Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Waterways of Holland and Belgium - Day 8
We spent the night at Enkhuizen, and in the morning took the ferry over to the Zuiderzee Outdoor Museum. This is a collection of homes and businesses from the original shores of the Zuiderzee, and it is nicely put together. The first thing we saw was three lime kilns. The 'live' businesses were a laundry, a bakery and an apothecary. The re were two houses that were occupied, and we got to go into one. The lady was cooking a soup that smelled very good. She was living the old way in the old house - including the sleeping cupboard. They had a school, which was actually a reproduction (the only one), and a church. We saw a really neat demonstration by a rope maker, and were privileged to see the gorgeous tile work in the bakery's tea room. Besides the floor tiles, there were tile 'paintings' on the walls. This was a really fun experience. At the end, just before we went back to the ship we saw a couple of things on the water that looked like dumplings - turned out they were mute swans, apparently looking for food under water. Their heads would come up out of the water periodically, so we were able to see what they were.
While we were eating lunch the ship set sail for Hoorn. We went through a lock in a canal that is above the roadway, a very unusual kind of experience. After docking, we walked along a dike over to where our motor coaches were waiting to take us to Volendam. We were originally supposed to dock at Volendam, but that was the day of the Pieper (peeper) races, so there was no place for us. Pieper means potato, and this was a traditional, special annual sailboat race. The countryside was beautiful, and along the way we saw many swans, geese and grey herons. The frequent heron sightings were a pleasant surprise.
Our bus drove along the dike at Volendam, before letting us off to see the city. Our program manager gave us a walking tour of the area, and then turned us loose for a while. In Volendam Harry & I bought our only souvenirs for the trip - a book on Holland and some Delft ceramic miniature clogs. We spent some time walking and observing the gorgeous sail boats. I guess they'd more accurately be described as sailing yachts. They were quite a sight, littering the ocean with their presence, with many different rigging and sail configurations. There were thousands of people present, both for the races and for the Volendam vs. Rotterdam soccer game (Volendam won 2-10). When we were ready to leave we got held up in traffic. Someone had seen an ambulance and it turned out that a woman had fallen in the street. Fortunately the wait was not too long, and hopefully the woman's injuries weren't too bad. Cobblestone streets can do that to you.
Hoorn is another gorgeous Dutch town, with lots of sailboats moored in the harbor. Apparently they had had five days of cold and clouds, so the sunshine we found that day was very welcome. It was to us also, as our day in Friesland had been cold and somewhat rainy.
In the evening our entertainment was the crew show, which was hilarious. It ended with the crew grabbing people out of the audience to dance, and pretty soon everyone was in the dance line - except Harry who was videotaping the whole thing. It was a great evening, a great end to a great day. As we went to bed we had to realize that the criuse was winding down, because in the morning we would be back in Amsterdam.