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Friday, November 13, 2009

Molen van Kinderdijk (Mills of Kinderdijk)

Wind mills are one of the first things that would come to your mind when I say Holland. After, 10 months of living here, I finally went to visit these rotating beauties ( well, technically not rotating any more). Kinderdijk is a small village in the the province of North Holland. It is situated at a point where two rivers Lek and Noord meet. To drain the excess water in this region a group of 19 windmills were built in 1740. Apart from being in the UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites, it is also one of Netherlands' top tourist spots.

The name of the place, Kinderdijk originates from a legend which has it that on the Saint Elizabeth's Flood of 1421, after the storm had subsided, a small basket was visible in the dike area. A cat was jumping from one edge of the basket to the other, to keep it afloat. On bringing the basket to land, a baby was found in it asleep, dry and safe. Hence the name, Kinderdijk or Child's Dike.

From Eindhoven, we took a train to Dordrecht and waited for a bus to fetch us to Kinderdijk. Now, who knew the bus driver would forget to change the number on the display of the bus while he was at our stop? We were gleefully talking right in front of it while the bus took off. We had to wait for one hour more for the next bus. We obviously crashed into Smullers again for frites. :)

It was lunch time when we reached Kinderdijk. The place was extremely windy and cold. One of our rather thin friends actually tried lifting one of her legs to check if she could fly :D. Except for some threatening shakes, she couldn't defy gravity. We were all disappointed! Nov 1st was the last day to take a tour inside the wind mills. We were just in time for that. One wouldn't even imagine how such a cozy house could be built in such small places. Every available square inch was packed with furniture and utilities -tables, chairs, a kitchen and several beds at different levels of the house. At the attic is where the huge gears of the wind mills were placed. Videos and models were placed at every point for a good explanation of the working of the house. And the stair cases! How narrow they were! We were wondering how anybody ever managed to climb up and down those "you are bound to fall one day" stairs.
Our lovely neighbors had somehow managed to pack lunches for all of us. We sat down at one of the benches on the way and gobbled up the food quickly, before the wind could beat us on it. There is a long pathway to walk/bike along the windmills. We walked till we could see all the19 of them. We sang songs as we walked further as the path became completely isolated (could have been the other way around, maybe! :) ).

We honestly hadn't picked a perfect day for this trip. That, we had all not gotten soaked to our skins in the rain that pelted down right after we got into the bus on our way back, was perhaps our biggest relief. I came back home a little soaked and tired, but I have finally seen the Dutch wind mills..:)

Picture Courtesy - Harish. S
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