Kinderdijk, Netherland

We settled into our warm cabin and enjoyed the nights sleep, even though being in the bilge does take some getting used to. The water flowing by can become loud at night, and passing through the locks gets noisy, with clanking, bumping and growling as the boat scrapes along the walls.

But we were ready for some sleep, to recharge for the next part of the adventure: windmills!

On our way to Kinderdijk, I enjoyed the lounge, where the wifi was strong and the oatmeal cookies were nearby.

After a leisurely breakfast, we arrived at the docking spot in Kinderdijk, which is justly famous for its 19 remarkably preserved 18th-century windmills. The town is located amidst low-lying tracts of land reclaimed from the sea by the power of the windmills and enclosed by dikes. It was a cold, blustery spring morning, but we were excited to go see what real working wind mills involve.

First, the workshops where the day-to-day repairs and maintenance take place:

Then out to the pier, where the new power plant creates the electricity needed for 21st century houses.

But despite the gift shop and the modern power lines and the trappings of tourists all around us - the mills were just down the way! Look!

And as you walk along, and get closer - they are HUGE!

We were allowed to walk through a working windmill, which had a family with three children living inside. The wind was howling outside, and the miller had tied the blades back, to keep the sound and vibration down - but the sense of power and motion as the massive arms revolved was - as they say - genuinely awesome in the literal sense.

The inside of the mill had been kept basically authentic, to give a feel for how life in these power plants felt 100 years ago. The stairs running between the floors were extremely narrow and steep, and the entire living space was quite dark and cool.

Outside the windmill, we wandered past parked bicycles, families having picnics and sausage vendors.

The sky was blue and clear, and we leaned into the cold, cold wind, walking back to the boat, past the museum, the gift shops, the working boats and the humming mills.

And then - the very best souvenir from this entire vacation was discovered in  the Kinderdijk Historical Museum Gift Shop: the Kinderdijk Beaver Hand Puppet!!!

Because it is impossible to top this creature for pure splendid-ness, we went back to our cabin to get ready to sail away. Dinner was waiting...