VOV: Rotterdam, Netherlands – Day #2

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

I guess because people were still out in Rotterdam or possibly Amsterdam, they consolidated the dining rooms again and we were served on the 5th floor. Even still, it was nearly empty. We had very fast service. I chose the sea bass and Chuck had the chicken Kiev.

Being in port, the shops and casino were closed. The Ocean Bar band had the night off. The main stage was showing the movie – West Side Story. We opted to sit on the balcony and watch the boat action – cargo ships, yachts, water taxis, sailboats, and jet skis all vying for space on the water. It was a pleasant way to end the day.

I was up at 5:30 again. Since today’s tour left later than yesterday’s tour, I was able to get us some coffee from the Coffee Bar. We were also able to eat breakfast in the Lido.

I knew today would be hectic for the crew because some people on this voyage only took the first half of the trip and they would be disembarking. New passengers would be taking the second part of the trip back to Boston and they would be embarking later today. The rest of us would be taking tours or relaxing on the ship.

Our HAL tour today was titled “The Windmills of Kinderdijk.” The tour description:

The windmills of Kinderdijk, built in the 1700s, are collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 19 windmills that remain intact today are lined up along the riverfront, and were used to pump rising water to the canal and thus keep the village dry. Incidentally, the name of this charming village comes from the time of the St Elisabeth flood in 1421, when the villagers found a baby (kind) on the dike (dijk).

Walk along past the windmills and take look inside one of them for an up-close appreciation of how these simple machines harness the power of the wind in order to work — it is really quite ingenious.

You’ll have time for plenty of photos of the windmills and the countryside before returning to the ship.

Notes: This tour is available only to guests whose cruise does not begin or end in Rotterdam. Tour does not operate on holidays.

It was the same bus tour company today as it was yesterday, but I guessed they learned their lesson and we did not go over the bridge today but used a different route to leave the city. Our guide gave some of the same information as yesterday mostly focusing on the complete destruction of Rotterdam during WWII and its subsequent rebuilding. There are very few old buildings left.

Few left like this one
More that look like this one

It wasn’t long before we were out in the rural area. She talked about the great flood and how that disaster brought about the water management / canal system still in place today. Of course, electrical pumps have replaced windmills used to pump the overflow to the North Sea. However, she did say that if it was truly necessary, the government has said the windmills could be brought back into service. She was skeptical.

We passed a ship building factory and could see a portion of a huge yacht being constructed. She said the factory workers were under orders never to reveal their clients; however, “rumor” had it that this yacht belongs to Stephen Spielberg.

When asked about the Jeff Bezos yacht fiasco, she said that the government and Bezos had reached an agreement. The government acknowledged that the current bridges in question needed repairs and expensive maintenance. Bezos has agreed to pay for all new construction of bridges in order to get his “too tall” yacht out to sea when it is ready. Yay! Problem solved. 🙄

Once we arrived at the windmill area, we first watched a movie about the different theories on how the town got its name, how the canals were developed, and how the windmills worked. The movie was shown on multiple screens around the room like they do at Disney or Universal when you are standing in line waiting for the ride to start. Each screen would feature a character and they would speak to each other and to the audience about the topic at hand from their point of view. The main screen in the front would show the movie that they commented on.

We had to sit on backless chairs that I said were basically buckets turned upside down. The guide said it was so you could easily turn from screen to screen. “Easily” is a relative term.

After the movie, and a restroom break, the guide walked us up the path to the visitor center.

Sculpture depicting the baby and cat found floating in the flood

She told us the time to meet back at the restrooms. She said the visitor center had a cafe and gift shop. Then we walked to the 300-year-old windmills.

We were allowed to go inside one of them to see how a windmill keeper and his family lived and how the windmill worked. To go to each level of the dwelling, you had to climb up and down very narrow ladders. I had to stay stooped over most of the time while inside. I don’t know how they did it day after day.

But what really surprised me was the fact that most of the windmills in the area were private residences now. I would have liked to have seen inside one their homes to see how they were renovated and livable.

The private windmill residences had signs at their driveway entrance saying “private – do not enter”. Of course, we had some who were oblivious and started to walk down their driveways. The guide had to blow the whistle at them to get them to turn around.

It started to drizzle, and I was glad we had on our rain gear. We walked back to the visitor center. We had our picture taken in the wooden shoes. The guide said that some farmers still wear wooden shoes while farming. The shoes withstand the wet spongy ground, they are cool in the summer, and warm in the winter.

Chuck had an espresso while I shopped for a Christmas ornament.

I saw our guide making her way to the restroom area, so we knew it was time to get back to the bus. Chuck decided to go to the restroom. I said I would take his backpack and go on down the path to the bus since it had started to rain harder. Unfortunately, all Chuck heard was that I would take his backpack.

I’m sitting on the bus. More people are getting on the bus. I begin to wonder what is taking Chuck so long. Just before I am going to get off to go look for him, he gets on the bus. First, he had been looking for me around the restroom area. Then, he asked the guide the name of the bus to look for at the drop-off point. However, she told him the name of the company which was not the same as the name on the side of the bus. When he got to our bus and didn’t see the right name, he went back up the path (it was a long path) – all in the pouring rain. When he got the right name, he came back to our bus. He was not a happy camper. (I wanted to remind him that HAL tour busses always have the tour name in a sign on the front window, but that particular moment was not the time to do so.)

After we left the windmill area, we drove through the town of Kinderdijk. It has 25,000 people and considers itself a suburb of Rotterdam. To get to Rotterdam to work, most people take the water bus or a regular bus. If they take their own car, they try to park outside the city. If they park within Rotterdam city limits, it is $4.50 per hour per day. The guide said to park within the city limits of Amsterdam, it is $7.50 per hour per day and the government is thinking about raising that rate. No wonder so many people ride bikes.

We stopped in Delft.

Delft ceramic statue in the town

We walked to old harbor area. We saw the church that the Pilgrims left in order to find religious freedom in the New World.

We also saw old boats that are now used as permanent residences.

I just found this building humorous.

Once we got back to Rotterdam, we passed the Cube Houses. The guide said They were designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom in the late-’70s intended for lower to mid income families. They were built on concrete pillars with wooden framing, over a busy street, and designed asymmetrically to resemble an abstract forest, each triangular roof representing a treetop. She said the people for whom they were intended refused to live there – the 45-degree angle houses “were weird.”

Today, they sell for around $350,000+ euros each and, if ever one is for sale, never stays empty for long.

We had a short photo stop to be able to take a picture of the old HAL Rotterdam which now functions as a hotel.

As we were making our way back to the ship, the bus had to make a very tight right-hand turn on a sharp corner. It didn’t. The bus scraped hard down the side of a light pole and knocked off a hubcap. I’m glad it didn’t knock over the post as I assume we would have had to wait for the police. Instead, the driver retrieved the hubcap and we continued to the ship.

I have to believe he got into quite a bit of trouble from the company as the bus was dented and the paint all scratched up on one side. Our guide was already mad at him for his taking too long at our harbor stop for a restroom break so I feel sure she gave him no support on the accident.

Once we got back on the ship and out of our rain gear, we headed to the Dive In burger restaurant near the Lido pool for a late lunch. It has very good grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken sandwiches. I’ve never had their meatless vegetarian burger, but I heard it was good also. Their fries are always hot and crispy too. You can order a milkshake and pick it up at the Lido bar which we have done in the past but not today.

It wouldn’t be long before the sail-away party. At least the weather was clearing up.

FLOWERS (and a duck) from KINDERDIJK

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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