Thursday, June 2, 2011

Don and Joan Visit The Fatherland, Part I

In April we hosted Lori's parents, Don and Joan, for their first visit to The Netherlands, home of their ancestors.  In honor of their arrival we were blessed with two weeks of spectactular weather, with temperatures in the 70's and 80's and no rain.  Now no one will believe us when we complain about the dreary, wet Dutch weather. 

I've already chronicled our visits to the Keukenhof and Flower Market, but there was lots more of Holland that we saw.

No trip to Holland is complete without a visit to a windmill or several visits as our case turned out to be.  We went to the Salamander, a restored windmill in the neighboring town of Leidschendam.  This wind power at this mill was used to cut wood.  Logs were floated down the canal, soaked for 1-3 years, dried and then cut for lumber.    The mill continues to cut wood today for people who want historically accurate lumber in their floors and furniture.

The Salamander Windmill.  In this style of mill, the top of the windmill rotates to catch the wind.  In earlier designs the entire windmill rotated. 

The storage area for the logs.  Most of the logs are beneath the surface and soak for up to three years.  The mill folks told us that they have a map showing which logs are stored where.  They also told us that they have to be careful where the logs come from.  Trees from areas that saw heavy fighting in WWII can contain shrapnel and bullets which ruin the saws. 

This mother duck and her flotilla of ducklings were enjoying a sunny day on the water. 
We also visited Kinderdijk, where 19 windmills stand.  Legend has it that the town's name originated following the flood of 1421 when a baby washed ashore here in a cradle.  (Kinder is Dutch for child).  The more likely origination is that the children of the town supplied the labor to build the dike. 

We took a boat tour down the canal to get a view of the windmills

People appeared to be living in many of the mills.  I'll be there are a lot of stairs. 

It was chilly on the water

The picture isn't the best, but these are the replacement windmills....large Cat engines with huge pumps. 
Zuiderzee Museum
Per the guidebook, the town of Enkhuizen was once a prosperous town of 40,000 people.  It rivaled Amsterdam in the 16th century.  But then several misfortunes struck...the harbor silted up and the plague struck its people.  The final blow came in the 1920's when the Zuiderzee -- a large inlet of the North Sea -- was damned, changing the water from North Sea salt water to a fresh water lake, effectively killing their fishing industry.  Seems like misfortune might be an understatement.

One of the town's responses was to create the Zuiderzee Museum, a recreation of a small, old time fishing village.  It is very similar to Colonial Williamsburg in the US; they've brought in old houses, created streets and canals, and have craftspeople demonstrating how things were done two or three centuries ago.  It's very well done and we hit it on a day with perfect weather.

The Zuiderzee Museum Village

Another view of the village

People in traditional Dutch Dress doing the traditional Dutch thing of drinking coffee.

Dutch Garden

The town rescue boat.  One of the displays told of a father and two sons who were ice fishing one evening.  The ice they were on broke away and they floated about the sea for two weeks before being rescued.  They had to throw most of their supplies overboard because the ice kept melting and they were losing buoyancy.  Two of them died following the rescue. 
Smoked eel.  They had herring too. 

Some of the "pureblood Dutch" of our group enjoying the smoked herring....a taste only a true Dutch peson could love.   Actually, it was quite good.   

The well water in this part of Holland contained dissolved natural gas, so the Dutch used these crude separation tanks to get usable form of the gas for cooking and lights.  Years later, not far from here, in Groningen, one of Europe's largest natural gas fields was discovered.   

One of the typical garden plants was Rhubarb. 

Chairs in the village church.  Note the names on the back.  Makes it pretty easy to see who's missing on Sunday. 

This modified leather "glove" was used by the village sailmaker to push the needle through the cloth sails.  Note the metal circle; it was located in the palm of the hand, allowing the sailmaker to apply a lot of pressure on the needle. 

One of the rows of shelves in the cheese house. 

This figure marked the entrance to the Apotheek, or pharmacy.  Inside they had about 20 more figures like this.....a bust with the mouth wide open.  Evidently this was the universal symbol for an apothecary. 

The author trying his hand (or feet in this case) at using stilts.  Lori had to take this photo quickly because I wasn't up for very long.   Notice that I'm only using the lower foothold on the stilts.  There was no use even trying the upper footholds.   

Now the Zuiderzee is a popular recreational sea for sailing.

Lori with her parents

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