|Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001|
Wednesday, May 16, 2001.
The conference is over, its time for the Holland Tour!
Our last morning in Veldhoven started out with final packing, which went better than expected (everything fit into the bags!), and then a trip down to breakfast. After breakfast we checked out and waited (and waited) for the tour bus. When it finally arrived (half an hour late), we boarded, and with lots of elbow room (and funny engine noises), we headed off into the Netherlands countryside.
Our first stop was the worldwide headquarters Heineken brewery. The brewery is positioned over an aquifer that provides pure "reference" water for making Heineken beer. Its called reference water because vials of this water are sent to other Heineken breweries around the world so that they know how good their water has to be before making beer with it.
Our first stop in the Heineken headquarters was a little pub-like setting, where we were served coffee, tea and cookies. When we were finished our coffee break, we rode the tour bus to the brewery itself - not on the cool Heineken bus, unfortunately, it was broken down.
During our orientation, we were warned that NO PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN INSIDE THE BREWERY. However, for some mysterious reason, my camera ended up with a whole bunch of pictures that look suspiciously like a brewery... don't ask me how that happened.
After our visit to the Heineken brewery, we were returned to the little pub for our "product confrontation." I expected to be attacked by beer, but alas, all we did was drink it - it was very fresh, which seems rather appropriate seeing how we were at the brewery and all. After a bit of beer, it was time for lunch, so we headed off in our tour bus to our lunch destination in a small village with the short name of "Bosch"... the long name is not for foreigner consumption.
The village of "Bosch" is post-medieval, most of the oldest buildings (including the restaurant we ate at) date from the 1500s.
We were served a "traditional" Dutch lunch in a below-ground restaurant, whose foundations date from the 1500s. The building had been expanded and rebuilt a number of times, creating a lot of narrow rooms, like the one we all ate in.
Unfortunately, we were behind schedule, so there was no time to explore the village, but we did walk past a spectacular church - St. Jan's Cathedral. We'll have to come back and explore it more thoroughly.
Back on the bus, we had the longest driving leg yet, and it rained along the way, just to make it worse...
After more than an hour, we finally arrived - at the Zaan Museum. Here we get a chance to take a close look at some windmills and a medieval Dutch village. Unfortunately, the Rain Gods weren't done with us, and it squalled on and off while we explored...
The wooden shoe factory was full of... wooden shoes! Amazing, isn't it? There was a great video on how wooden shoes were made, and a huge display of different kinds of wooden shoes.
Leaving the wooden shoe factory, we walked the farm pathways toward the windmills... along the way we spied a number of familiar creatures...
It was around this bit of silliness that the heavens really opened up and tried to drench us, so we hurried into some shelter, which turned out to be the first windmill in the line - a colour mill for making dyes.
The windmill is an amazing machine, considering its a couple of hundred years old. The photo study of the color mill is worth its own page.
As we were leaving the colour mill, there was a number of nice shots to make on the way back to the bus.
Re-entering Amsterdam was a bit tricky - it was rush hour, so traffic was bad and the speed was slow. A good opportunity to take pictures of opportunity...
Finally we arrived back at the Golden Tulip in Amsterdam - where we'd begun back on Saturday. Time to drop off bags in the new room, wash up and head down to the bar for a drink...
We sat with Paul and Anne Sheriff for the final SDGN dinner, which was a fine buffet of fish, beef and other goodies.
And that was the end of the stay in Amsterdam. The next morning we would leave for Turkey... unfortunately, we'd just heard that Lufthansa (the airline we were supposed to fly to Turkey) was going to go on strike at midnight...