Monday, April 28, 2008

Windmill Education

No visit to Netherlands would be complete without a trip to Amsterdam.

So we hopped on a train for a short ten minute ride from Haarlem to the big city. The trains in Europe are amazingly efficient and easy to use. The US could sure use more of them. Our mass transportation system is pathetic by European standards. The price of a gallon of gas this week over there was a little over $10. No wonder they use the train!

Once in the city we took the obligatory canal cruise.

It allowed for some great views of the sprawling city.
After the cruise we spent several hours just walking through the different sections of the city. And then back on the train to Haarlem for the night.

Later that week we took a short drive over to the small fishing village of Volendam. It was loaded with tourists that day. Presumably because the weather was so nice....I had always heard that it always rains in the Netherlands but so far we had not even opened our umbrellas.

We also stopped at the next town over...Edam (like the cheese).

Everywhere you look there's canals, lakes, ponds, and the sea. It was interesting to see how the Dutch people over the hundreds of years have adapted their lifestyle to live around so much water. They seem to have done a nice job of it.

Heading back to Haarlem we passed more flower fields.
The colors were unbelievable!
After that we passed some more windmills. These were the old kind.
Having grown up in the mostly dry Southwestern US, I always thought that windmills were used for pumping up ground water for drinking and irrigation. So I was surprised to learn that the old mills in The Netherlands were used to pump excess water from the lowlands back to the sea. Most of these old mills are still functional. As previously mentioned, BD's cousins live in a windmill. They have lived in it for over thirty years. As part of their rent, they are required by the government windmill preservation society to operate the mill from time to time to keep everything in good working order. Her cousins husband gave us the full tour of the mill with a complete explanation of the inner workings including the Archimedes screw and all the other intricacies. It was interesting to learn that the Dutch call the blades "wings" and the cap is sometimes referred to as the "turret".

The new kind of mills are even more much so that on almost any horizon, you can probably see one. They are used to generate electricity.

After that it was back to base to rest up for the next day's activities.

More to follow in a few more days.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.


JB's Big World said...

Nice post! said...

Gostei deste post que me fez recordar minha viagem a Netherlands, em especial a Amsterdam. As fotos estão muito bonitas e as informações também.

Seu website é muito bom!

Dennis said...

We in Europe to dear trains. In Germany the train is beside the car the most-used means of transportation. These double floor trains go in Germany mostly in the conurbations.In Amsterdam I also am sometimes, there I need by the train approx. 3 hours there, a very nice city. I live approx. 1 hour drive away from the Dutch border.
Greetings from summery Germany

ProPilots said...

Looks like a great place to visit! I have not been there yet.

I did have 20 hours in London on Monday. Always rough when you fly through the night to get there around 0900. Then leave the following day at 0700 for the 9 plus hour trip back.


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