Thursday, July 26, 2012

Netherlands July 25

Openair museum was like the Gennesee country museum, but larger and about the Dutch. I bought a museum pass at the gate and this turned out to be an excellent purchase, for it got me into almost every museum I came across afterwards.

This calliope at the entrance turned out to be the first of several we saw. All of the others were found in town squares.

I wish I had noted the age of the wattle and daub building to the left.  It was the barn and home of the family, with very little delineation between. It probably was warmer in the winter, but also in the summer and the bugs from the cow manure and chickens and such must have been pretty unsanitary. Not a big surprise people didn't live too long.
To the right is the schoolhouse. The big difference between the one here and the one at the New York Genesee Country museum is that the one in this photo has a fire pit as opposed to a wood stove.
This windmill was a new one for me.  It stood on the ground without any building, but it could still be moved to orient it to the wind.

These railcars and trolleys were from before WWII.  Arnhem was basically totally destroyed in a WWII battle, so all the buildings came there from somewhere else.  As a matter of fact, the museum existed before the battle and sheltered civilians during WWII. Sad to say that many of the rail cars on display only reminded me of the ones in movies which carried away Jews and other undesirables to concentration camps.
Highlights also included the paper maker, who made paper out of rags, and the laundry, where the pulverizers were run by horses. The "wood" boxes for the fire were filled with peat

notice all the parts of the laundry are wood, including the gears and posts. It was very clever; a horse on a roundabout would turn the gear, which would move "pistons" up and down and slam a plunger thing down into the barrel filled with clothes, water and soap.

There was a special machine that would grind up the rags. Everything here was run by the windmill up top.
We also visited the Airbourne Museum, which described the battle of Arnhem.  Sometimes it bothers me, especially in the gift shops, that we glorify the battles. The last display in the basement attempted to give visitors an idea of the terror of the battlefield.
We ate dinner on the Rhine, in Arnhem, which has been totally rebuilt. We were joined by Robbert, Sara's boyfriend.

Netherlands July 24

As we traveled towards De Hoge Veluwe National Park, we passed a steam excursion train.
A very short train, we didn't have to wait for long.
In the park, they allow people to borrow (unsupervised) white bikes to tour the park. You can return the bikes to any entrance and they are free. All sorts are offered, from basic single person to ones with child seats front, back or both.

In the very center is a museum with huge sculpture gardens and an extensive collection of work by Dutch artists and others.  There is a relatively large collection of work by Van Gogh.

The park management is constantly striving to keep the human induced landscapes.  They cut down trees and actually encourage the creep of the sand. The result is a landscape  which sometimes looks like Eastern American woodlands and sometimes like an African safari.

At the campground, there was a Lego model of a VW bus. One of the better campgrounds, the shower and bathroom stall doors were salvaged from a barn on the grounds, it was very family friendly and harbored a wide variety of people.

We met a Dutch family, which included a 7 year old boy and about a 4 year old girl. The boy was powering his own bike, while the mother and father towed the 4 year old and camping stuff. They do up to 30 miles per day, pretty huge for such a small boy. I was incredibly impressed.

Every Dutch person I tried to talk to knew some english. Even the ones who were embarrassed to speak, because they said their english was so poor, spoke better english than my spanish.  It was embarrassing to me that they were embarrassed.  If they only knew; I tried to tell them how really good their english was.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Netherlands July 23

Zwolle was the first town I've noticed with more than just town gates, but retained parts of the walls and its old pump. New portions of and actually entirely different buildings were built up against old church walls.row 1, column 2
row 2, column 1
They might use the rotation of the sails to hoist the logs from the river and up that ramp on the right.
We took a ferry across the river, even though there were perfectly good bridges close by, but this brought us past a windmill whose purpose was/is to mill lumber brought by river.

Many water birds, including storks, spend their time searching for food near the shores. The storks see especially enamored of searching through a farmer's freshly mowed hay.
You can kind of see how many cyclists are waiting for the special bike light to change.  Most of these were triggered by a button, not an electromagnetic pad on the ground.

Passing through Zutphen, we had to hunt a little for the CG, but found it. The main bathhouse is BYO toilet paper. Can't really say I understand this.  Cool otherwise.
Some interesting things we noted in Zutphen, which really apply to most of The Netherlands:
loads of gargoyles
church windows were generally not stained glass, but small panes
most houses/buildings had hoists, since the stairs were too steep and narrow to get things into the upper floors

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Netherlands July 22

We left Meppel and traveled through an area with several lakes. In one town, there was a tiny bridge over each side canal (about every three houses), which was barely wide enough for my trailer.We must have gone over about 20 of these. I had to put my foot down every time to ensure my accuracy guiding the trailer, but it was way cool.

At Genemuiden we had to cross a canal by ferry, leading us to question why there wasn't just a bridge.  There must be an answer... At the Ijssel river near Kampen we did cross on a bridge, giving us a beautiful view of the skyline. Several city gates are still in existence there.  It used to be that there were windmills on top of many ramparts, but often those were removed and placed on pedestals closer to the center of town to make them less of a target for invaders, but still get them up above the rooftops.

Note the gate- all that remains of the wall.

In Wilsum we passed a church built circa 1050 and the town's pump still stood in it's tiny square.

The church had a beautiful little house next to it (presumably the rectory) with a fabulous garden.
I didn't try the pump to see if it still worked.

We traveled along the top of a dike for many miles, along with throngs of Sunday pleasure seekers.  This morning we had been carried along with large groups of people traveling to or from church, all dressed up and on bicycles.
Bill and Sara looking fab. Such beautiful weather- everyone is in shorts and short sleeves.

In Zwolle we tasted delicious gelato and listened to an accordion player in the square. Those were very popular activities and the square was quite busy.  Note the kid with the bike with training wheels, a very unusual site.
As always we saw multiple people on a single bike and horses on the path. Yesterday we saw kids with helmets on while we were eating lunch. I could not figure out why they were wearing helmets since they were walking, until i realized their ponies were so tiny they were hidden behind the restaurant's very short hedge.

Before we reached the campground in our very circuitous way, we came across loads of people (seemingly in the middle of nowhere), all waiting for something around a canal.  They were all waiting for the boat in the lock to pass through.  Apparently it isn't quite an event, and being Sunday, people took the opportunity to hang out and watch the process.  Very different from the US locks I have seen, this one was almost totally manual.  The lock keeper must close and open each of the four gates and slide the pedestrian walkway out of the way (it is on rails). Very labor intensive...
No stores around, so dinner was the food remaining in our packs. Our tents have been wet every morning from dew and we haven't had access to laundry facilities much, so we are often drying out in the campground at the end of the day.

We had chicken company in the campground.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Netherlands July 21

Staying put for camping tonight, but we traveled on a long day trip, looping out and back to Meppel. Notice the tiny green chocolate frog in the cappuccino saucer.

In Giethoorn we watched a pair putting on a new thatched roof.  It was highly educational.  Since there are no cars allowed in this town (no roads, for that matter), the thatch was delivered by boat through the canal system. There is a video at the bottom of this post (assuming I can get it to load). I thought there would cheat with a vapor barrier and just make it look authentic, but Bill told me the plastic we were seeing was probably just a precaution against rain while they worked up the roof.

Even the letter carriers ride bikes, in towns, cities and the country. The paths in Giethoorn are pretty narrow, considering all the traffic they get.  Both directions of bikes and pedestrians use these paths. The bridges are also narrow, necessitating that bike riders need to wait for others to get off the bridge before crossing.

Many intersections have excellent signage, though occasionally they show two different directions to get to the same town.  The blue sign shows this is a bike path.  When you see a blue sign with a red circle around it, it means the official bike path has ended; it doesn't mean that bikes aren't allowed.  There are so many signs; I hope to put up a page specifically to host cycling signs.

Near Havelterberg  we visited a hunebedden, as megalithic tombs are known in the Netherlands. It had been so badly disturbed by WW11 that it is no longer very interesting.  The Germans had constructed an airfield on top of it and displaced all the stones.  Of some interest, however, was an impact crater from a bomb.  It brings to heart a little of the terror the civilians must have felt. It is interesting that this bomb crater would have naturally filled in by now, but for the efforts clear the brush and dredge it.
It brings to heart a little of the terror the civilians must have felt.

Our mini tent city in Meppel