It is customary to measure legs of life in pairs of worn out shoes. You tread on to discover new and glance at ancient things. And when leather shoes begin to gaze your feet, you can't help but recall huge wooden clogs that you happened to find behind your great grandmother's oven in Poltava. It is as if Ms. Holland herself salutes you, because... Is there really a person who hasn't heard about Dutch klompen?
Now everyone knows the Netherlands as the country of tulips - and variety of those makes you reach for a photo camera in your backpack. But after having admired flowers as much as to take your breath away and when you plunge into a cool bed in a nook of the Netherlands, don't rush to fall asleep. Through an open window you may hear wierd klomp-klomp, klomp-klomp sounds in the silence of the night. This is history of Duthch peoole itself clattering on stone block pavement with wooden klompen.
No wonder in that because such shoes appeared 500 years ago. Ordinary countrymen and fishermen worked hard to earn their leaving so oftentimes they couldn't afford expenses on real shoes, while humid and cold climate forced them to look for a way out. This was how wooden footwear emerged to protected from moisture in summer and from cold in winter thank to thick soles. Frequently to preserve warmth people put straws or paper inside. Typically such shoes were gouged from poplar but willow, beech and aspen are also good for it.
"As easy as a pair of klompen" – this is how Duth national saying goes instead of "as easy as shelling peas" familiar to English-speaking public. Really, what's so hard about it? A piece of wood, a gouge and a hammer, a drop of patience, a bit of power of a man and craft - and there you go, your shoes are ready. Then again, it was like that in ancient times and nowadays when klompen serve more as an attraction for tourists, they are made on workbenches over 10 minutes using moulds for left and right feet. They are later painted and decorated with various patterns to remind owners about wonderful and hospitable Netherlands somewhere there, in distant countries.
But in own homeland such unusual footwear can still be seen on some farners and fishermen. Being loyal to traditions, the Duth walk down the isle wearing klompen, too. Bright, with hand-made carvings, after weddings they fit into interior designs perfectly and find their place somewhere on the hall wall or nearby a fireplace. Locals joke that judging by amount of wooden shoes in a house one can easily learn about the owners’ private life.
You will probably be surprised to hear that klompen were even certified by European Union as one of the safest kinds of footwear made of natural materials. Also, in wooden clogs you can walk on broken glass or modern chemicals without being afraid to hurt you feet or damage your shoes. The Dutch say that such footwear is good for health because it doesn’t squeeze toes and is beneficial for leg muscles. There is also an idea that the fact that local dwellers are predominantly tall is the courtesy of their predecessors wearing wooden clogs.
You have an opportunity to look at various kinds of klompen at Zaanse Schans Museum. Craftsmen will show you shoes making process, those who feel like will have a chance to take a picture sitting in a huge four-meter long clog or even paint a pair to own taste to shows friends and relatives later.
Who could have thought back then, several centuries ago, that not only will everyday footwear of ordinary people stay in use in twentieth century but will even become a pride of the nation. In world’s most famous galleries canvases depicting people in simple shoes of countrymen are exhibited. Have a closer look at Bernard Blommers’s Family Meal or Children with Cerries as well as Frederik Carel ten Kate’s Dutch Fishermen.
Such great footwear could be seen in other countries, too. Dwellers of Western Ukraine and Poltava region used to make ones from wood and wear to animals. Using clogs called sabot French workmen even used to assert their rights: they threw them into mechanisms of machines to attract attention to own problems – this is where the word ‘sabotage’ comes from. But no matter how shoes of the kind are called: Träskor, zoccolo, clog or sabot, when listening to clatters on stone block pavement, you clearly hear klomp-klomp, klomp-klomp, klomp-klomp...
A mini toast, a slice of cheese and a sip of strong coffee. "That is not a buffet!" a waiter will pronounce indignantly, looking at the disgruntled tourist’s face. The generous Ukrainian soul cannot understand how locals manage to eat their full with that. Therefore, before going to a new country, you need to know exactly whether in the evening you should prepare a couple of sandwiches to indulge them in the morning, whether you need some vegetables, or even some extra litres of water!
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OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko came back from Japan and launches a special series of articles devoted to this country. Warning for very sensitive readers: Beware! After reading, you will get a keen desire to break away, buy a ticket and fly to such a marvelous and fascinating Land of the Rising Sun!
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Few of us, while our favourite tea is steeping, are scrutinizing about the way this drink went through to get into our mug. Of course, stereotypically, we know that most likely it came from India or China, but in fact origin can vary. In the world there are about 30 countries which are very seriously engaged in tea business, and within this community a very clear hierarchy emerges, headed by the so-called Big Tea Seven.
A Ukrainian woman with Azerbaijani blood Sabina Safarova respects her family roots and, being a member of the Union of Azerbaijani Youth in Ukraine, popularizes the culture of her country. Today, the story of a girl about one of the most interesting traditions of Azerbaijan - matchmaking, we are launching her author's blog, which will be filled with cognitive facts and subtleties of manners.
"A poor peasant lived in a remote Gagauzian village, and wealth of his was his three sons ..." so begins one of the folk tales composed by the Gagauz people. This Turkic people really lived a not wealthy life, roamed the villages, feed sheep... When a family gathered together to have some rest, old and young composed legends in their own way explaining the phenomena of nature noted by a curious and observant eye: why crows are afraid of people, why geese gabble, why an ant has thin waist, and what happens when you put fox and wolf in one harness.
Outlook often tells about the kitchens of the peoples around the world, but when it comes to Italy, writing about the country should be a crime. Each of its twenty regions has its own culinary world with the subtleties and specialties. Let the title of gastronomic capital of Italy be Bologna, its official capital - Rome, too, has something to boast about. We are telling you what is remarkable about Roman cuisine and what dishes are worth trying in the Eternal City.
OUTLOOK was lucky to visit hospitable Uzbekistan and get better acquainted with crafts of this amazing country. Today we tell you about art of straw work, about materials that craftsmen use and what secrets and unique features of this craft are. Feel the world with us!
In this day and age, it is difficult to surprise anyone, especially an urban resident, with some large department store or market, since nowadays one can buy everything from a humble convenience store next door. However, the iconic bazaars and flea markets are still operating across the globe, they are famous in legends and described with delight. Well-known is that they turn shopping into a cultural exchange and are much more than just a commercial place for the sale of goods.
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
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