Friday, May 10, 2013-Day 21
Spots of rain had been falling when we boarded the bus, so I had taken a rain preventer from the stand on the ship. Our Viking umbrella did the trick, for as we approached the gardens, the skies cleared and the sun came out.
The gardens were glorious. The colours were magnificent. We learned that Keukenhof usually opens for just a couple of months. This time, because of a colder than usual spring, the gardens had opened late.
However, the closing date would remain the same. We wandered and absorbed the colour, the planning and enjoyed seeing the smiles that seemed to be on the faces of everyone. I think gorgeous flowers and blazing colours do that to people…don’t you?
Two hours of wandering, sitting and eating lunch at the gardens brought us to departure time. The buses rolled on to windswept Kinderdijk and the visit to working windmills which are now a UNESCO world heritage spot. At one time, there were 10 000 mills in the Netherlands but now there are around 900. The sky had greyed and the wind howled along the dyke as we made our way into the mill. My Viking rain preventer was still working. Cynthia and Lynore slipped into the coffee shop as neither of them fancied climbing flights of very narrow, steep stairs which were in the mill. Don and I took a look and were impressed by the way the mills are being preserved. All of them still work…all of them still pump water to higher elevations and out of the polders, though now they are the third line of defence against flooding.
At the end of the visit we saw a pump station, with electric pumps, the second line of defence. Finally we were able to see the massive Archimedes screws which are driven by diesel generators and are the first line of defence.
To round off the visit, we were taken to the carpenter’s shop, still a working one, where we were told about the history of windmills (the concept originally came from Persia) and how they were now maintained.
Many facts were given, but one stands out in my mind…though the windmills were mostly constructed of wood, only one type of wood used in the construction came from the Netherlands, all the rest were imported.
Eventually we got back to the ship around 5.30 pm and Cynthia began packing. We later joined the Harringtons in the bar for a farewell drink together.
They were leaving earlier than us the next morning. It had been a great trip, and we will always be grateful to Don and Lynore for inviting us to join them on this European Sojourn.
Late update…Saturday May 11th now as I finish this post to you…the exit from the ship to Schipol airport went smooth as silk. Our flight to Calgary was 8 hours and 20 minutes and seemed to whiz by. I’m writing this post in Calgary as we have a three hour lay-over. 6.30 pm we leave for Comox and we will see Ben or Tim at Comox, all being well, around 7pm local time. (There is a one hour flight time Calgary to Comox and a one hour time change)
Final thought…look what we had waiting for us when we got in the house…can’t beat that!
Goodbye for now and God bless.