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.

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