Day 11- Andijk

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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Enkhuizen
July 6th 2010
Published: July 9th 2010
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I woke up and made my way downstairs and helped myself to some museli for breakfast. I could hear the twins from upstairs but when I came down, they were silent and distracted. They were supposed to be getting ready for school. I sat at the table and the twins stopped eating, so Von had to get out a Mickey Mouse clock and show them what time it was, and then they got ready faster. The twins started school at 8.30, and we had to take Fredric to the train station for 9 o'clock, because he had a train back to his uni to do some more study. So we slowly got ready, farewelled the twins and Von, and at quarter to 9, we got in the car and drove to Enkhuisen. We arrived at the train station, where we had been dropped off in the middle of the night, and said goodbye to Fredric. He took whatever stuff he had with him on the train

From Enkhuisen, we had a 2 and a half hour drive from North Holland to Zeeland. Most of the trip was on the freeway, but it went past Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which meant that everyone else was going into those cities for work. As we got into the traffic jam, the speed limit lowered from 100 to 70 to 50. Then, as we got out of it again, it went back up again. It was just Nana, Dad, Ben and I in the car, so we talked about anything on the way. It could have been stuff about Holland or what Ben had done since we last saw him or anything that people talk about. Ben's car had an inbuilt Satellite Navagation System, which kept blurting out words in Dutch. Because I don't speak Dutch, I couldn't understand it, but Nana and Ben could and they commented that it is very polite. So I took their word for it. Every now and then the radio came on automatically, only for a short while and told Ben of any traffic jams to avoid, then it would switch itself off again.

We left the freeways, travelling through fields and past the villages. Back in Australia, we have large fields filled with crops, often wheat or even larger paddocks with sheep or cattle, surrounded by old, rusty, falling down fences. In the Netherlands, it is different. There are lots of glasshouses to grow things like tomatoes, and all of the corn and the marigolds are grown in fields surrounded by man-made waterways and linked with small bridges. The fields themselves are not very big. The cattle have slightly larger fields, but no fences, except for across the bridges, because the cows don't go swimming in the water.

The country roads lead us towards the coast. We had travelled a long way, and we arrived at our destination when it was approaching lunch time. We walked inside, and Ben bought tickets. The place was called Waterland Neeltje Jans. It was built alongside the dams which are used to control the water level in Holland. Inside, we found some lunch from the cafeteria, which was self serve. We sat by the window and looked out across the salt water lake. It was there where we discovered the massive seagulls in Holland. They were probably twice the size of the ones back home.

At quarter past 12, we headed out to the boat that would take us for a cruize around the harbour. While we were waiting to board, we noticed one of the pillars that was extra for the storm surge barries had been transformed into a climbing wall for children. The children had to make their own way across on a small ferry raft, pulling a rope to get there.

We were let on the boat, and made our way to the top. Nana had a seat but the rest of us had to stand. The tour took three quarters of an hour and went out into the dam where the fish are caught. There wasn't as much to see as the boat tours on the Thames or the Seine or through the Amsterdam canals, but for what was there, it was pretty good. On the way back, we had a play with the face recognition software on the camera. We were supposed to be able to see seals, but we couldn't

When we made our way back to shore, we looked across at the old pillar being used as a climbing frame, and noticed it was now empty. We wondered why. We walked back towards the main centre and went inside to a small cinema, and watched a film describing how and why the barriers were built. It was pretty interesting and there was some massive machinery used just for the purpose of building it. They had to lay matrasses on the bottom of the sea to avoid it sinking in the sandy seabed, and the pillars were all brought in separately and built near the site. Then everything else was put in place and it was opened by the Dutch queen. The whole project took many years to build.

The film finished and we made our way towards the storm surge barriers, and walked into them. Between the first 3 pillars was a museum about what was called the Delta Project, describing everything about it, and a history of floods in the Netherlands. At the end, we were allowed outside, and could walk under the roadway, to a viewing platform, were we could appreciate the size of the project. We stayed there for at least 15 minutes, before walking back towards the main centre. Nana had to go the the toilet and everyone else wanted drinks, so we sat down again, and looked out again across the delta works, appreciating it more than we did at lunch time. Ben stayed inside with Nana, while Dad and I went outside to the childrens area, where they had set up a system of water works, with different types of raising, holding, and releasing water. Most of the children there wouldn' have had any idea about it, but we went through, looking at it, and I got an appreciation for the drainage system that is in place at home for rainwater that Grandad had made.

Then, Dad and I went over to the water slide that was in the Park. It was the type where you have a raft and go down in a straight line. Because there was two in a raft, with a maximum of 150 kilograms, we went together, probably just tipping over the 150 mark. Because we were heavier, we went faster and further down the slide, before at the end, when it didn't seem like it was going to stop then it suddenly did on the mat where it wasn't wet yet. Nana and Ben came out, and they took some photos, then we convinced Nana to go down the slide. It took forever for her to get up the stairs, lots of little kids passing her as she went, but she was good enough to go down, and a spectacle for anyone else watching.

We left the park, looking through the gift shop on the way, and headed back to the car. On the way, we noticed that the Army had gone down to the old pillar that was used as a climing wall, and was using it as a training excercise. We drove off, and because it was late, decided to stop in a small town off the freeway for tea. On the way, we were stopped by a bridge for at least 10 minutes as it raised to let a boat go underneath it. It was really interesting, although I thought that the boat could have gone through anyway without the bridge raising. We came into a small town that Ben had picked out on his satellite navagation system, driving over a moat and through a gate because the town used to be fortified. The streets were very narrow, not made for cars, but for people back in the 15th or 16th century. We managed to find a park and had a small walk through the town, before we found a hotel with a restraunt to eat at. The food we ate was slightly expensive, but really nice. It was well cooked and had lots of Dutch spices and was really well presented. After eating, we had a look at the old spiral staircase in the hotel, which went up to the rooms. It looked, and felt, alot older than the ones we had been up in Notre Dame and St. Pauls Cathedral.

When we left, we walked back through the streets, until Dad found a supermarket. He lead us inside, and we compared the Dutch supermarkets to the Australian ones. It was the simple things, like there being a longer breakfast cereal isle back home, and more cheese in the Dutch one. Dad asked for a couple of slices of the traditional Dutch cheese, which was delicious, and tasted like cheese, not like plastic that you get back in Australia.

We left the small town and drove back home, getting caught in the evening traffic, but it wasn't as bad as the morning. We got home at about 9, and the twins had already gone to bed, so we followed suit shortly afterwards.

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