Our original plan had been to rely on public transport, but as we started looking at what we wanted to do, and where we wanted to visit, it became apparent that this was going to be quite difficult, and actually fairly expensive. So, I did a little googling and found a local car-hire place.
First thing in the morning, John and Phil set out and picked up the car, and when they returned, we went out for a trip to Volendam. We have been here before, so we managed to find it quite easily and parked under the shopping centre. First stop was my favourite dutch shop, HEMA. This is sort of like Woolworths, but nicer, much nicer. They also sell really nice stationary, and I found lots of pretty tape; in fact I was inspired to photograph it….
I only brought one pack, but I may have to go back for more.
We were actually after a swimming costume for Katie, but we didn’t see anything we fancied, so we left Hema, and walked through Volendam,. We did see a few shops selling swimming costumes but they were mostly designer brands with designer prices, so we didn’t buy anything.
Volendam is a very pretty tourist destinations, where visitors arrive by the coachload, so it was quite busy along the harbour area. We wandered along, avoiding tourists (whilst, obviously being tourists)
and found a little shop selling swimming costumes, so we managed to pick up one for Katie that fit, she liked, and was only 12 Euros. So I was quite pleased with that.
There was a very touristy shop complete with cheese making factory, so since we were being tourists, we went in and had a look
We made it right down to the end of the harbour
and then we decided we were hungry, so we went in search of some lunch. We decided on some fish and chips since we were at the harbour, and Katie and I had fish, whilst Phil and Molly had hot dogs. The portions were huge, we could have probably split 2 meals between us.
while we were eating lunch, we got a text from Jane to say they were back home, and did we fancy visiting a windmill museum in the afternoon. That sounded like a good plan, so we finished our lunch and headed back to the car. We stopped in another supermarket and picked up something for dinner, and then headed back to Monnickendam to meet up with Jane and Jolanda.
The museum we went to was amazing. http://www.zaanseschans.nl/
It was set out like a small village, with lots of working windmills all along the canal. And it was free! We had to pay to park, and pay a small amount to enter a windmill, but the vast majority of the museum was free. It was very very busy, with lots of tour bus groups, but it was still quite pleasant to walk around and look at the windmills.
(lots of photos of windmills, coming up)
We climbed to the top of the windmill in the middle of this photograph,.
well, truth be told, they climbed to the top, I climbed to the viewing platform and decided that was high enough for me. To get up and down the levels you had to climb quite steep ladders. the first floor had an up and a down ladder, but the higher levels shared a ladder for up and down. they all disappeared up the ladder, and then people started coming down, and more came down, and more. I wish I’d counted as it seemed an impossible number of people to have been on the upper level. Just person after person appearing out of this little hole in the floor. Eventually, my family returned and they said when they had gone up the upper 2 levels were full, but they were the last people down and it was now completely empty. It was quite bizarre just watching all of these people appearing down this ladder.
This windmill was used to make paint, by grinding chalk.
(view from very rickety feeling platform)
(Molly took this from the very top!)
we eventually made it back down all the ladders, and walked along past some more windmills. I was trying to take a photo without 100s of tourists in it, but it was pretty much impossible,.
Until I found a jetty that stuck out into the water, and I managed to get one decent shot.
This is across the river from the museum, some lucky people live in those beautiful houses,.
We walked along and found a shop selling ice-creams, so we all got ice-creams or milkshakes, and sat out in the sunshine enjoying them. We managed to find a corner without any bus tour groups which was quite a bonus, as they were pretty much everywhere.
and then we headed back home.