Thursday, April 21, 2011

Windmills in Zaanse Schans

Our first full day in Amsterdam and already we were leaving the city.  One of Aidan's classmates has a dad from the Netherlands and had given me a list of things we could do with the kids that would be fun.  A trip to Zaanse Schans was at the top of that list.  

Liam getting ready to take pictures!

Aidan brought his camera along too!

We've seen a lot of buildings in Amsterdam that are leaning quite a bit...apparently it doesn't just happen in Pisa!

Bike parking at the Centraal parking - holy bikes!!

A cute town just north of the city and only 4 stops on the train, this was a great opportunity to do a little sightseeing outside of Amsterdam. I often find that although we love going to new cities to explore, we don't get out to the countryside much which is a shame because it's a whole different world in the towns!

The info I had from the website stated that from the train station there would be plenty of signs telling us where we needed to go for our 10 minute walk into town. And yes, they were right! That and we followed all of the other tourists that were getting off the train. At first I can't say there was much to look at near the station. Yes, some cute homes but also a bit of industry that was an aesthetic eyesore.

But that being said, after stopping at a bakery for a few pastries, we rounded a corner and saw the first windmill of several that day. As the local website states, "With its traditional green painted houses, warehouses and windmills the Zaanse Schans gives the feeling of having stepped back into the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries." And yes for a moment as you round the corner into the Zaanse Schans, it does feel a bit like that. 

As we walked thru the neighborhood, we saw several windmills all along a row. A few were open for tours and we chose the Paint mill De Kat which is used to process raw materials to make pigments. The original windmill was built around 1646 but was destroyed by fire. And again in the 1900s there was severe damage requiring reconstruction. This mill still continues to produce pigments for paints in the traditional way that was done hundreds of years ago!

This is the mill we went inside of

Aidan and Liam in a wheelbarrow

Inside the mill

More of the inside

Liam trying to work the mill

View from on top of the windmill - beautiful!!!

Yes, another windmill

Believe it or not there were only 6 windmills here - you're just seeing them from many angles!


Liam checking out the sheep

Yet another picturesque view - with the sun starting to come out!

Why does the sun always come out when we are leaving?  Same thing happened in Collioure!

We wandered around Zaanse Schans for a few hours and finished up with lunch at a little bistro before heading back to Amsterdam for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Tomorrow - the tulips!!
Amsterdam Centraal Station

They "almost" fit, Aidan!

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