We were intending to stop at Alblasserdam for just one night to let us visit the famous Kinderdijk windmills, but the site is so wonderful that we stayed for two extra nights and made it our base for visiting Rotterdam by water bus rather than cycling in from a closer campsite.
The base is a motorhome Air in Alblasserdam. It is next to the water and nestled between two huge factory buildings for the local mega-yacht company. We think that they actually make ultra-yachts as apparently mega-yachts are not exclusive enough anymore! Outside their factory is the Luna B. It’s about 100 meters long and we think is around €500M. We emailed the factory to see if they allow visits or run tours, but no response. We guess that we are not the right clientele! Not even a response. Tuggers 😉
On the afternoon of the 7th, Toby’s Birthday we get the bikes out and cycle out to Kinderdijk, just about the best set of Netherlands windmills you will find!
Built in around 1740, The main interesting think about the 19 (n-n-n-n-nineteen, nineteen) windmills, is that they were not for milling grain. Instead they powered (and some still do!) pumps for draining the polders (low-lying tract of land enclosed by dikes). It’s a lovely afternoon and it’s really busy. We also treat ourselves to the wonderful Dutch pancakes, poffertjes. These lovely morsels are fluffy pancakes served with icing sugar and butter. Nom nom. Charlie already has a pan back home. We must persuade him to get it out again when we get home!
The next day, Selinas Birthday, we take the river bus downriver to Rotterdam town. Europe’s largest port, it lies at the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta. Although there are boat tours of the new port, we instead stuck to the town centre. The architecture is amazing. Much of the town centre was razed over three days in early May 1940 when the Luftwaffe bombed it, eventually forcing the Netherlands to capitulate. So most of the town centre is quite modern.
We went to look at the SS Rotterdam, keel laid in 1958 and the last of the great Dutch ‘ships of state’. We also saw the cube houses, the big bridges and had (an Italian!) lunch in De Markthal which manages to marry a new market building with high class housing.
One day in Rotterdam was about a week short of what we needed, but that’s all we had, so fast river bus back down to Alblasserdam and get the mothership shipshape for the short drive to Delft.