. The area is laid out like a typical nineteenth-century village with free access to public spaces at all hours.Zaanse Schans is on the bank of the Zaan River – during the nineteenth century, around 400 mills worked on the banks of the Zaan and in total over a thousand were built since the construction of the first one in 1597. We went into the oil windmill and climbed the ladder to enjoy lovely views of the surrounding area. After we went in the shop to have a cheese tasting and I got a pair of little slipper clogs to take home!
Then we went for lunch together and enjoyed bitterballen which is a small croquette for which Holland is famous. They are delicious! It was very generous of them to show us around and good to put names to faces.
Then they drove us back into Amsterdam and we had a little time before we had to meet our tour group so we took the opportunity for a rest and to watch the final of Wimledon at a civilized hour which we may not be able to do again....who knows! Looking at the notice board the tour schedule looks grueling with very early starts, hope we can keep the pace.
The tour group seems to be a nice bunch, mostly Aussies, Canadians and a couple of NZ. Very friendly and only 27 of us which is a bonus, should be plenty of room on the bus. Spent a bit of time in bar after with two other Aus couples who seem good fun. Looking forward to coming adventures!
Off to central station again to catch a train this time to Wormerveer, about 20 minutes away, to spend some time with some of Aaron's relatives. Simon & Nella met us at the station and we went to their house for coffee first. Simon and Aaron's Dad are first cousins and we have heard lots about them from when Mads & Aaron spent time with them on there visit years ago. Their son David had spent a night at our place a couple of years ago so it was good to meet them and their extremely beautiful daughter Sophia. Later they took us to a place nearby called Zaanse Schans where windmills are still in use for different purposes and even though it was raining quite heavily we really enjoyed it. Having such knowledgable guides was great as they gave us the info on what we were seeing. From the 1960s onwards, windmills and historic houses have been restored or moved to the Zaanse Schans area to preserve them. Currently, there are eight windmills as well as several mostly seventeenth and eighteenth-century dark-green wooden buildings that house museums and traditional workshops.Although bearing most of the hallmarks of a European open-air museum, Zaanse Schans is not formally a museum