This Sunday morning the wind had quieted and sunshine splashed the unbusy streets. I rode the metro out to the suburb town of Vlaardingen to meet Esther and drop my bags in the spare room of her and Eric's gorgeous 60's style house. We hopped in her car and fetched Olaf and Merel to go for a drive in the "polders", the below-sea-level farmlands nearby.
Polder houses still use thatch for the roofing. They sit next to canals that have a water level up to their windows. This makes me nervous, but the Dutch insist it does not worry them at all. We found a small raft style boat that could be used to cross the canal by cranking a winch that pulled a chain. Very practical.
Back toward the city we visited Schiedam, the world center of genever, also known as gin. A town that has kept its traditional look, we passed cantilever canal bridges and skipped over the cobble stone streets to the National Genever Museum. Turns out making genever is much like making whisky, using coal instead of peat, and not catching the smoke in the barley, which was ground at the classic windmills.
A statue commemorated the very important fish: herring. And we tasted the Dutch specialty of fried gooey balls called bitterballen. It was a lovely day.