Kinderdik, or why there are windmills

I’ve always associated windmills with milling, the grinding of wheat into flour.  While that’s indeed a common usage, the original and main purpose of the windmill is the pumping of water to reclaim land below sea level.

But I’m getting ahead of myself–I should start with breakfast.

For the most part, it’s a buffet.  You can order pancakes, waffles or eggs benedict a la carte, but everything else is self-serve.  There are the usual fruits and pastries, hot and cold cereals and a smiling chef to make omelets.

Smiling staff are a good way to start the day

Helpful and pleasant staff are a good way to start the day.  Notice the tiny bottles of Tabasco for the Americans.

Their scrambled eggs look almost as good as mine do:

Eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, all the usual breakfast items.

Eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, all the usual breakfast items.

You can tell the people on their first European trip by their astonishment at on particular dish:

A standard here, rare in the States.

A standard here, rare in the States.

 

Filled up and ready to go, we walked up the gangplank, over the dike and into the World Heritage Site that is Kinderdik.  It’s name comes from a legend about a barren couple who found a baby floating in a basket.  I thought that was Moses, I guess this is the Dutch version.

There are 19 windmills here, all for the purpose of raising the water up and shipping it off to the river and out of the polder, or area below sea level.  The land/water management of the Netherlands is amazing, especially considering that they started this all in the 11th century–still in the Dark ages.

We had an overcast, misty day which made poor sightseeing and great photography.

An old pumphouse.  The bright yellow square must mean the National Geographic has been here.

An old pumphouse. The bright yellow square must mean the National Geographic has been here.

 

The morning dew accentuates the many spiderwebs we saw:

Not relevant but phtographically mandatory.

Not relevant but photographically mandatory.

The first windmill we saw:

This was built about 350 years ago.  Still works.   Still must be used regularly to maintain the Heritage Site.

This was built about 350 years ago. Still works. Still must be used regularly to maintain the Heritage Site.

 

A field of windmills–there is a lot of water to pump.

Just a few of the 19 working watermills here.

Just a few of the 19 working watermills here.

 

A pumphouse from the 1970’s.  The Archimedes screws turn in  opposite directions so they don’t tear down the building with their torque.

Too bad they weren't working when I was there.

Too bad they weren’t working when I was there.

 

Some things never change.  I saw a workman wearing wooden shoes.  I asked if he really wanted to wear them or they were part of the job: he said if he didn’t like them he wouldn’t wear them.  They are of very soft wood and only last about 3 months before they wear down and get holes in the soles, then he gets new ones.

The real thing, not all painted pretty, just used every day to keep his feet warm and dry.

The real thing, not all painted pretty, just used every day to keep his feet warm and dry.

 

And that’s all the fun we could have in Kinderdik.  Back to the ship and we set off for Cologne.  Spent the afternoon playing cards with Jack and Carol, ate a good dinner, listened to the lecture about All things Dutch or at least cheese, genever (the local, original, version of Gin) and art.  Hit the sack and got ready for a big day in Cologne.  Tune in tomorrow.

 

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One thought on “Kinderdik, or why there are windmills

  1. I am enjoying the travelogue, Chris. Wonderful photos, and current favorite is the misty “National Geographic” boat dock. Thanks for sharing your travels.

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