Day 13- Andijk to Huizen

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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Huizen
July 9th 2010
Published: July 9th 2010
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We had to wake up early to pack our things up, because we were leaving Ben and Von that day. The twins again had school, so we said goodbye to them, and we think that they understood us, because they only speak Dutch and we only spoke English. With our things in our bags, we took them downstairs and left them in the laundry and helped ourselves to breakfast, again museli. We said goodbye to Von, who was taking the twins to school, and Dad, Ben and I got in Ben's car and drove off towards the east, leaving Nana behind, still yet to pack some of her things.

As we drove, Ben and Dad started talking about family history. I was listening in, finding it a facinating topic. There was so much that I didn't know, and that I was learning, and I was very sure I would find out over the next couple of days. Some of it amazed me, some of it shocked me, yet it was all very interesting. As we drove, we reached the poulders, which are the areas that have had water drained out of them for farming land. we drove onto one of the dikes, which had farmland on one side, and water on the other that was going to the sea. The water was much higher than the fields though.

Whe drove just a little further to a windmill, which had a shed to the side and a building to the other. This was a tourist windmill, because most of the other ones had closed down due to the introduction of electric pumps. Inside the building, Ben bought tickets for us, and we went into a small black room with a projected screen that had a short film about windmills, how they were built and how they work. We then walked through the shop, looking at the displays and models of the windmill, and the different tools that were used in it. Then we went outside to look at it. One of the workers was starting it up for the day, turning it quarter turns then attaching the sail. Once he had done all four, he let the windmill go and it started turning with the wind. It was amazing, and to see one working is much different to seeing one staying still.

Before we went into the windmill, we had a look at the small shed beside it, and found that it was used for repairs. The small wooden pieces of wood that are used to turn the cap of the mill were made with a special machine that involved two wheels with a pulley between them. Not knowing this, I turned one of the wheels and saw that it rotated the piece of wood and a surface plane would be used to make it round, so it would roll. I kept turning but there was no blade in the plane so it wouldn't carve anything. There were other bits and pieces, some in good condition, others needing repair that were in the shed.

Then we walked around to the side, where we could see under the windmill to where the water was being raised. The windmill turned an Archimedian Screw which raised the water, but there wasn't a very strong wind so it wasn't working very well because all of the water poured out of the side gap between the wooden screw and the brick tunnel. We still watched it for a while, then had a look at the system that brought the water down back a level. Then we walked into the windmill. It was a 4 storey high mill, the bottom floor being the windmill keepers house, where he and his family lived, all of their equipment and the fireplace. Dad wondered where the chimeney went but he was told that it went into the top of the windmill because smoke made it turn better. There was a glass panel where we could see into the middle and the pair of gears which turned the main shaft and the Archimedian screw. It was a pair of wooden gears, like the ones we had made on the computer back at school, but much bigger and smoother.

The second floor just had two displays on them, which showed how the water is raised from the farms to the river which lead to the sea. There were a total of 6 levels, but that was built for the method of a paddle, which could only raise the water 1 meter, so when they brought in the Archimedian screw method, they could abolish 3 windmills and 2 levels of water, but they were still shown anyway. It was an interesting setup, but now with electric pumps, it is not the case. There was nothing on the 3rd floor, because it was basically a platform for the ladders to get to the top. At the top, we could see the set of gears that went from the windmill blades to the main shaft. There was also a complex system for moving the windmill around, that would be too long and complicated to describe. It was interesting though to just watch it turn and stand there inside the thatched roof doing so. We stayed there for quite a while, just watching it turn.

When we eventually left, we slowly made our way down the ladders and stairs, and out of the windmill, to watch it turn some more. Dad and Ben went inside to get a coffee, and once they had drunk it, we left back home. I read the brochure of the windmill, then looked lasily out the window. We were soon in Andijk, and arrived at Ben and Von's house. We loaded up the car with all of our bags and picked up Nana and said goodbye to Von, and after a couple of photos, we left Andijk. Ben drove us along the dike that was planned for the new poulderworks, but after they had finished it, they decided that they didn't want any more land, so they left it like a causeway. We drove the 30 kilometres along it before we arrived in Lelystad, which was a new town where they tried to build in the old Dutch Style but didn't do a good job of it. We ate our lunch, sandwiches that Nana and Von had made by an old reconstructed ship that was on the coast in a place called Batavia Werf. We watched the bridge at the lock go up and down several times as big ships went through.

We continued on, and arrived at Naarden, which was a fortified town near where my grandfather had grown up. We arrived at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and went for a tour to the top of the tower of the church in the middle of Naarden. It was just Dad, Ben and me on the tour, because Nana stayed down because she didn't want to climb the stairs.

The tour was conducted by an old man, who said that the tower was not owned by the church, but by the community, as a lookout for the surroundings. We made our way up the spiral staircases to the first floor, which was a display room, where the guide described some history about the church to us, things like why and how it was built, and why and how Naarden was built, and the church and its towers involvment in the 80 years war, the war against the French and World Wars 1 and 2. The saddest part was the massacre of all the men in Naarden by the Spanish in the 80 years war, because all of the Dutch thought the Spaniards were allies, then the Spaniards came into the town, were served food, then told all the men to go to the town hall for instructions, where they were murdered. That was what started the war between the Netherlands and Spain which lasted 80 years.

We had climbed up many spiral staircases on our holiday so far, such as the ones in St. Pauls Cathedral, Notre Dame, the Tower of London, and the small hotel that we were in the day before, but these ones were differnent. All of the other ones had been made of stone, but these ones were made of small bricks like the ones that were used to pave the roads. All of the other ones had roofs that were basically the bottom of the stairs ahead, but these stairs were clearly divided into 4 square sections, where the roof stopped and went up another metre for the next square section. But like the other staircases, it had many doors leading off it, which our guide described. Some lead to the organ, others lead to different things inside the roof.

The next landing we came to was where the bells were. We arrived just before half past 2 which meant the bell rang while we were there. It was only a small bell, but it was very very loud, so we had to cover our ears. I didn't for the first ring, and I could hear it ringing for a long time afterwards. It was explained to us that the little one rings on the half hour, and the big one on the hour, so we were glad we weren't up there half an hour later.

We went up next section of stairs which went to the bit inside the clock. In the middle of the room was a machine with 4 poles that went out to all 4 clock faces on the tower, and every few seconds, it turned and the clocks would turn too. The clock didn't have a second hand so I assumed that the little turns were fractions of a minute where the big hand moved slightly. From there, it was another short staircase before we came out onto the top of the tour. From their we could see for miles, as far away as West Amsterdam, where all the big buildings are. We could also see the strategic layout of the streets and walls of Naarden, because Naarden was as much a military tactic as a town, but now the perimeter is used as recreation facilites rather than defense. We could see out to Huizen, where we would be later in the day, and out in all of the other directions. We had a chat to our guide about the city of Huizen, because that is where Ben, and my Grandfather grew up. We stayed up there for a while, and would have stayed there longer if the guide didn't have to bring another group through. So we made our way down again.

We said goodbye to the guide, and thanked him, before going around to the front of the church, where inside, we were supposed to meet Nana. We walked in, and there were a number of people looking around the church. Yet, we couldn't find her. So we sat down and, with mirrors, looked at the paintings on the roof. One of the guys who were working their came over and explained to us that the two lots of paintings were 'parallels' between the New Testament and the Old Testament of the Bible. I am not a religious person, but I still knew what he was talking about. Then Nana came over with Leidy, who is the lady we would be staying with, and joined the conversation. When it came just between Nana and the guide, we left her and greeted Leidy. I was told that Leidy was my grandfather's girlfriend before he left for Australia, and she wouldn't go with him, so she stayed in Holland, yet they kept in touch, and now that she and Nana are both widows, they are good friends. When Nana finally finished talking, we went outside and had drinks at a small cafe.

From there, we said goodbye to Ben, and loaded all of our bags into Leidy's car. They just managed to fit. Then, she drove us to Huizen, and down the road where my Grandfather used to live. Alot was being explained to me about the history of everything, and slowly, I was able to piece it together. I was having a massive family history lesson, and I was enjoying it. When we arrived at Leidy's house, we walked through her garden, which is large and very well kept because it is just about the only thing she does when she is at home. She showed us the house and took us upstairs and we prepared the beds.

It was getting close to tea, so we walked out to find some. It was a very short walk to the town square, which is good fowr a person like Leidy, who is 79, but we weren't going to eat there. Instead we walked past the Huizen museum, where Leidy has donated alot of her mothers stuff, and through the streets to the harbour. There was a restraunt where Nana and Leidy often ate at. I ordered a beaf steak, and everyone else had diffrent things, we had to wait a while though, because we all thought we were waiting for food, when we hadn't even ordered yet. The food was good though, the meat was juicy and the salad was made to perfection. It looked very good as well, and it made me think that we hadn't yet had any bad food in Europe, unlike some of the restraunts back home.

We walked back to the house, and I immediately turned on the television to watch the second half of the World Cup Semifinal between Germany and Spain. Most of Holland wanted Germany to win, but I secretely wanted Spain to, because it meant that I wouldn't be torn between Germany and Holland in the Grand Final. Spain scored the only goal, which was enough to secure a place in the final against Holland. After that though, I was tired at went to bed.

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9th July 2010

Bulk update
Great to read of 3 of your dutch days all at once, realising that you have not had easy internet access these past days. Fascinating family history and perhaps seeing a life of Kees that you / we didn't know much of. Back home.... scandal! Marion has been eliminated from Masterchef! Yesterday, not a work day, Tim and I made a bow from a willow spa and arrows from willow and bamboo. He has been firing then into the hay bales and cardboard perhaps like Will in the Rangers Apprentice books or like the Bushman in The Gods Must be Crazy as we watched this movie the day before - Tim enjoyed the philosophical angles behind the stories, enthocentricity, religion, war, purpose and women. Today we might find a new, less dangerous bike for him. We now have at least 2 lambs. We are in the end of a storm - I hope, as it is blowing, blowing, blowing - 80km/h or 129km/h on Kangaroo Island. There might be a bit of rain behind it, but the creek -filling is of course behind schedule. I have heard a trickle 100m downstream of 6 ways but not much evidence of it in the forest dam at CC2. There's a medium-sized bough off Leidy's tree, and Tim and I will scout for other damage today. Once again, thanks for the travelblog update, and its so good to hear of all your knew learnings. Everybody is enjoying reading them.

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