Thursday, May 14, 2015

A nice day

A nice day today.  Gave my bike another day off, and relied on my feet again.

Took the train into Amsterdam, got together with friends and that was great.  But spent most of the day here in Haarlem, a place that is less known yet very nice.  Has much in common with Amsterdam, but without the big city vibe.

Though nearly "museum-ed out" I visited Teylers Museum.  Glad I did, just my kind of place.  Pieter Teyler was a weatlthy manufacturer of linens and a banker here in Haarlem.  But his passion was as "... an exponent of the Enlightenment... deeply interested in science and the arts.He left his dough to a foundation, who launched this museum based largely on his collection.  It's the oldest public museum in the Netherlands.

Naturally the museum has beautiful paintings etc, but it also has really nifty stuff -- lots of old bones, plus tools and machines from an age of scientific discovery when much was done with simple physical experimentation and measurement.

I got some nice photos of the "old bones" -- fossils actually.  Most interesting to me is that there was (and still is in some circles) debate about what these suggest.  Does the presence of extinct species in the geologic record suggest evolution may be taking place?  Or were those fossils placed in situ a few thousand years ago during a creation event?  Take your choice of theories.

The resemblance of  
to modern birds leans me towards the first point of view, but there are different opinions.

The scientific apparatus was mainly behind glass and didn't photograph as well, but here is a link to the catalog.  Worth paging through just to see the mechanical ingenuity and precision of the experimenters.

And finally, a shot at dusk of the main church here in Haarlem... with a guy on a bike who was quick enough to wave "hi folks!" as I took the picture.

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