We’d been graciously wined and dined in the convivial atmosphere of our new Longship Tor’s stylishly, comfortable dining room. With its expansive floor to ceiling windows, we’d again been offered the most magical views over the Amsterdam IJ as we had sailed out past the sparkling, city lights that glittered fairy-like on the water, creating their vibrant and colourful, reflections. These night time views of the canal city were both breathtaking and memorable.
We’d also had some opportunity to become acquainted with a few of our new travelling companions. Everyone appeared rather upbeat and happy in anticipation of the exciting days that lay ahead.
By morning, dearly beloved and I had awoken to find ourselves out in the charming Dutch countryside just a few kilometres East of Rotterdam.
Today we’d be visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk – home to some 19 Windmills that were originally built way back in the 18th Century to drain a polder that sits at the confluence of the Lek and Noord Rivers.
Kinderdijk literally means “Children’s Dike”.
The Dutch tell a wonderful little fable that relates back to the great floods of 1421, in which a cat was observed to work very hard at balancing a baby’s cradle by carefully jumping back and forth from one side to the other as the cradle continued to float dangerously through the rising waters. It is said that these clever actions by the cat caused the cradle to remain upright and afloat as it navigated towards a dike where the baby could be rescued. The infant is believed to have survived the floods, and all thanks to the wise actions of that quick-witted cat. And this is apparently how Kinderdijk originally got its name…or so we were told!.
Shortly after attending a Viking information session on the history of the Kinderdijk region, we’d left our longship and headed off to explore the windmills and view one of the “Ground Sailors” in operation. I had found it fascinating watching these old historical structures turning their blades, just as they’d done for hundreds of years. It was also great to have opportunity to view some of the internal living areas, the timber gears, windshafts and the other machinery used to drive the sails.
Unfortunately, the weather that morning was rather unpleasant….light drizzle and extremely chilly I recall. This tended to make our exploration less exciting than what it would otherwise have been.
Anyway…let’s just say we were now both very thankful to have those big warm cumbersome overcoats that we’d carried with us all the way through the more tropical climate of Singapore and the balmy spring days that had greeted us in Munich just a couple of short weeks ago! You know, somehow it seemed to make up for us having to carry them all that way. We were certainly very very pleased we had them with us on that chilly Spring morning in Kinderdijk.