Sunday, April 10th

We had a great breakfast buffet at the hotel…..once again, little containers were placed on the table for our breakfast litter (hmmm, why didn’t my husband get the Dutch gene for picking up after himself?).  After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and drove into Arnhem and the Openluchtmuseum (Open Air Folk Museum).

It was a clear, sunny day and the parking lot was starting to fill up with families out to enjoy the weather.  The museum re-creates Dutch countrylife, using carefully restored homes and furnishings gathered from throughout the country….farmhouses, country villages, windmills, warehouses, businesses…..all regions were represented. 

It was so picturesque and charming that we stayed longer than our two hour norm for museum visits….but our feet finally tired and we returned to the car and travelled on to Kinderdijk, a small village built in the 1700’s on a polder (reclaimed land).

For two centuries, 19 windmills kept this land drained.  Pumps took over in 1927 (although the windmills were called back into service during WWII when oil was in short supply).  The well-preserved windmills now are family homes…..and the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This day wasn’t too busy…..we only saw three tour buses and we were able to park in the nearby lot.  Paths lined one side of the canal….one for walkers and one for bicyclists.  People were stolling along, blissfully segregated from the relentless cyclists.  One windmill is open to the public, but a bus load of tourists were patiently waiting their turn in line to view its interior so we opted, instead, to take a cruise along the waterway.

Our wait for the open-air boat was short… arrived at its dock in short order, off-loaded one set of passengers and on-boarded another set.  We were lucky enough to have seats in the front of the boat so we really had a “birds-eye” view of this captivating countryside.

Speaking of “birds-eye”…..wish I had a picture of a close encounter we had during the cruise.  On our return journey, a duck was leisurely crossing the canal.  From our time on the Canal du Midi, we’ve found that the ducks and geese have an innate sense of their surroundings and paddle at a speed that prevents collisions with passing boats but this daffy duck seemed a little too nonchalant.  As he paddled along, lost in his thoughts, it seemed we were about to run him over.  Finally, something caught his attention.  He turned his head and looked up to see the boat bearing down on him and, I swear, just like in a cartoon, his eyes widened to at least three times their size and he started paddling like crazy.  The little guy made it….but that look in his eyes was priceless…..wish I had a picture.

By the time we returned to the dock, another three buses were in the parking lot.  It was time to go.  Tomorrow, we plan to view the Deltaworks so we headed south toward Middelburg.  It was a pretty drive through pasturelands filled with sheep and horses.  But Craig was confused by this.  His Dad always said horses were “hay-burners” and wouldn’t have them on their dairy farm so Craig assumed the Dutch weren’t horse lovers.  Mile after mile, he was proved wrong……lots of horses and not a cow in sight.  Craig made a mental note to bring this up with his Dad.

Our journey south was delayed by road projects and detours.  When we finally arrived in Middelburg, we decided to save time tomorrow by staying closer to the Deltaworks on Neeltje Jans island… we backtracked until we came to the Amadore Wellness Hotel….four-star luxury, close to Neeltje Jans and right off the freeway….what could be better?

They had a room available for a very reasonable 80 euros (which included a welcome drink in their bar and breakfast in their restaurant).  As we were checking in, the lovely young woman behind the counter asked if we knew that this was a “wellness” hotel.  We said we didn’t, so she explained that the hotel’s spa facilities (swimming pool and sauna) were….shall we say… not optional?  We thanked her and, feeling well enough, rolled our luggage down the hall.

We adjourned to the outdoor terrace for our welcome drink….then welcomed another drink as we perused the dinner menu.  After we ordered, our waiter came out to set our table….a runner was draped over the table, silverware was set out and napkins were folded in a tee-pee like fashion and placed in front of us.  We were seated near two fair-haired women….perhaps in their mid-thirties.  Our waiter moved to their table, again draped a runner over the table and set out silverware…..but then, he took their napkins and created intricate self-standing fans that were placed before them with a flourish.  The two women, who had seen our table being set-up, giggled and said this was one of the perks of being blond.  We shared a laugh and found out they were two single moms out for a well-needed spa break.

While the moms waited with their fan napkins, we were served a small crab salad as an amuse-bouche.  As we waited for dinner, our bottle of wine arrived…..the moms and their fan napkins were still waiting.  We had almost finished our wine when our dinner was finally brought out…..spare ribs for Craig and chicken stuffed with mozzarella, basil and tomato for me.  The moms, no longer laughing, still waited…..their fan napkins now mocking them.  We had bad service….they had no service.  Before our waiter could turn tail and run, we sent him over to the moms…..who politely but firmly told him they wanted their amuse-bouche, their soup and their salads NOW.  Guess he didn’t think blonds could tell time.

As we finished our dinner, the moms were just getting their food.  We wished them well and headed off to bed.

You can keep your black and your red heads
You can keep your brunettes too
I wanna girl that’s semi intelligent
Gimme a blonde that’s six feet two……”Blonds” by Rod Stewart


About Languedoc Lady

I'm a newly retired woman from California getting ready to spend a year (or more) with my husband living the good life in Languedoc in the southwest of France.
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