Our Europe Excursion travel blog

The Peace Palace in Miniature

The Peace Palace in The Hague

Wildmills pumping water

Diesel driven augers to raise water

From the window of a Mill

A close up of a mill from 1729

Riekie, Me (Jeff), Lidwien and Rob

Old Dutch building

The flight:

Oh, my! I had no idea how hard it is to sleep on a plane. The flight from SYD to SIN was long and very cramped. We were in an Airbus A380. You would think that a modern plane like that would have comfortable seating and adequate leg room. There is, in fact, adequate room for legs of significant size but if you occupied that space with your legs there would be nothing left for your butt or the rest of your body. The plane was nice and quiet though. We were well forward of the jet engines and, since there was not a lot of turbulence, we were able to get up occasionally and stretch our legs. One great thing about singapore Airlines is that they feed you well and often. From SIN to AMS, the trip was longer and there was more turbulence but the 777 we were in had more room - almost enough for your whole body if you folded it into thirds; no, really, it wasn't too bad. The personal in-flight entertainment console really help to keep us sane and distracted. It is amazing what computer games you are willing to play if you are at the end of 26 hours of flying and bored to death.

The First Dag:

After this long but ultimately pleasant marathon flight, we arrived in Amsterdam. It was 7:00 am and Rob and Riekie met us at the airport, full of energy and enthusiasm, and determined not to let us go to bed until the evening. This was their brave attempt to get our bodies to get over the jet lag we were feeling. The strategy is to torture you by using a combination of sleep deprivation and force feeding until, by late evening you are so tired and full of excellent food that you have a long and restful sleep and do not wake for a meal for at least the prescribed 8 or 9 hours.

We were driven in style from the airport to Schiedam, where we are staying with Rob and Riekie for the first portion of the holiday. We quickly dropped off our luggage at the house and were then shown around the town of Schiedam; the old buildings, the dykes, the canals and the windmills; all lovely.

The Next Dag:

The strategy worked. At breakfast, Lidwien, Rob, Riekie, and Monique their daughter, were all standing around, synchronising our body clocks; no jet lag in evidence at all.

We went to see some more windmills; the kind that, still functional today, were used since the 18th century to pump water out of the low lying areas and up to the region outside the protective dykes that surround The Netherlands.

There was also a modern pumping station. The augers driven by the powerful diesel engines were enormous.

We also went to a miniature city called Madurodam. There were scaled down versions of castles, cathederals and houses, airports, container ships and railway tracks; all reproduced in amazing detail.

We then went to The Hague and saw the real Peace Palace that we had seen in miniature earlier. What a Buzz! What a second dag in The Netherlands.

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