Biking through Holland

Actually, biking to Ikea. But *someone* read the website wrong so after biking 75 minutes we discovered that the Temple of Scandinavian Capitalism was closed. But it was a glorious day and instead of crying in our boots (or hopping on a train to get back to A’dam) we decided to bike around some more.

The bike trip through Spaarnwoude and Halfweg to Haarlem is lovely anyway, through a nature reserve and along little bike paths in the fields. We decided to go up to Spaarndam but got on the wrong bike path which took us along the Mooie Nel, a big lake.

This was also the first 3-D bike path I’ve ever been on here in the Flat Lands.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t see any way to cross the Spaarne so turned back and rode through Penningsveer (“penny ferry”). The high point of this village is its windmill — which was open!

The very scary inside steps

I learned more about Dutch windmills than I could have dreamed. Like the Archimedes screw mechanism used for draining the polder (flatlands below sea level). Or the huge winch used to turn the sail mechanism to catch the wind. This one burned down in 1998 (and no wonder, the walls are only made of thatch!) and was rebuilt. Most impressive engineering.

From there we biked to Spaarndam where we had a drink alongside the dike — such a charming village. Along the way we saw all sorts of baby animals.

It almost made up for the spitting of rain which turned into a downpour for the last 45 minutes of the ride. And when did it stop? 37 seconds after we walked inside our front door.

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