|Monday 26th April 2010 Weather:- Sunshine-18 degrees
For a change from flowers and windmills today we took a trip to Volendam which is a popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands, well-known for its old fishing boats and the traditional clothing still worn by some residents (today maybe less than 50 elderly ladies). The women's costume of Volendam with its high, pointed bonnet, is one of the most recognizable of the Dutch traditional costumes, and is often featured on tourist postcards and posters.
Originally, Volendam was the location of the harbor of the nearby town of Edam (of the cheese fame) which was situated at the mouth of the river IJe. In 1357 the inhabitants of Edam dug a shorter canal to the Zuiderzee and now it has its own separate harbor. This removed the need for the original harbor, which was then dammed and used for land reclamation. Farmers and local fishermen settled there, forming the new community of Volendam which literally means 'Filled dam'.
Today it all seems like a different story; there have been not many sunny days in Nederland yet this year so all available bodies were hard at it—sunbaking I mean--from rooftops to boat decks and on every outdoor terrace available people were taking full advantage of the (weaker than we are used to) rays of the golden variety, even a sun dodger like me did not have to dodge too far as the rays barely kissed the surface of the skin. For me I am finding it hard to adjust to the ever busy passing traffic, be it driving in the car where you not only have to be careful to stay on the right side of the road but dodge bikes coming at you from ALL directions, Herman manages perfectly but while walking along the street he is forever saying to me "Be careful Car/Bus/Bike/People coming" sometimes I feel like yelling "I have a right here too" but he is right, I have been nearly hit by a couple of bikes and had a very close call with a car—I fear senility is starting to set in. My cousin who has been stationed in Singapore for the last two years because of her husband's work is very homesick for Nederland and will not bother to explore Australia while on that side of the world (except to go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef). I on the other hand think that I am oh so lucky to live in Australia because I know the advantages of living there, for me they are blue skies and an easy lifestyle and peace, I can step of the sidewalk without having a mini nervous breakdown and people are a lot friendlier (with the exceptions of a few on both sides of the creek I have to add). I know that people over here have many advantages, distance of travel to other countries for instance-but some Dutchies have not been much further than the neighbouring Germany—go figure that—the trip from Nederland to Italy is not much further than from Adelaide to Melbourne. And so the saying goes...'Too each his own'----thank goodness for that, otherwise we would all end up living on the same square inch of this Earth.