Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yesterday and Today

We've been so busy keeping warm in the cold Dutch winds that I haven't had a chance to update the blog.  Our barge is now parked by the town of Gouda (Howda).  G's are pronounced strangely in Dutch.  For example "Van Gogh" sounds a little like "Van Hawk" pronounced by someone with a bad cold.  

In the morning, we took our first bike ride through an area sprinkled with windmills, 19 of them, scattered around some canals.  The windmills are all functioning, completely constructed of wood, and were originally erected there to pump water out of the canals, I'm not exactly sure why.  They explained all of this to us, but somehow it didn't register.  The bikes travel with us on the barge.  They all are big, substantial bicycles with seven gears, pedal brakes and hand brakes, pretty easy to ride.  There are bike trails all over the Netherlands, and bike vacations are very popular.  I can see why,  It's really a pleasure to cover the miles on a bicycle, through this pretty and very flat countryside.  Larry didn't try to ride, but instead walked with a group to the one windmill open to the public, where you can see the way the windmill keeper and his family lived, in a cold and noisy environment, sleeping in wooden box beds, and listening to the constant noise of the vanes turning in the wind.  It seems romantic, somehow, living in a windmill, but when I see it up close, not so much.

After the ride, we had a rare couple of hours of no activities.  Then a walk into Gouda from the canal, and a tour of beautiful stained glass windows in the Gouda church.  Dinner was on our own, so Larry and I had a quiet lovely dinner with some high end food in Gouda.  We chatted to the restaurant owner, and she said that we've had a perfect trip.  We've seen the tulips and we've had dinner in Gouda!  What more do you need?

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