The breakfast buffet was better for Craig than for me. He went up first and had eggs made to order, steaming bacon, fresh fruit and bread still warm from the oven. When I arrived a few minutes later, the eggs were gone, the bacon was gone, the fruit was gone and the bread was gone. Other ravenous guests had swooped in…..all that was left was lunch meat and cheese…..but chivalrous Craig shared his bounty with me (as if he had a choice).
We checked out and headed to Neeltje Jans Deltapark…..a MarineWorld style waterpark that also has exhibits on the history and engineering of the Deltaworks…..a network of dams, sluices, locks, dikes and levees built to prevent a recurrence of the widespread flooding that killed 2,000 people in 1953. What piqued our interest was the storm surge barrier that allows normal tide activity but holds back the tempestuous waters of the North Sea during storms.
We knew we wouldn’t be spending time at the park’s other attractions…..amusement rides, water slides, seals and sea lions…..but we were still surprised at the cost ….. €19 each and another €6.50 for parking! But, this is why we drove down here….so in we went.
The Deltaworks exhibit began with a movie who’s promised English subtitles never appeared. No words were needed to understand the images of the devastation caused by the 1953 flood but they certainly would have helped us understand the mechanics and construction of the the storm surge barrier. Without subtitles, all I could ascertain was that Fergie (the Duchess….not the singer) attended the official opening of the barrier in 1986.
Outside the theater were a series of four exhibits (oddly, not placed in chronological order) showing the history of the area….starting at prehistoric times and ending with the flood of 1953……that sounds like a lot of history for four walk-around displays but a lot of centuries didn’t merit mention. From there, we moved on to a few mock-ups of the barrier. Then we had the opportunity to walk a kilometer or so out to the barrier. Not sure if what we’d see out there would be appreciably different that what we’d just seen, we decided to cut our losses and start our drive to Delft. (Note to self…..write letter to Neeltje Jans Deltapark suggesting that they separate the Deltaworks exhibits from the rest of the park and charge a lower admission price).
Nothing is very far in the Netherlands and we were in Delft in a little over an hour. Our hotel, Hotel de Emauspoort, is in the historic center of Delft so we had to navigate through the newer outskirts and then into the old town with its restricted access, one-way streets and limited parking. Craig somehow always maneuvers through these old towns successfully and this was no exception. Without benefit of a map, we drove into the old town, took a turn or two and found ourselves in front of the Hotel de Emauspoort!
We off-loaded our luggage and, while Craig went to park the car in a nearby lot, I was led to our room…..on the third floor…..up two flights of outdoor staircases. How could I have overlooked asking for a ground floor room? The first flight…..straight up…..was spooky. To follow the young woman from Reception up to the room, I had to leave our overnight bag at the bottom of the stairs, firmly grasp the railing and hope for the best as I walked up these metal mesh steps…..fearing to look down but afraid not to.
The room was lovely. It’s outdoor terrace overlooked its charming courtyard and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). Inside, I found a cheery room with a skylight and windows facing a small side street. Perfect for our two-night stay…..except for the stairs.
With car safely stowed, Craig soon joined me and we walked to the main plaza, Markt Square, for lunch. The sun….still shining in this usually rainy country…..was warm. We sat outdoors sharing a bacon-cheese pannenkoeken washed down with Heinekens.
until we arrived at the Royal Delft factory (De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles)…..a homey, brick building looking more like an inn than a factory.
The factory, in operation since 1653, still creates handmade porcelain…..as we walked through the old brick building, we saw molds being filled, artists at work and pottery in various stages of firing…..
but what most amazed us the most were the ceramic tiles that were made for Dutch homes and businesses…..their rustic art-deco look is so very different from the blue and white porcelain that we associate with Delftware.
It was after 5:00 pm when we left the Royal Delft factory…..too late to tour the museums and churches but warm enough to sit outside, so we returned to Markt Square for a light dinner…..I had a pastry “pouches” stuffed with goat cheese, leeks, walnuts and honey (delicious!). Craig opted for mushroom soup with a Caprese salad (ok, but nothing special). For dessert, we shared an apple pannenkoeken……I could become seriously addicted to these little wonders.
After an early evening stroll, we headed back to the hotel to plan tomorrow’s activities.
I love ya, Tomorrow
You’re always a day away……from “Annie”