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Kinderdijk, The Netherlands
Friday, May 13, 2016   Related topics:
Today is our last full day aboard Viking Alruna before we disembark tomorrow morning in Amsterdam. Viking Alruna is sailing toward The Netherlands today for an afternoon visit to the windmills of Kinderdijk, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For lunch today, Rickee and I decided to enjoy the casual atmosphere of the Aquavit Lounge once again. On the menu today were some delicious pork and chicken kabobs.

Kabobs at Aquavit Terrace

Sailing through The Netherlands is the perfect setting for Dewi, our Program Director who was born in The Netherlands, to give us a short lecture in the Viking Lounge on Dutch history and paintings by the Dutch Masters. It was very informative and entertaining and we even got to sample some Dutch cheeses, Gouda and Edam, along with a little Dutch gin.

Samples of Dutch cheese

We spent most of the afternoon packing and reminiscing about what a great cruise this has been. By 4:00pm, Viking Alruna was docking in Kinderdijk and guests began to disembark for a walking tour of the windmills. Kinderdijk is the only place in the world with so many windmills so close together.

Viking Alruna docked in Kinderdijk

The windmills at Kinderdijk immediately take you back to the drawings we all saw as kids when we learned about Holland and how the entire country sits below sea level. The windmills were revolutionary in how they were able to pump water and reclaim the land underneath. It is a testimony to the ingenuity and  fortitude of the Dutch in their fight against the sea. At one point, there were more than 150 windmills in this area; today the total is only 28, of which 19 are in the Kinderdijk area. All the mills in this area date back to 1738, although one was rebuilt in the 1980s.

Windmills at Kinderdijk

We had the opportunity to tour the inside of a working windmill. You may not know that families actually live inside the windmill, making it their home. The stairs from one level to the next are very steep and the living areas are small. Even though the blades (sails) of the windmill were spinning fast, one really could not hear much of the noise while inside the mill.The one we visited is set up as an historical example with display cases filled with clothing and things used daily by a family who would have lived there. Our guide told us one of her teachers from high school actually lived in a windmill. It was interesting to learn that the position of the blades has a specific meaning. For example, if there is a birth in the mill, the blades are placed in a specific position. There is a different position for the blades if someone has died.

It was very windy today, probably a good thing for the windmills, but annoying for some of us who were ready to get back on board the comfortable Viking Alruna. Once everyone was back onboard, Viking Alruna was on her way to Amsterdam. Soon, an announcement was made asking guests if they would like to have their picture taken with the entire crew. Crew members lined the main staircase, making for some memorable photos.

Crew of Viking Alruna

That photo gives us the opportunity to mention how great the entire crew aboard Viking Alruna has been. Our stateroom attendant, Ozzy, has responded to every request and kept our Veranda Suite spotlessly clean. Our favorite bartender, Dana, has taken very good care of us throughout the cruise. And Judy and Michael who work in Aquavit Lounge in the evenings have also been great. There are too many to mention here, but we cannot forget Evelyn, our excellent Hotel Director and Dewi, the Program Director. Both have made the cruise a real joy.

Now we will go over our notes and put together our final review of Viking Alruna. Watch our website for more information.

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