday to Lesvos this year we saw many beautiful things, but there was one location that made a deep impression on all of us: The Sanctuary of Mesa (or The Sanctuary of Messon, as it is also referred to).


Specially for Rob visiting Mesa/Messon was very high on his wish list. His interest for Lesvos and its history is great and there is already so much he knows about it.
And I have to admit that now I have been there, it made a deep impression on me. Even so deep that now I want to know more about it. Since our return to The Netherlands I have been reading a lot about this Sanctuary (online and offline). “I have been touched by its magic” as Rob calls it and it is quite contagious according him.


The temple is near the town of Agia Paraskevi (Αγία Παρασκευή) and is the biggest temple on the island. It was dedicated to Greek deities Hera, Zeus and Dionysus or the so called “The Lesbian Triad” (and no, that has nothing to do with the sexual preference, but with the geographic location).

There are two inscriptions from the second century BC where the name Sanctuary of Messon is preserved. It served as seat of the Kalloni Commonwealth. But the Sanctuary was already as early as the sixth century before BC a place for pilgrims to come from all over the island, but even from various cities of Asia Minor. It is told that beauty contents and dances related to fertility were hosted there.


When we visited the Sanctuary we were the only visitors and that made it even more special. The silence was breath taking. The atmosphere was very peaceful. Mostly I am always very down to earth, but here you could literately feel that this place has a very rich history and that important events took place here.


Rob had a long talk with the local guide of this historic temple and excavation site. He asked many and many questions. He wanted to know as much as possible about this place and he impressed the guide with his knowledge about Lesvos. And yes, he really knows a lot about this island.

And yes, this is one of the places that I never will forget…


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Ever walked into the house and your partner starts to sing for you?

Well, that happened to me this morning *WINK* .
I returned from a short visit to Patricia, when I walked into the living room Rob started to sing with a big smile on his face…

“If you were the only girl in the world
And I were the only boy
I would say such wonderful things to you
There would be such wonderful things to do
If you were the only girl in the world
And I were the only boy…”

I recognized the song, but I had no clue how he got that song. With a big smile he explained it.
He was looking for something on the internet, when he ran by coincidence into this picture…

LP Rudi Carell

This is the cover a vinyl long play record. It is the recording of a show done by the Dutch artist Rudi Carell. The show is about how he is stranded on an uninhabited island.
The show is recorded in 1964, so Rob was around 1 year old and I was not even born. So it was not that Rob can remember this show.

Rob’s parents owned this vinyl record and he loved it. He must have heard it many times. So even that he knows the lyrics of all the songs by heart. That even after all that time and that it has been for many years out of his active memories.

He searched on the Internet and found recordings of the show and we watched those together. And I have to admit that I had some good laughs. And laughing together is even better. I placed these recording below at the end of this article (and sorry, the show is mostly in Dutch).

What I really like is that Rob can be so deeply happy over such a relative simple thing! His mood was really enjoyable and that made the weekend even better as it already was.


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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by Sanne on

Haaksbergen is a municipality and a town in the eastern Netherlands, in the province of Overijssel, in the Twente region. There are around 25.000 inhabitants. Haaksbergen covers 105.55 km² ground (of which water: 0.27 km²).
First signs of people living in the area of Haaksbergen were found at the Buursebeek and are from around 800 years before the year 0. This was of course before the town was founded. The first time Haaksbergen was mentioned is around the year 800.

So why this interest for Haaksbergen? It is the town where I was born, grew up and I am still living.
And although the town changed a lot over the years, I still love this town.
Most of the people who write here on this weblog have a close bound with Haaksbergen, but even Patricia (how lived and grew up in Noord Holland) and Mel (our friend from Greece) claims that the town has now a special spot in their heart now.

I can tell for a long time about how Haaksbergen is nowadays, but I would say come and have a look yourself. But I thought it would be nice to share some things from the past of Haaksbergen. And also on that matter there is so much to tell.
So I thought it would be even more nice to write something about (more or less) old places in Haaksbergen that has a special meaning to one of more of us


Hotel Assinkbos
Half way between Haaksbergen and Eibergen we find Hotel Assinkbos, at least that is what is used to be. Currently it is not in use any more and that is a pity.
But it has also been the home of Disco Silver Shadow. Marion, Jennifer, Miranda (although she was living in Eibergen at that time), Rob and I have been more than once to Silver Shadow. I knew Marion already at that time, but the others not. We may have been there at the same time. And now all of us are best friends.
Very good memories of Silver Shadow.


Markt 2

Markt 2, next to the town hall of Haaksbergen, have been the practice of a general practitioner and a dentist, who has been my dentist. More recently it was a very good restaurant known as “Eetcafe Markt 2”. Most of us have have very good memories of the Markt 2. But for Marion and Rob this was really a special place (you should ask themselves why :P).
It was a sad moment that the Markt 2 was closed. Now there is a new restaurant called “De Kornuiten”, which is not bad, but in no way to compare with the old Markt 2.


Zwembad Scholtehagen

Another place that doesn’t exist any more… “Openlucht Zwembad Scholtehagen”. I never understood why they closed it. I really miss the opportunity to swim outside. Especially now more and more at lakes and streams, it is not recommended (or even forbidden) to swim. Sure, we have now an indoor swim paradise, but it is just not the same.
Marion and I both learned (ourselves) to to swim in one of the brooks close to my parents farm. I would not be surprised if Jennifer and Rob learned to swim at Scholtehagen.


Oostendorper Watermolen

And here, all of us has been, including Mel and Patricia: The Oostendorper Watermolen.
The ones that grew up in Haaksbergen swum here, made walks through the surrounding forests.
I even can remember that Rob told me that when he was a young boy he once went fishing here, the first and the last time he did that.
The Oostendorper Watermolen with its 3 wheels, unique in The Netherlands. The watermill was build in 1548. After restoration in 1987 the watermill is fully functional again.


De Biester

And then there was restaurant De Biester. How many times have not been at De Biester, alone or as a group? I stopped already counting a long time ago. It was always good to be there.
Sadly begin 2017, De Biester had to close the doors. I think everyone of us felt that as a big loss. Another place we loved to go gone.
But end of last year, a new restaurant was opened in the building. I heard good things about “Bianca’s Eetcafé, but I haven’t been there yet. So my suggestion is to go there when we all are in Haaksbergen again. Would be nice.

Really have to say that I enjoy telling about our town. So I think I will do that again, maybe when I have found more photo’s or when I find something that worth to share. Keep an eye on it :-)



Photo view on Haaksbergen: Rob (Thank you :P).
Postcard Hotel Assinkbos: In possession of my parents.
Photo Markt 2: Legaat Mej. Wiedenbroek
Photo Scholtehagen: Openlucht Zwembad
Photo Restaurant De Biester: Bombardement rond Buurserstraat

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Around 50 kilometers North of Birmingham, in the county of Shropshire (West Midlands), lays a small idyllic English town called Beckbury.

Beckbury has a special meaning to me. It was the first town outside The Netherlands, where I travelled as 17 year girl (almost 18!!!) alone, without my parents or anyone else. It was also the first plane flight that I made alone (not knowing that so many would follow).
Maybe nowadays that is nothing special anymore, but more as 30 years ago it was.


So what had a young girl to do all alone in Beckbury?

Earlier that year I have been on a holiday to the Egypt with my parents (beautiful country, although with the current situation there not a choice of mine anymore). There I met an English girl from my age who was staying there with her parents as well, Kathy was her name. Kathy and I spent during that holiday a lot time together. And so Kathy and I became friends.

At the end of that holiday Kathy and her parents invited me to come and visit them in England. And of course, as you most likely already understood they lived in the town of Beckbury. Later that year I visited Kathy and had a wonderful two weeks at her place. She and her parents really made me feel welcome. They proudly showed me around in their hometown and the surrounding area.

Kathy and I sent for a long time each other letters (e-mail was not commonly around yet). But as it happens so often, the time between the letters slowly became longer and longer, until no letters were sent at all any more.

 St. Milburga's Church, Badger Lane, Beckbury

And then suddenly a few weeks ago a mail arrived in my mailbox informing if I was the “Marion from Haaksbergen who spent a holiday in Egypt and visited Beckbury to meet the girl she met in Egypt”. Well, that was me! And of course this mail was sent by Kathy!.

By pure coincidence she ended up on our weblog and wondered if I were the Marion she knew from the past.

Kathy is married now and mother of three fine children (two girls and a boy, which is already married himself).
Seems she made her dream come true and is now working as a biologist for a governmental organization. Already when I first met her, she had something with languages.

The Seven Stars

It was a big surprise when Kathy told me that The Seven Stars still existed. While I stayed in Beckbury The Seven Stars was the pub where we stayed almost every evening, played pool and teased the guys of our age. I am pretty sure we left some guys behind with *coughs* “hurt feelings”. Yes, we were young and mean! :-)

Recently I had to be for my work in Birmingham. Kathy and I met for dinner. It was very nice to meet again. We had good laughs about our evenings at The Seven Stars. The nice walks we had in the surroundings of Beckbury.

We remember well our visit to the city of Telford. Such a wonderful place for two girls to wander around. Well, under the secure eye of Kathy’s father that is :-).

Crooked House

And oh, The Crooked House in Dudley! Kathy’s parents took us there. It is the most amazing and weird pub I have ever seen (and I have seen some since then). The Crooked House was built in 1765 and was originally a farmhouse. During the 1800s, mining in the area caused one side of the building to begin gradually sinking. The building was condemned as unsafe in the 1940s and was scheduled for demolition. Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries purchased the pub and rescued it by making the structure safe using buttresses and girders so as to retain its lopsided appearance.

Once inside your brain tries to correct everything you see to that what ought to be normal and it will show a different truth. Things you see standing straight, aren’t standing straight. A ball on the floor seems to cheat gravity and rolls upwards a floor, but it is your brain that is fooling you, the floor is really going down. Such an amazing place!

Iron Bridge

Of the places that Kathy and I visited back then, there is one place that should be mentioned: Iron Bridge. The Iron Bridge is a bridge that crosses the River Severn in Shropshire, England. Opened in 1781, it was the first major bridge in the world to be made of cast iron, and was greatly celebrated after construction owing to its use of the new material.
The photo of the bridge is a postcard that I sent to my parents during my stay at Kathy’s place.

It is stated that the Iron Bridge is the birthplace of the industrial revolution. The Iron Bridge Gorge Museums made already back then a big impression on me. The museums that tell the history of industry were awesome to vist and when I look at their website it has even become more awesome.

So why I am writing all this about Beckbury and the highlights of the surrounding area?

Well, on very short term Rob and I will fly to England. We will visit Kathy and her family. For sure we will go to The Seven Stars. But also The Crooked House and the Iron Bridge Gorge Museums we will be visiting.

We both are already looking very much forward to it!





Satelite Map: Google
Photo St. Milburga’s Church : P L Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Photo The Seven Stars : Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Photo Crooked House: Chris Baker

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About DNA

by Rob on

Some time I ago I saw the video below and it made a deep impression on me. The video is about what our DNA can tell us about our heritage and where our roots in the world are. The people in this video faced some big surprises about their biological heritage. Watch the video…

After seeing this video I was curious, but I figured that such a DNA test would be quite expensive. I didn’t think about it anymore and I forgot more or less about it.

Then last year we were at the BBQ of Mel’s family on Lesvos, where I got my nickname “Μουστάκι”. Mel’s lovely grandmother who was convinced that Marion and I both must have Greek blood in our veins, this because of our love for Greece,
Personally, I don’t think we have Greek ancestors, but one can never know. A DNA test would show this and make this very clear.
But the price of such a DNA test….

A few weeks ago I saw an advertisement about a DNA test and I realized that a DNA test was not that expensive at all (anymore?) and that it was very affordable for us.
So after a small talk with Marion we ordered two of these DNA tests.

DNA test

So this weekend I will do the test and will send it away for analysing.
As Marion is using medicines at the moment, she has to wait with doing the test. I offered to wait as well, but she told me to do it this weekend. She is very curious as well.

Am I nervous about the result of the test?
No, anything will be fine. Dutch, Greek, Finnish, German, Moroccan, Arab… I really don’t care. The more places in my heritage, the richer I am!

And after the test is done, we just have to wait…..

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Greek Goddesses

by Marion on

When Rob was a young boy, he once went on a holiday with his parents to Hellendoorn. They stayed a week at hotel “De Uitkijk”. This hotel still exists and this year Marissa, Richard, Rob and I will go there for a long weekend.

Anyway, when Rob stayed there with his family, he went often to a nearby amusement park, which also still exists. Mostly Rob, as he told me, went there to play arcade games. He mentioned an arcade game where you are in a submarine and have to destroy enemy ships.

On one of his trips to the amusement park, he bought at a souvenir shop a small replica of a statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.


This statue was the beginning of Rob’s interest in Greek mythology.

Over the following years he bought more statues of Greek Goddesses at all kind of places. He knew which Goddesses they were, their stories and where they original statues are.
He had and still has quite an extended knowledge of the Greek mythology. Of course, his love for Greece has come from somewhere!


Then, years later, Rob met his ex-girlfriend. I dare to say that his ex did quite some wrong to him.

Rob was during the time he went to school deeply in love with a girl. He wrote beautiful texts for this girl and made some kind of bundle of it.
His ex-girlfriend requested him to get rid of these texts and he did. These texts, expect some he got back through another resource, are gone forever. I would have loved to read those texts, even when they are about another woman. It is all long ago, it is Rob’s past. He has full right on his own past, after all, it is what made him what he is today.

More things like that happened.


And then there were Rob’s Greek Goddess statues. Some of those goddesses statues are naked, which is very common for Greek statues.

And also these statues were not to the liking to Rob’s ex. He can recall that words as unfriendly for women were used. With that the statues had to go to.

I really cannot understand this. Did she not realize that these statues were important for Rob? She should have known this.
And is a replica of an old Greek statue, nude or not, woman-unfriendly? I don’t think so. Calling nudity woman-unfriendly is bringing the rights of women back to the dark ages. These day women are allowed to be proud on their bodies and don’t have to hide it under all covering clothes. And is a woman’s body not beautiful? And apart from this all, the statues are not even very detailed.

I cannot get rid of the feeling that Rob his ex tried to control and manipulate him. Something that always will fail in the end, as it did.

So some years back on one of our holidays to Greece I saw in a shop a nice replica of a statue of Aphrodite. I remembered directly what Rob told me once about these kind of statues. Of course I bought it. A present that maybe will undo a little what was done in the past. Rob was really happy with the statue. So now I try to buy on every holiday to Greece such a statue for him

So Aphrodite, Leda, Sapho and others are back in Rob’s house. As they should…

Sapho Marion
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Wonderful insults

by Miranda on

CurseWhile browsing the internet I ran into an awesome list of wonderful insults that people used in the past. I have to admit that I really like them.
And I am serious when I say that I am planning to memorize them and use them whenever the situation is right for it.


Gobermouch: This is an old Irish term for someone who likes to meddle in other people’s business.

Gnashnab: An 18th century northern English word, meaning someone who just complains all the time. Contemporary synonyms include nitpicker, moaner and grumbler.

Snoutband: Someone who always interrupts a conversation to correct or contradict the person speaking. Every social group has a snoutband, who thinks they know everything.

Stampcrab: Someone that’s clumsy and heavy of foot would be considered a stampcrab.

Scobblelotcher: Mental Floss notes this word is “probably derived from ‘scopperloit,’ an old English dialect word for a vacation or a break from work.” A scobberlotcher is someone who avoids hard work like it’s their job.

Whiffle-Whaffle: This is someone who wastes a lot of time.

Zooterkins: A 17th century variant of ‘zounds’ which was an expression of surprise or indignation.” It’s less of an insult and more of something to yell after someone has insulted you..

Zounderkite: This is a Victorian word meaning idiot.

Bedswerver: Shakespeare coined this one to describe an adulterer.

Fopdoodle: A fopdoodle is someone of little significance.

Klazomaniac: This would be a person WHO CAN ONLY SPEAK BY SHOUTING.

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Ancient Greece and America

by Mel on

As we all know it is often said that Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, discovered America, which is a bit weird to claim as there were already living humans, so it was already discovered. Anyway this must have happened somewhere around 1490.
It is also said that Leif Erikson, a explorer from Iceland, travelled to America in the 11th century.
This is all very interesting. But what would you say if I tell you that the Ancient Greek already knew about America?

I cannot proof anything, but there are some very interesting references in some ancient writings. I admit right away that there are many who claim that this is not correct (and I leave out those who cannot stand the idea that it was not Italy/Spain or Iceland/Norway who made it first to America).

Lets have a look at what we know.

Plutarch, a Greek biographer and essayist, who lived 46 AD to 120 AD, describes in his book Moraliaa a great continent located 5,000 stadia (about 800 kilometres) away from an island called Ogygia, which is 5 days travel westward from Britain.


Some claimed that Ogygia was Atlantis, but lets not go that way. The Maltese have long claimed that Ogygia is actually Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago. Some say Ogygia was in the Ionian Sea. People as Strabo of Alexandria said that Ogygia was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. And then Roderic O’Flaherty, an Irish historian, claimed that Ogygia was Ireland.

Euripides makes a reference in his tragedy Hippolytus of a land on the far edges of the Atlantic ocean.
Hippolytus: “Alas! What do you mean to do? Will you not even wait for the passage of Time for my case, but banish me immediately from the land?”
Theseus: “Yes, beyond the Black Sea and the edges of the Atlantic, if I could, such is my hatred of you.”

Travel to America

Dr. Minas Tsikritsis, a Greek-Canadian scientist who studied Aegean Scripts, says that it is possible that the Ancient Greek visited America. He points out that there are too many references in the ancient texts are correct. The mentioned distances to travel are correct, as is the route that is described.

And there more references as the ones that are mentioned.

If the Ancient Greek really visited America I can not proof. That they were aware of the “Great continent” to the west is quite sure in my opinion.
Anyway, seeing what my ancestors all have done, I would not be surprised at all!

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Heretic Christmas

by Rob on

Although “tradition” seems to proclaim that you should not decorate your house for Christmas while “Sinterklaas” (which is celebrated in The Netherlands among other countries) is still in the country, we will start with the Christmas decoration this weekend.

I know that I have talked before about Christmas and its origin, but it is something that keeps my interest and every year I learn something new.

Kerst marktplaats/Christmas market

The origin of Christmas

That Christmas is not an Christian celebration by origin is generally accepted I think. The origin of Christmas goes way more back then Christianity.

Celebration the birth of Jesus on 25 December is based on pagan traditions or better said, by celebrating it on that day the Christian Church tried to get rid of these pagan traditions. According the bible Jesus was born in fall somewhere between 4 and 7 before AD…. that is, if Jesus has ever existed at all (but that is another discussion).

It all started with the midwinter celebrations. Ancient Germanic tribes celebrated on December 21 that the days became longer. Yule or winter solstice was celebrated throughout Northern Europe. Often with all sorts of cults and rituals. Of some celebrations is known that the oak tree was central.

In the Scandinavian languages Christmas is still called Jul.

Although the dating as December 25 predates pagan influence, the later development of Christmas as a festival includes elements of the Roman feast of the Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithra.


Customs of Christmas

Christmas, and all the customs around it, is one big collection of influences of all different cultures.

The Christmas tree itself find it origin in pagan believes. Way before Christianity in Europe people already decorated there homes around Saturnalia (in December). They decorated living trees with small pieces of metal to honour their god Bacchus.
Decorating a home with evergreen boughs was strictly forbidden by the Christian Church in the 3rd century. And the decorated Christmas tree, as we know it now, is only since mid 19th century around.
There have been quite some disputes around the Christmas tree. In America William Bardford, a Calvinist, tried to “stamp out these pagan traditions of Christmas”.

The Christian custom of “kissing under mistletoe” is related to what used to be a sexual agreement of the Druidic sacrificial cult. Also nice to know is that the berries of the mistletoe are poisonous and were used during Druid rituals to poison their human sacrificial victim.

In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January). Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace. The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas


And then Santa Claus

Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 and later became Bishop of Myra. He passed way on 6 December 345. It was not before the 19th century that he was named to be a saint.
He was one of the bishops who worked on the new testament in 325 (Council of Nicaea) and there they described the Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death.
The Nicholas cult spread North through Italy and people started to give each presents on 6 December, the day that Nicholas passed away (We here in The Netherlands, and other countries, we still celebrate “Sinterklaas” on that date).
In Northern Europe the celebrations around Nicolas were adopted by German and Geltic pagans. As they merged Nicolas into their own culture Nicolas lost his Mediterranean appearance. He got a beard, was dressed in cold protecting clothes and mounted a horse that could fly.
To please the pagan people in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church Nicholas cult adopted Christmas and taught that they should give gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.
Early 1800’s Washington Irving wrote a satiric novel about the Dutch culture called “Knickerbocker History”. In that novel a white bearded man riding a flying horse called “Santa Claus” (“Sinter Klaas”) was more then once mentioned.
Some years later Clement Moore wrote. after reading “Knickerbocker History”, a poem about Santa Claus. And with this poem the 8 reindeers and the delivering of the presents through the chimney were introduced.
From 1862 through 1886 Thomas Nast made many cartoon images of Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly. He almost completed the image of the modern Santa Claus. Nast placed the home of Santa Claus on the North Pole, give him his elven helpers and the book with good and bad deeds of all children of the world.
In 1932 Coca Cola hired Haddon Sundblom to make an advertisement with Santa. Here Santa got his cheerful and chubby face. Coca Cola insisted on a bright and red suit.
And there is was… Santa Claus, a mixture of a Christian crusader, a pagan god and an commercial idol.

Happy holidays everyone



Credit photo’s: Rob)

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by Rob on

This week I found the “Heemskring” in my postbox. The “Heemskring” is the magazine of the “Historische Kring Heemskerk” (Historical Circle Heemskerk).

I am getting this magazine because I am member of this society (obviously!). Now one can wonder why someone, who is just living for a few years in Heemskerk, is member of such a society. Well, that is simple. I am always interested in the history of the place where I am living. I think I know my share of the history of the towns where I have lived (Amsterdam, Haaksbergen, Borne Ov. and Heemskerk).

The stories in the magazine are great to read. Like in the last issue there is an article about a “hofje” (a small court) that sadly is not there any more, just as the windmill that used to be near to it. Or the interesting article about Gerrit van Assendelft.
I think that understanding the history of the area where you are living is important, it makes you feel more related to the area. And isn’t that important for the place that you want to call home?

But there is also another thing to it. Through the magazine and the website of the “Historische Kring Heemskerk I found quite some spots to make photo’s. I really like to make photo’s of historical locations, so the magazine and website are for this great resources.

Now I hope that I can make the time to join one of their meetings.



(Credit photo: Historische Kring Heemskerk)

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