Below Sea Level

Trip Start Apr 28, 2007
Trip End Oct 26, 2007

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gatwick was a Zoo!  The queue for the security check extended wide and deep, 20-30  metres outside the doors to the xray and belts.  No wonder check-in cuts off so early before the flight.  Ezy Jet has no seat allocations so it was a scramble for the plane once they opened up the general seating for cattle class.
There wasn't a hill in sight as we flew into Amsterdam; just a network of canals and drains across the countryside.  It seemed very neat & organized from above, but we arrived into nothing so organised as a queue at passport control in Den Haag - just a conglomeration of people converging on just a couple of open booths.
Ngaire was still there when we were finally spat out of the system, and she whisked us back to their apartment in Den Haag with some help from her GPS, affectionately known as Geepers.  Geepers was a constant companion over the next couple of days. 

Makayla is several sizes bigger than when we last saw her, and had given up her bedroom for us. At two and a half she is chattering very intelligibly and intelligently and is constantly asking "Wass that??"
Next day Damon was able to take a day off from his work at OPCW, the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (or something very like that anyway) at United Nations, so he and Ngaire took us to Delft.

"Tile Land" of the Netherlands is maybe how its best known, but in fact Delft is full of historic buildings dating back to the 13th  century, narrow paved streets with decorated window boxes and planters, and canals with beautiful water lilies that criss-cross the city. 
Limited space means that carparking is necessarily  alongside these canals, and it's clear that you have to be careful not to put a wheel over the edge - scuffing the wheel rim on the kerb isn't the issue here. We thought you would need to take great care when jumping out canal side of the car. It was also disturbing to see the back doors of houses open straight out onto the canals. We made sure to include these observations as photos. 
Of course we checked out the clogs, the delft wares and the cheeses, and sampled the local speciality - Croquettes - for lunch in a pub on the town square. However Brian could not be persuaded to buy any Delfware.....

Then on to Kinderdijk to see the working windmills dating  back to the 16th century.  We walked along the canal and it's a strange feeling to see houses below the level of the dike we have just driven along.
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justinep on

Where do they keep the boat?
I wonder if they keep a blow-up boat tucked behind the back door - it must be very frustrating to want to 'hop across' the canal to the shops but not be able to walk on water!

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