Dams and Twerps Part III

Posted by on September 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm :: No Comments

In this post, I cover the last couple days of our European vacation. And you thought it would never end…

Day 7: Spicy Masterpieces

Since we had been getting up between 6:30 and 7:30 every morning in order to have enough time to sightsee before attractions closed at 5 PM, we welcomed a dawn when this wasn’t necessary. Sleeping in until 8:30 felt delightful. We spent the bit of time before our train ride to Amsterdam doing a little shopping in Antwerp, the city of fashion.

At the Rembrandtplein, a pleasant park, The Night Watch has been turned 3D.

At the Rembrandtplein, a pleasant park, The Night Watch has been turned 3D.

After we arrived back in Amsterdam, we headed to the Rijksmuseum. We only had an hour and a half before the gallery’s closing to check out some of its more noteworthy compositions like Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Kitchen Maid. In all, we covered a fraction of one of the museum’s four floors but the masterpieces we got to experience in that brief time were… well… masterful.

Indrapura, an Indonesian restaurant, specializes in rijsttafel. A rijsttafel is about 20 different courses.

Indrapura, an Indonesian restaurant, specializes in rijsttafel. A rijsttafel is about 20 different courses.

To finish off the evening, we ate rijsttafel at an Indonesian restaurant called Indrapura. During the Netherland’s colonial days, the Dutch found Indonesian food too hot so they paired all native cuisine with rice to diminish its spiciness. This style of meal became known as rijsttafel and it’s Indrapura’s forte. Apparently, rijsttafel is all about stuffing your face with 20 different dishes while simultaneously stuffing yourself with rice. That’s what our dinner entailed. Jason ordered a dessert after our 20 rijsttafel courses, which I thought was a little ridiculous.

Day 8: Revolving Marvels

We spent our final day in Europe at the Zaanse Schans. The Zaanse Schans is an open-air museum that features eight working windmills and a collection of historical buildings. Bounded by the Zaan River on one side and idyllic fields dotted with grazing animals on the other, the setting at the Zaanse Schans is charming. However, its tranquility is lessened by the herds of tourists surging about. We still quite enjoyed it though.

The Zaan district, the oldest industrial region in the world, once contained over 1000 windmills.

The Zaan district, the oldest industrial region in the world, once contained over 1000 windmills.

It took some seriously-fake muscles to pretend to push this over-5000-kilo edge runner.

It took some seriously-fake muscles to pretend to push this over-5000-kilo edge runner.

Fortunately, we visited the Zaanse Schans on a day when the wind cooperated with mill operations. All the windmills, fully-functioning pieces of history, were turning enthusiastically in the spirited breeze. Their bright sails contrasted strikingly against the cerulean sky as they performed their circular dance.

The Seeker was built in 1676. It still squeezes and pounds linseed into oil.

The Seeker was built in 1676. It still squeezes and pounds linseed into oil.

We were able to go inside The Cat, The Seeker, The Young Sheep, and The Colorful Hen. We loved discovering their rotating wheels and climbing through their narrow passageways. The power behind their spinning blades was exponentially more apparent, and a little scary, up close.

The Zaanse Schans contains a quiet fishing village full of unquiet tourists.

The Zaanse Schans contains a quiet fishing village full of unquiet tourists.

The Young Sheep, seen here through The Cat's cap winder, was rebuilt in 2007 from detailed diagrams.

The Young Sheep, seen here through The Cat’s cap winder, was rebuilt in 2007 from detailed diagrams.

At the Zaanse Schans, a quaint fishing village has also been preserved. There we saw how clogs are made. Touristy? Yes! Fun? Absolutely!

The Cat, the last paint windmill in the world, offers lots of nooks, gaps, and motion.

The Cat, the last paint windmill in the world, offers lots of nooks, gaps, and motion.

We made it back to Amsterdam in time for a tasty Italian dinner at Eatmosfera and a stroll through our hotel’s private gardens. Relaxing by a warbling fountain as the night darkened around us (It was around 11 PM but it wasn’t black yet.) was a perfect way to end our vacation.

Europe was lovely, and tiring, and intriguing, and stressful, and unfamiliar, and delicious. We didn’t enjoy every minute of it but we enjoyed 90.2574% of its minutes and I think that’s pretty significant as far as vacation statistics go.

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