Europe 2008 (Kinderdijk and Madurodam) Day 11 – June 4

4 06 2008

Today we drove down to Kinderdijk.  I was concerned that the rush hour traffic would be bad.  It was a bit heavy heading down to the Amsterdam road but after that it was pretty smooth driving.  It was a pretty short drive and we got there pretty early. 

We arrived so early that the boat tours of the canal hadn’t even started yet.  They would begin at 1000, but only if the operator had 4 people.  We were the only two around.  Seeing as we had some time to kill, we decided to walk down to the second windmill, the one open to touring.  For 3.50 euros you were allowed to go up into the windmill and there were audio/video playing to show you what life in the windmill was like.  I didn’t know it, but people actually lived in the windmills, they weren’t just giant wind machines.  We also learned that the other 18 windmills in the area are all inhabited and that when the miller is home, they run their windmills.  The windmills now supplement the modern pumping system to keep the water level in the polder from swamping the fields.  The mills are quite small inside. I can’t imagine actually LIVING in one!   We got some very nice postcard pictures of the mills on the canals.

While we were out walking 1000 came and went, as did the boat.  A group of people had shown up at the RIGHT time and were out on the boat before we got back.  We headed back to the little shack at the entrance and enjoyed a drink and sandwich while we waited for the boat to come back. 

We took the boat tour.  It was quite inexpensive (all things considered) and there were some great photo opportunities.  I only wish we had a blue sky :(  While along the canal I managed to get a few decent shots of a horned grebe.

At 1200 we drove over to Madurodam in Den Haag.  The drive was short and parking was easy (if not a bit expensive) to find. I can imagine what kind of a zoo the place would be in tourist season.  We toured Madurodam for over 2 hours.  The miniatures were much as I had remembered them from when I was a little boy.  Of course things like the modern TGV running on the tracks weren’t around then.  Boy, there are a gazillion little models there.  Painstaking work building and maintaining them.  We stayed at Madurodam until about 1500, having had a snack to keep from passing out.  At 1600 we arrived back at hotel and decided this time to head out for dinner.  We started out at 1700 and we walked a long way to find a restaurant that wasn’t particularly sketchy or serving middle eastern fare.  We  found one and had a reasonable priced meal.  Definitely a bit of dodgy neighbourhood that the hotel is in.

We got back at 1900 and it was time to plan tomorrow’s trip to Edam and the North.  I put out a call for help to find a laundromat in Amsterdam with my FT friends.  They came through before I even went to sleep.  Then I managed to get caught up on my blogging.   Sleep will come easily again.

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