Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CELEBRATING WINDMILLS AND A CASTLE

Windmills are an iconic part of the Dutch landscape, and a visit to one is a must at... least for me. On our fourth day there, we set out with our tour guide we had for the day to take us to the country side. Kerstan was so nice, and hot, and built. I wanted to explore more than the countryside, and he was very flirtatious, which turned for the naughty that night, oh, wait..... were talking about wind mills, I forgot! Anywho.... with eight windmills located in and around Amsterdam, windmill spotting is a great way to see the city. Windmills  were an integral part of Dutch life for centuries, employed for industrial purposes like milling grains or draining the lowlands of excess water. Our tour guide told us that more than 10,000 windmills once dotted the Dutch landscape, and there are still 8 in Amsterdam, and about 1,000 left, in total remaining.
 


Rooftop at the Toren. Good thing we ate breakfast.......
 
De Otter is located in Amsterdam West and was built around 1631. It is the last remaining windmill of its kind in the city, as the other sawmills were dismantled by the early 1900s. As such, it is now considered a monument and is protected from being torn down or moved. Not open for visitors.
 
 
Molen van Sloten is a reconstructed working mill from 1847 and the only mill open to visitors in Amsterdam. This tower mill works to drain water from lower-lying surroundings to keep the area dry. Guided tours are available and occasionally include the miller who shows visitors how the different parts function.
 

De Riekermolen is a historic polder drainage windmill that dates back to 1636. It sits proudly on the bank of the River Amstel in Amsterdam, alongside a statue of Rembrandt that celebrates the many sketches he made in this area. De Riekermolen was once used to drain a large plot of land nearby but it now stands as a testament to a bygone era. Nevertheless, it still spins on Saturdays and Sundays between 12:00 and 7:00, May to September – when the winds are favorable. Unfortunately, the windmill's interior is not available for tours.
 
 
In the Zaan region, Western Europe’s oldest industrial area, there used to be more than 600 windmills running at the same time. At Zaanse Schans, just outside Amsterdam, ten pairs of sail continue to turn. Visiting such a great wooden machine as it slogs away is an impressive spectacle. The mills are used for sawing wood and grinding oil, flower, spices and colourings.  Each of the industrial windmills at Zaanse Schans features clear information about the production process. Of course, the characteristic aromas of sawdust and oil are unmistakable. Intriguing narrow staircases sometimes lead all the way up to the windmill roof.
 
 


Have you ever seen the combination of a windmill and a brewery? Seated in front of the Molen de Gooyer Windmill in Amsterdam is the Brouwerij IJ. The brew company was founded in a small building by the river IJ back in 1983. In 1985, the brewery was moved into the Funenmolen building, a disused public bathhouse alongside the Molen de Gooyer where it remains today.  The former flour mill is one of the six original windmills still standing in Amsterdam, and of these six, De Gooyer is the closest to the historic center of the city. It was built in 1725. The brewery was our last windmill stop, before the next part of the tour and was a great place to stop for  a beer, but seats are limited, so arrive early if you want a table to comfortably enjoy your brew. The mill is owned by the city and cannot be visited, maybe that’s a good thing with all that quality beer on hand. I only downed about four beers!!!!
 
 
After the Mistress was good, tight, and refreshed it was off to the De Haar Castle........
 
 
A visit to De Haar is a journey of discovery to a marvellous world. There are only a few castles in Europe that have the same ideal image of a medieval fortress with towers and ramparts, with canals, gates and drawbridges. The castle was entirely restored and partially rebuilt in the late 19th century and it rises like a fairy-tale castle from a park with impressive trees, surrounded by old gardens and ponds.  Yet this enchanting oasis of harmony and peace is not far from the daily bustle of the city of Utrecht, and only 30 minutes from Amsterdam. The unique castle has something to offer for everyone: young and old, the knowledgeable art lover and the casual visitor which I thought was nice  De Haar is an unusual and fascinating mixture of the medieval and the modern comforts of the late 19th century. This was my first castle to ever visit and it was very cool.
 
 
 
What I really found interesting was the DeHaar Castle is oldest historical record of a building at the location of the current castle and dates to 1391. In that year, the family De Haar received the castle and the surrounding lands as settlement from Hendrik van Woerden. The castle remained in the ownership of the De Haar family until 1440, when the last male heir died childless. The castle then passed to the Van Zuylen family in 1482, who still currently own it, but in 2000  passed ownership of the castle and the gardens to the foundation Kasteel de Haar. However, the family retained the right to spend one month per year in the castle. How cool would it be to say, "Oh, I'm off next month. I heading to my castle, come drop in"

 
Ain't this the life???

45 comments:

  1. Mistress, this may be my favorite part of the whole trip so far. When we went years ago we didn't have time to do anything outside of town. Now how I wish we did! Beautiful post, what a memorable trip.

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  2. The fabulousness continues!!!!! I sooooo need a trip like this. I always stay in the US. You have inspired me to go back to Europe.. Its been way to long.

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  3. Its so hard to believe this all exist!!!! It is amazing. One doesn't see anything like that here!!!!!!!!!!! What memories you'll have!

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  4. This trip is just extraordinary! You really enjoyed all apects that Amsterdam had to offer. I think the castle may be my favorite parts so far. It is a good thing you had breakfast dear.

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  5. This is just amazing that this all exist, and too think I didn't take the windmill tour. I wish I had now.

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  6. Wait!!!!!!! Did you seduce your tour guide Mistress!?!?!?!?! I smell a story I say!!! Very cool. I don't know which I like more the castle or the windmills.

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    1. Don't look at me. He isn't the Samantha Jones of the the group for nothing.

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    2. And after meeting the mistress once, I can see that.

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    3. Lets just say he had a nice compass needle!

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  7. YOU ARE BACK!!!!!!!!! yaya I miss you!!!!!!!!!!!
    HOW WAS YOUR TRIP?! By the looks of it , it was out of this world! I have some catching up to do.........

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  8. Ha! The castle reminds me of Downton Abbey! This is a cool post. Windmills to me are almost imaginary like unicorns!!!! That had to be neat to see them! Loving your travels Mistress.

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  9. Oh, travelling on the continent (I mean the European one of course), is simply divine!) It's a shame so many windmills are now gone, but the small background you gave was interesting, had no idea the many uses. And too tell the dirt about the tour guide PLEASE!

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  10. Oh darling! I'm so glad your back, and that you had such a wonderful trip. I love to travel, but I almost always mss home once gone. The castle would be amazing to see.

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  11. Welcome back! I've been wondering about your trip.Amsterdam looks spectaclular It's where I want to be whenever I'm not. I think it should be my next destination. Will there be a picture of you plug a dyke?

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  12. What an interesting post, I'll need to get over there sometime.

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  13. Those windmills are lovely! All I have out here is the one at Pea Soup Andersen's in Carlsbad.

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  14. thank you for the lovely tour, mistress! FABU castle! thinking point - in 1391 the USA did not exist, yet europe was thriving!

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  15. Another great installment!!!! How interesting to think they had all these windmills! Same so many are gone.

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  16. What an interesting and educational post! Now I know I need to go. In the 1800's I know we had family who was millers at some windmills. This trip looks like a blast. Love the beer stop!

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  17. Boy, when you vacation, YOU VACATION! I can almost smell the beer..........

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  18. It's like a fairy tale, and a tale for fairies!

    De Riekermolen is like a picture postcard!

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  19. Beautiful! Glad to hear you got so much . . . exercise . . . in Holland!

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    Replies
    1. There was no rest for the weary Debs on this trip.

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  20. And apparently the tour guides do more than ........tour guide do tell!!!!!! I am on love with the brewery and windmil. I could spend all day there. Fabulous!

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  21. Their is no place like Amsterdam. Its one of the best trips we ever took. I wish though id known about De Haar Castle, that would have been amazing to see.

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  22. It about time your back! I am beyond jealous of this lovely trip, you rotten thing you!!!! Did you move into De Haar yet?

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  23. Now this is very interesting and not something we get to see here! Do you care to adopt me?

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  24. Don't get any ideas of buying De Haar, or were going to have to hire alot more houseboys

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  25. I so need your life, all I ever do is work and baby sit my niece and nephews. This is spectacular to see. I don't recall ever seeing a windmill.

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  26. So glad to hear you guys had a good time.you two saw some great sites on this trip........a photographer's paradise!

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  27. Another great post! I am so loving the castle, how cool to see. I have really enjoyed these travel post!!!!! You certainly get around!

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  28. Good golly miss molly!!!! When you take a vacation you do itt right. I would love to explore the Dutch countryside like that!!! So enjoying this.

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  29. Amazing trip and post!!!! Were you trying to use the tour guides compass needle??????

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    1. More like he was reading a map. That the mistress inked out.....on his ass.

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  30. I'd say you have wicked good taste in clothes and vacations. This post is so interesting. And do tell more about Kerisan please!!!!!

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  31. Maddie that was a treat. Your photos are spectacular! Thank you for sharing.

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  32. I like the moat! Great ponding possibilities. The rest is pretty darned impressive too!

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  33. I love that you tie recreational sight seeing in with hustling beer! The sites are truly fabulous.

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  34. What a beautiful post! I wish I could travel like you jet setters. I can't imagine the feeling of seeing these and that castle almost seems fairy tale, till you see one in person.

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  35. Those windmills are awesome!!!!! As is the castle. I think I do need to plan a trip there, I can see why you enjoyed it so much. Did the tour guide wave his fee?

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  36. This is so cool to see! I don't think I have ever seen anything like it. So lucky to have the chance to go sew this. I wanna go now.

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  37. Its fascinating what these windmills were used for, I had no idea. Or how old they were. This sure is a trip to end all trips!!!!! Beautiful!

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  38. THANK YOU everybody for your lovely comments! I could do more posts, but we could be here another week!!!!! It was definitely a wonderful trip and hood memories. Lord knows I may never make it back.

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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