Monday, 30 April 2012

Inside a Windmill

View going into Leiden
Windmill Museum
In Leiden we decided to visit the windmill museum, in spite of the fact I have visited Holland 3 times I had never seen one nevermind visited one. Windmills are a big part of Dutch heritage and there are some 1,200 windmills left in Holland. Now some organisations are trying to make perserve them, we saw quite a few dotted around in the countryside. Alessio enjoyed playing spot the windmill while in the train to Leiden.

The windmill had 7 floors and we were able to climb up to the 6th which disappointed Alessio as he wanted to get right to the top. The ground floor was the living area as you can see from the photos. I found the kitchen particularly cosy looking and could imagine feeling warmly welcomed into the room.

Some of the floors showed the different tools and equipment used in the mill, and some had miniature mills to look at. The ladders got taller and narrower as the higher we got and coming down you had to go backwards.

There are varying types of mills this one was a round stage mill, it has to be high as it must be able to catch enough wind about the surrounding buildings. The windmill`s function was to grind grain into flour, also seeds, wood, paper and other products.

I have recently read there is place called Kinderdijk which has 19 drainage windmills all in a small area,  it is on UNESCO World Heritage List, that would have been interesting to visit.

Visit a windmill and keep up this part of Dutch culture!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A View of The Hague

Walking into the Binnenhof
Knight`s Hall
Noordeinde Palace
A Lovely Tall Church
One of the few canals
Peace Palace
Escher Museum
Our day trip to The Hague took only 45mins by train from Amsterdam when we arrived it was grey and overcast, possibly would rain. It somehow matched my mood and I did not think much of The Hague so far. First of we explored the Binnenhof where the Dutch Government do their business of ruling the country.

Now the main reason to come to The Hague was to see the brilliant painting by Johannes Vermeer The Girl with The Pearl Earing. I have been determined to see it since I read the book and saw the film. We were lucky with our timing because it will see be going abroad, when we saw it, it was in the Prince William V Gallery. The painting was much smaller than I thought but quite amazing.

After a lovely lunch we walked around the shopping area, saw the Queens`s Palace, some lovely churches and buildings. The Hague does not have many canals but we did see a few.

We hopped on a tram which took us to the beach (another post) but stopped to look at The Peace Palace another amazing building, it houses the International Court of Justice. I would loved to have taken a tour which is possible but must be booked in advance.

Once we returned from the beach we stopped for coffee and cake, then walked on to see the former Royal Palace. there was a Queen Emma in the Netherlands and she resided here. It is now the Escher Museum. The sun had come out and my opinion of The Hague had greatly improved from the morning and we all really enjoyed our day exploring The Hague.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Botanical Gardens Zurich

Thursday before the spring holidays I went with the children from work to the Botanical Gardens in Zurich, we were rather lucky with the weather. Once there we looked at the tadpoles in the pond and there were many as you can see from the first photo. Then the children were able to run up and down a gently sloping hill which they loved to do.

Afterwards we explored the different flowers and plants on offer sadly the greenshouses were closed for renovation but we still had lots of fun. This part of Zurich is nice and nearby there is a great playground where we stayed for one hour.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Bikes in Holland!

So just returned home from our Dutch trip took many photos and have been looking through them deciding which ones I like. I was amazed at just how many bikes there are in the cities and how fascinating some of them look. Some has crates front and back, some have baskets, bags,  many are decorated individually and of course kids can sit front and back. No one wears a helmet here which of course is not so good and people cycle and text at the same time. You have to really be careful crossing the roads more so for bikes than cars.