We plunged into the all Dutch way of life: off to the windmills! After a short train ride from Centraal Station, we arrived in Zaanse Schans – an outdoor museum village. Basically, a town that has been preserved as it was in the 17th and 18th centuries. A tourist magnet, but SO ADORABLE.
The Zaan region on the Netherlands became very prosperous as merchants and craftsmen. The windmills in particular were a powerhouse (literally heh heh). If the weather today was any indication, it’s pretty darn windy there all the time. So an energy source was never a problem. These mills were used for all sorts of things: saw mills, oil mills, dye mills. Apparently, they could provide up to 100 horsepower of energy! That’s pretty much more than my mom’s car. In the 1600s. Pretty damn impressive.
We saw a clock museum, the first grocery store in the region, a bakery museum, a clog-making shop, and a museum about the Zaan region in general. The Zann women were known as very fashionable. Harrumph. (make that as snooty sounding as possible).
We even saw a chocolate and biscuit making museum! Mmmmmmm. For a company called Verkade, which has been around for over 120 years and I guess is THE chocolate and biscuits to buy. There’s a chocolate factory right down the street still, and the whole town spelled constantly of chocolate mmmmmm.
The countryside was simply beautiful and adorable. The little houses, each establishment dates going back to the early 1600s. The sheep grazing in the marshy grasses. The little cobblestone streets. And the WINDMILLS. They’re amazing! Most of them had these giant stone wheels to grind up whatever it was they were grinding up. Each weighed over 5000 pounds. And there were two. Plus there were these giant gears that turned the movement fro the windmill into whatever they wanted. Some where almost 10 feet across and must have weighed 1000 pounds. How did they build these windmills??
We got to go up inside a couple. As usual the stairs were death. Even worse than the houses. I’m lucky to be alive. They still had thatched roofs and these adorable windows that you could look out and see the blades whipping around.
Overall, beautiful. The marshy land looked so peaceful compared to the never-ending bricks of Amsterdam.
On another note, went for some authentic Dutch food for dinner and saw this choice ad on the tram. The beginning (which I failed to catch) said: Which US Presidents have admitted to smoking cannabis?