Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rhine Getaway: Kinderdijk, Netherlands (4/24/2014)

Thursday, April 24, 2014
If it is Thursday, we must be in the Netherlands. When I finally found a kilometer marker to find out where we were, it was in the 860s and we were nearing the Netherlands. Here the Rhine is the Rijn.
Oceangoing barge at about the widest part of the Rhein
Once entering the Netherlands the Rhein splits into many branches. I will only concern myself with where we travel. At KM 866, the river split north into the Pannerden Canal while we stayed on the Waal River.
Pannerden Canal splits off
If you stepped outside on this hazy morning, it smelled like a barn.
Scottish Galloway cattle in Millingerwaard Nature Reserve
Wild Konik horses in Millingerwaard Nature Reserve
Fishermen, with a dike behind them
Nijmegen, oldest town in the Netherlands,
with De Belvédère (1511) above the bridge
Grote St Stevenskerk/Great St Stephens Church (1260-1560)
in Nijmegen
Another castle?
No, railroad bridge abutment towers
Honig, brand of wheat starch, factory, now part of
a shopping/entertainment complex
At 10:00 we had a presentation on Dutch Water Management, which was much more interesting than its title, as promised by Program Director, Ryan. Then a demonstration of Sjoelen/Dutch shuffleboard.
Sjoelen/dutch shuffleboard board
Paul and Brynne try putting
Well-organized cables for the wheelhouse
Lunch appetizers: Dutch Herring with traditional garnish, and Selection of Dutch Cheese.
Entrée: Hutspot: Dutch Beef Stew with potatoes, carrots and celery root.
Sandwich: Strammer Max Deluxe with mortadella, salami, Emmental cheese and olive relish.
Soup: Creamy Dutch Cheese Soup with caramelized walnuts and grapes (yes, in the soup!).
Pasta: Penne alla Gismondi with smoked salmon and creamy tomato sauce.
Desserts: Vanilla Rice Pudding with strawberry sauce, or Flying Dutchman: Dutch strooper waffle (two thin crisp waffles with caramelized syrup between them) with ice cream.
What's that?
The Slob Shipyard
    De Ark van Noach/The Ark of Noah
    (2012 by Johan Huibers) in Dordrecht
    Some life-size plastic animals, plus some live animals aboard
    30 m/98' wide, 23 m/75' high and 135 m/443' long
    If I was patient, I would have figured out the route we were taking to Kinderdijk. After asking around, I was sent to see the captain in the wheelhouse. Captain Timmer patiently explained which rivers we were taking, and as I left the wheelhouse, I saw us turn into the Noord River!
    Turnoff for the Noord River
    Bellevue Groothoofd/Hotel and restaurant in Dordrecht
    Bikers on the dike
    At 14:00 we had a presentation on Going Dutch where we had samples of Gouda and Amsterdamer cheese, and of jenever liqueur.
    We followed the Noord River to the Lek River, made a right turn and docked at Kinderdijk. At 15:00 we set off for the included shore excursion.
    Kinderdijk is a small village associated with polders/tracts of land enclosed by dikes that were once drained by a system of 19 windmills built around 1740. It was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
    There are many theories as to why the area is called Children's Dike, a popular story being that after the great St Elizabeth flood in 1421, people came to the dike to see what could be saved, and saw a cradle bobbing along with a cat jumping from side to side to balance the cradle. Inside they found a sleeping baby, and thus the legend of the Cat and the Cradle.
    This area may originally have been to harvest peat, an inexpensive source of fuel from around 4000 BCE. It includes at least two sections, the Overwaard and Nederwaard, that each had its own water board to oversee water management.
    Overwaard water board assembly house (1581) (KSS)
    Overwaard water board assembly house entry (KSS)
    Dog area (KSS)
    Water was pumped by the windmills in intermediate stages, and depended on river tides to allow excess water to flow into the river. Eventually steam-driven pumps were installed in 1868 to raise the water to the height of the rivers. The windmills were again used during World War II when there was as shortage of diesel fuel, but operation stopped in 1945. Today there are eight surviving wooden windmills (1740) in Overwaard and eight stone windmills (1738) in Nederwaard, as well as an additional two stone windmills (1760) to the east, and a rebuilt 1521 windmill in the south.
    General view of Kinderdijk,
    Overwaard to the left and Nederwaard to the right
    People can choose to live in the windmills if they maintain them in working order.
    J U Smit Pumping Station (1971) (KSS)
    It's hard to show varying water levels
    J U Smit Pumping Station Archimedes screws
    View of seven of the stone windmills
    View of six of the wooden windmills, plus two stone windmills
    First of the stone windmills (Viking)
    Rear of the first stone windmill (KSS)
    The second stone windmill is open to visitors as the Museummolen/Mill Museum.
    Sluice from the second stone windmill
    White stones mark the circle the blades can travel
    when the cap of the windmill is rotated (KSS)
    Fish trap
    Looking up the upright shaft beam (KSS)
    For some reason, they had alternating colored lights shining on the workings of the windmill.
    The 'wallower' is in gear with the
    shaft of the exterior windmill blades (KSS)
    Brake handle and brake rope (KSS)
    Linen closet
    View of the third stone windmill
    Not much headroom inside
    The miller and his family lived on the lower floors.
    Children's alcove bed
    Scoop wheel
    (note ladder access to upper floors)
    The miller's family in their Sunday best (KSS)
    The living room (KSS)
    Living room fireplace (KSS)
    Windmill blade,
    which could turn with or without a canvas cover
    The contraption to turn the cap of the windmill,
    which is how you turn the blades to face the wind
    Wooden shoe (KSS)
    Water level is 70 cm/ below the river level
    The smallest polder in the world?
    We had to be sure we returned to the Viking Gullveig by 17:15, since the ship was departing at 17:30!
    We continued up the Lek River towards the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal/Amsterdam Rhine Canal.
    Another windmill
    Water tower in Schoonhoven (KSS)
    At 18:30 we had the Farewell Cocktail Reception.
    Captain Gideom Timmer
    Hotel Manager Rebeka
    Followed by the Daily Briefing.
    Chef de Cuisine Klaus
    Onboard Musician Peter
    There was a major rush for tables for dinner. We saw the daughter of the man in a wheelchair looking at tables, and noticed her usual table near the door was full. So Kent ran after her to offer our table, as two of us could easily change to another table to make room for her party of three at out table for six. The woman thanked him, but said the Maître d' would take care of them. It turned out that the Maître d's solution was to ask at our table if we would shift our seats to leave the two near the aisle empty, and he would add another chair for the party of three. Since we had wanted to help this family anyway, of course we obliged, and even moved the table so that the extra seat did not impede the way of waiters.
    The daughter of the 96-year old man has been traveling with him for 20 years, and this was the first time she brought her partner with her, to help with pushing the wheelchair over cobblestones. They turned out to be compatible and very interesting dinner companions.
    The Captain's Farewell Dinner.
    Amuse-bouche: Chicken Satay.
    Appetizers: Salmon Tartare with baby greens and honey mustard dip, or Crisp Tandoori Chicken & Parmesan Foam with tomato salad.
    Tonight, everyone had soup: Roasted Forest Mushroom Velouté with crisp bacon, mushroom chips, and truffle sabayon.
    Cassis Sherbert with Sparkling Wine (as palate cleanser).
    Entrées: Deconstructed Beef Welington with garden vegetables, gratin potatoes and truffle jus, or
    Pan-fried Prawns & Saffron Beurre Blanc with creamy risotto and sautéed fennel.
    Desserts: Crisp Dark Walrhona Chocolate Tart with mango salad, or
    Ice Cream, or Sorbet.
    Cheese plate: Reblochon and Gouda.
    Suggested wines: Grüner Veltliner and Blauer Zweigelt from Winery Mörwald, Wagram, Austria.
    (Okay, the wines seemed to be the same every day, except Taste of Germany night!)
    Tonight was the night to pay the bills and pack.
    Tomorrow: Amsterdam.

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