Sunday, July 25, 2010
I AM IN THE NETHERLANDS
"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God! Feb. 17, 1944, Anne Frnak
I traveled alone today to Kinderdijk. As always I am never really alone. I really loved my trip. Merit and I decided last night that I should take the bus number 135 from the train station. I went to get my ticket and the person thought I should take the train to Rotterdam, before you know it I had a ticket and no idea of my next step. She was helpful as she game me a print out of the second train to take but did not know my bus connection. It was funny because I was sitting on the train for Rotterdam when Merit comes on and says hi to me. It was good to see her for I had second thoughts as to the new route I was now on. Merit was going to church in Rotterdam. She is an angel and she helped me find my way to the platform in Rotterdam. I then went to Rotterdam Lombardijen and there was NO ONE there. The information desk was closed on Sundays and I looked around but it seemed that Bonnie Conly was the only one on earth. There were no coffee shops or businesses. I saw the bus stop but was really unsure. I went back to the info desk to check posters for schedules, I later knew I wasted time as I ended up missing my bus and waited an hour for the next one. Eventually I ventured out to see what I could make of this place and soon a gal came along. She could speak enough English to help me get to the Kinderdijk bus stop. Bus 90. That was another choice I had from Utrecht to ride the bus about 2 hours to Kinderdijk. It is the normal local bus that stops at every neighborhood. I stood and stood, finally after 45 minutes a young man from Italy came up to me and wanted to know if I knew how to get to Kinderdijk. Sure I did. I showed him the bus schedule and route on the post. It was nice to know I had a companion for the trip. On the bus were a couple from Hong Kong and the wife had taught in Toronto for three years so we chatted on route. It felt like our own little tour group as the Italian, the couple from Hong Kong and I arrived at the Kinderdijk and boarded the half hour boat ride on the canal to see the 19 windmills. It was incredible. It is a World UNESCO Heritage Site and hands down I say. It was just before the rain as we started out on the canal. The rain gently fell as we floated like a whisper along the dijk. So many amazing vistas and photo ops. I then walked along the canal. I should have rented a bicycle, it would have truly made me dutch, but I wanted to sketch and take photos. The rain stopped after I viewed the one mill that is open to tourist. All the other mills are still in operation and most of them are also residences. I enjoyed my lunch and walked along the dijk taking photos. Then I started a small painting and was stopped by a down pour. Some curious visitors stopped to talk to me to see my drawings. It was so relaxing. Even in the rain, it is quite a place. I walked about with my umbrella and tried to photograph the flowers and the grebes. I have some nice shots, however many are too dark due to the over cast day and my inexperience as a photographer. I just missed the 2:00 bus by minutes so I went back for coffee and tried to photograph the grebes again but they did not want to come to my side of the canal. I did see some kids swimming in the canal and a couple of men fishing. While I was there the one fellow caught two fish. The canal water here didn't look so bad, but on the way back to Rotterdam the smaller canals are covered in algae. I managed to be on time for the 3:oo bus. I chatted it up as always with a couple from Australia who have been in Europe since early June. They are seeing it all. I had no problems finding my way back by bus then the smaller train then the larger train into Utrecht. Well to tell the truth I did ask a Dutch gal if I was on the right track and she was going to Rotterdam Centraal Station as well so she helped me to my platform. The Rotterdam Lombardijen station is so small that there is no attendants on Sunday. She was so pleasant and gave me a nice smile when I got up for my connection to Utrecht. Every one is always helpful to me. I find too that many people ask me to take a picture of them for me with the sites in the background. I must look trustworthy. I recommend this trip to everyone. You really feel you are in Holland and you are in the country and see the plodders, the cattle, goats and sheep. I was home by 5:oo. I went and got a few groceries and made a supper. I burnt my hamburger and set off the smoke detector. Had a little excitement over that. Then I went across the hall to where most of Saskatoon students are because Sonja and Nicole planned a wonderful Dutch Cheese Party. I think this is what Malcolm will get for his birthday.
It is late and bedtime. I had a very nice day to myself and with friends, I found the peace and quiet I needed. Class tomorrow.