Tulips and traffic

When I was a young child, probably less than ten years old, we made one of our regular family holidays to Holland. My parents, having studied Afrikaans to varying degrees of competence, felt easier visiting a country like Holland where the native language, Dutch, was not too exotic for someone to comprehend with a knowledge of Afrikaans.

One Saturday afternoon, my parents decided to take us to see the tulips at Keukenhof gardens. I cannot recall anything about the flowers.

However, I do not think I will ever forget the car park at Keukenhof. We had parked our car early in the afternoon when the parking area was fairly empty. When we came to leave, the car park was very full.

Everyone wanted to leave at the same time. A disorderly tsunami of vehicles converged on the exit gates. Nobody seemed to be regulating the traffic. It took us well over an hour to escape from the motorised mayhem.

Sadly, I associate Keukenhof with traffic rather than tulips, and although I love tulips, seeing them often brings Keukenhof to mind.

Letters on a cannon

Not long ago I spotted the old cannon shown in the picture at Golconda Fort. It bears the markings ‘A’ and ‘VOC’. The letters VOC are the abbreviation used by the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the former Dutch East India Company, which functioned between 1602 and 1799. The ‘A’ stands for one of the several distinct groups of Dutch investors, who together comprised the VOC.

Incidentally, I have seen another example of this Dutch cannon marking on an artillery piece on the island of Diu, which is close to the southern coast of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The example in Diu can be found in the garden commemorating the Indian soldiers who captured Diu from the Portuguese in 1961.