Netherlands – Day Nine – Windblown windmills

Netherlands – Day Nine – Windblown windmills

uestion – whose bright idea was it to place a small bit of chocolate on your pillow at night? If you pop it down then and there (as I did for the first few nights) then you have to brush your teeth all over again (or lay there in the dark tasting it as you fall asleep (perhaps this explains all those yellow Dutch teeth I’ve seen in recent days?)). Further, there is that final sugar spike you get, not so perfect when you lay me down to sleep. I’ve gotten enough sugar in recent days (with the waffles and the mayonnaise fries, the shipboard dinners with the wine through every serving and the tasty sweet deserts to finish things). My diet is wrecked – I’ll be starting over upon return home. But all in all, that final piece of chocolate seems like an odd and useless gesture.

Me, I save it for when I wake up, for when my wife begins her lengthy armoring-up toilette before facing the day, when I slip down to the aft lounge to clean up my writing and read. I have my small sliver of chocolate with my morning coffee. Now that’s good.

We’re tied up alongside a dock with a small welcome building on it, no other boats, not yet. It’s dark and still out on the river, a light drizzle coming down following the gale of last night. We’ve a small town today and then a move. I’ve no idea of the details so we shall see.

History – Atop the hexagonal raised battlements (now covered with grass) the Germans placed bunkers in World War Two. All you need to know about humans, right here.

Looking back, today was Willemstad, a small town built in the old traditional hexagon pattern in the early age of gunpowder. Quiet place. Cold place. Our guide walked us from the ship right up to the town, only a short distance off. Willemstad has been in more wars than anywhere else we’ve been. There was a bunch of stuff about their walls (little more than earthen embankments now, but topped with Wehrmacht bunkers (a couple of building in the town bear fragment damage from the long World War Two battle that swirled around these parts). The museum was fun, and they had a number of interactive “games”, like where you tried to defend your computerized town from troops broiling over your fields by flooding them (do it too much and the farmers take up arms (pitchforks) against you). Pat and I both played and being armchair generals, we both won. But the big find was that there was a bike shop in town. Popped over there and got a Dutch bicycle lock for my stateside bike. I’ve got a D-lock which is a pain in the ass to use – this one should store easier, transport easier, and lock easier. I can’t wait to try it out when I get home.

In the afternoon, the cruise director moved the ship to Dordrecht, where we disembarked by bus to travel to Kinderdijk, a place where they needed to pump water out when they reclaimed land. There are something like seventeen traditional windmill pump stations all clustered together to move the water out. We came in under cloudy, windblown squall lines. Cold – yes. Windy – yes. Rainy – off and on. But starkly beautiful. When you see lines of windmills jutting out of wind-flattened swamps against a stormy sky, you aren’t just snapping a picture – you are creating Renaissance paintings. I’m including a picture here of just a little what we saw. Yes, I was cold and wet yet it was wildly beautiful. I think it was one of the moments I’ll always remember from this trip. And the guide, a perky blonde named Petra (or something like that) was the best we’ve had. She wasn’t yacky – she told sharp little antidotes and didn’t keep us loitering in place like sheep under the control of an idly barking sheepdog. Oh, we got wet and windblown, but she did her best and was cute and amusing. I really enjoyed this trip.

After that, it was dinner and then we were off again, driving through the night like some sort of doomed starship, our AC still out (but with complementary drinks and snacks in the forward lounge (no thanks, I can open my window to admit cold night air and I’m petty stuffed from dinner and lounge cookies as it is)). I figured I’d pass so I could do my evening diary/blog. And this is it.

See you tomorrow!


>>>NEXT DAY<<<


My best shot. It was a breathtaking moment…