Rodney and Shandy brought us to this windmill park a few km west of Rotterdam called Kinderdijk. Wonder if ‘dijk’ really means ‘dyke’ as in English. There was a huge water pump moving water out of the lowlands into a higher reservoir, apparently it’s been storming with really strong winds in the Netherlands the past week so lots of areas are getting flooded. We didn’t get to visit Halsteren in the end because we were running out of time. Shandy thought the submerged bridge would be flooded anyway :P ‘The Netherlands’ in French is ‘Les Pays-Bas’, or the low countries; it never really occurred to me that ‘nether’ referred to low. I always sort of had the silly impression that the ‘nether’ in ‘netherlands’ referred to hell, because of their wanton weed smoking and fooling around. The winds in recent days got so bad that there were no trains running from Amsterdam Centraal to the Hague, apparently a rail got spoilt or something. Basically all the trains got delayed and it was a real pain trying to get to Rotterdam. On the way from Brussels to Amsterdam, we were detrained at Rotterdam and told to find a way to Amsterdam ourselves, even though the train we boarded in Brussels was supposed to be a direct train. On the way from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, we were detrained at Schiphol and told to find our own way to Rotterdam via Utrecht. Everything was basically a huge mess, random trains were cancelled or were bypassing stops (important information you would only find out once the train had bypassed your stop), and what is normally a 40 minute journey by fyra took us 2.5 hours, hitting all the major cities in the Netherlands except for the Hague. Hope things have cleared up with their rail system! It’s supposed to be efficient and one of the most dense rail networks in the world. We are currently on the way from Bonn to Frankfurt and everything seems to be in order. Lots of great scenery and an inordinate number of castles on the way.
This is a picture of Shandy’s apartment. It was really very modern and had an amazing view. It cost quite a bit, considering she’s 26 and Rodney’s 25. At that age liangze and I can only dream of owning a home like theirs. Very purple colour scheme, they kept their christmas tree up for us :P, had a fish tank with tiger barb, many windows, a view of the rotterdam skyline, very nice wooden floors that rodney laid himself. It was such an adult’s apartment, at the same time, they had a wii and a playstation which also gave it a sort of un-adulty feel. I loved it.
Other highlights from our trip to Amsterdam included hongquan’s ice cream crepe. hongquan being hongquan (and thus ‘special’), ordered a ham and mushroom crepe with vanilla ice cream. the server gave us a weird look and said “with ice cream?” quizzically, and gave a shrug as if to say “whatever floats your boat!” it was awful in the end, which was a pity because the pancake house typically has very good pancakes as mingsee can attest to. We also saw a bike parking garage, which is exactly like a basement carpark in singapore, but for bikes. It was right underneath the world trade center and had racks and racks of bikes. Very space efficient, although I can’t imagine people riding about in the wind there.
Right before we left we paid a visit to Beatrixpark and Museumplein, where we spotted a stork! The waters were very cold and calm, and the first daffodils are out in the Netherlands! Amazing. Cornell’s daffodils will take at least a month or two more before they even contemplate peeping out of their snowy blankets.