Amsterdam - Day 3

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Europe » Netherlands
August 18th 2014
Published: November 10th 2017
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So today I had to get my laundry done, hard to believe but I'm starting to run out of clean clothes. Turns out the self serve laundry charges an extra €1.50 to do my laundry for me, sounds good to me, my morning became free again. I made my way to the dam again and grabbed some breakfast. Then I went meandering through some of the shops. They have some "interesting" souvenirs. Very creative pipes and multipurpose salt and pepper shakers. Just a thought, I think the idea of x-rated must come from the Netherlands flag XXX.

This afternoon I'd booked a tour to Zaandse Schans, where they have the windmills. The windmill we went to was called Het Jonge Schaap, it was a saw mill. The top of the windmill can rotate depending on the direction of the wind. Additionally, the sails can be adjusted to full, half, etc depending on the strength of the wind. Pretty clever these Dutchies. Once the trees are cut down they are left in the water for a year. Then they haul them out of the water using a winch powered by the windmill. The logs are then stripped of their bark
Zaandse Schans Zaandse Schans Zaandse Schans

I don't think these are my size
and cut up. The saw mill cuts 1m every hour dragging the log through the saw using the wind power, the saw cuts on the downstroke and the log is moved forward 2mm on the up stroke. The wood is dried in the wind then put back in the water. Back in the day there were around 200 windmills in the Zaandse region. They were used to pump water, cut wood, grind flour, peanut oil, all sorts of stuff

As we drove away from the windmills, the guide pointed out the peat islands. Each paddock here is surrounded by canals. This is because it is reclaimed land. Once upon a time this area was a large lake. The water was pumped out and the land reclaimed. Water coming onto the land now is pumped into series of canals that feed into the ocean (such waste!) the whole area is protected from the sea by some really big dikes (not the lesbian kind) 27% of the Netherlands land mass has been reclaimed in this way (that's a lot of canals, dikes and dams) Our guide said pumping out the freshwater stops the saltwater coming in from the ocean, buggered if I know how that works.

We made our way to Volendam. A little fishing village....well not really a village anymore. The seafront was insanely cute, I took lots of pictures. The tour included a trip to the cheese factory where they explained how the cheese is made...nothing new to me. But they did have some lovely smooth creamy cheeses though. We stopped for lunch, I had some sate kippers. Quite nice but a little chewy. Then it was a boat ride to Marken, another little fishing village dating back to the 1100's. The boat ride was beautiful and sunny, but as we pulled into Marken the rain came down. If the sun was shining it would have been a lovely walk through the village, but the wind was fierce and the rain was pouring, reminded me of Melbourne. We went to a clog maker. The clog maker, Bart, showed us how he made the clogs on machines that are almost 80 years old. Its their birthday tomorrow. (A little dutch humour) Essentially a chunk of wood is put into the machine and then it cuts the shape of the clog based on a mold. Then it's put into a second machine to carve out the inside. The only manual part is at the end when he cut off then ends and shapes them. Then the clogs are hung for two weeks to dry (the wood is still green when the clogs are cut) after which they are sanded and painted. That's a long time to wait for some shoes. After the clog workshop we were back on the bus to Amsterdam. The road out of Marken was built on a dike. Kinda cool.

Last bit of culture for the day was a visit to a sex museum which I walked past on the way home. As expected there was a lot of porn. What was not expected was how old porn actually is. Seriously the ancient Greeks and Chinese were into it. Although some cultures really like to overstate their status. Seriously Japan, we all know your not packin'

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