Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Driving to Delft, Holland, (NL)

Driving To Delft

We have 2 weeks left before our flight home so decided to see some of Holland. At the airport in Frankfurt, I rented a car and in order to drive it for 2 weeks, without worry of any kind, I took the all-inclusive insurance the Company offered. Yes, I know, I could have saved money but I had a strange feeling that this would be the best way. As a ‘thank you’ the guy behind the counter gave me an upgrade and I drove a brand new Ford Diesel (S-Max?) with all the latest frills. I drive a 2012 Prius at home, but this Ford car was amazing. It shut off the idle while at a red light, had lights that went from high-beam to low beam and reverse automatically, separate heat controls for driver and passenger (Carol loved that), back up radar, radar for vehicles in the blind spots, wipers that went on and adjusted speed automatically, 2 USB ports, was key-less, etc. etc. The fuel consumption was very low, it drove wonderfully and it is just a shame it is not shipped to the U.S. or Canadian market. I really liked driving this car. It was powerful despite having a diesel engine. Smallish, agile but roomy enough inside, great heated seats too, with 3 levels of heat. 

After we picked up the car, did all the paper work, packed our luggage into the back of the car I just drove a little bit that day to get used to driving it. Our first stop was the town of Limburg an der Lahn, an old German town.The town has nothing to do with the Limburger Cheese, that is a totally separate town in Belgium, same name though.   

And wouldn’t you know it? I was photographed on the way to Limburg. A picture was taken by one of those automatic ticket issuing flashlight machines. The ticket will arrive in the mail any place in the world and the letter will tell you how fast you were going. Your picture, the driver’s picture will be attached, along with the time of day, the route you were on, etc. etc. The set-up is very efficient. I was going 59 KM in a 50 KM Zone and the fine was 15 Euros, to be sent to a Bank account. All is much automated. If I don’t pay, it will go to a higher authority and the fines will increase. Now, remember I received this ‘ticket’ after I was already in Canada. Did I pay it?  Smiles! What do you think?

We stayed overnight in Limburg, walked around the old town, window watched mostly and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. The hotel was so-so, nothing to write home about.

Carol and I decided while in Limburg to visit Delft, in Holland. We both read a book awhile ago called ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring' and the book focuses on JanVermeer, the artist who painted the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. 

Since looking for painters seemed to be a lead-in for our trip to the Netherlands, we now scouted out the Old Masters, artists of old in Holland. This was our goal for the next few days while we got to know some of the Dutch ways. Seeing work by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and many others was our goal. I love traveling when I have a focus. It makes it much more interesting and exciting to follow clues and discover what is available. We could have picked windmills, but we now had an interesting theme. I did this with music in Germany, food in France, wine in Spain, etc. Pick a subject and then have a great time exploring, for example “Who makes or where can I find the best Margarita?”  It will take you a long time to find that one. You will also need a ‘baseline’, so go to Key West, FL and drink a Margarita at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and then compare everything else to that. Good luck……..hic……!

On the way to Delft I drove past the town of my birth and visited the public school I attended for 8 years. The school is now closed; it is just too old for the modern age. Built in 1848, it is a relic and the town put the building under ‘historic protection’. Yes, I am that old! 

Overberg Schule (#36), Inrath, My Old Public School
As luck would have it, the new owner of the property (it was auctioned off for the best price) was checking on something and we started to talk. The school building has to be maintained from the outside as a historic landmark but the inside can and will be converted into apartments. Each classroom will become a self-sufficient and independent living -space. I was invited inside to see where, I as a kid, learned my ABCs. Probably the last time anybody will see the old school. From now on, this will be an apartment building. It brought about some nostalgic feelings. When I showed Carol the classroom where I spent my time when younger, she could not believe the simplicity of it. We had the 5th and 6th Grade squeezed into one room, a total of 97 kids in one class. So when you were in the 5th Grade and then moved up to the 6th grade you were still in the same class room, you only received a bunch of new kids that moved up from grade 4. No, we did not move about the school, our one teacher was all we had. He was the art teacher, science teacher, math teacher, etc. He was the ‘everything’ teacher. And he ruled with an iron fist. How could he not, with 97 boys in one room. It sure brought back memories.

Grachten in Delft 
The drive toward Delft was uneventful, but if one does not know the area, like Carol did not know, then Holland becomes a strange place to visit. It is flat like a table top. Fields and ditches along the roads. A lot of Holland still needs to be drained daily. The major area of Holland is below sea-level and in years back that is what the windmills did, they pumped the water out of the ground and guided the water into canals. Those canals then were the highways throughout Holland. It was a very efficient way to move freight, to visit other towns, to make all of the land accessible. Today mechanical pumping stations take care of most of the water, but yes, the water still needs to be pumped out of Holland. The old canals still work but are mostly of historic value, just like the old windmills.

Oude Kirk in Delft 
Delft is packed full of canals. The old houses were built along those canals, warehouses, too. Factories and government buildings, churches, everything was concentrated on or around those canals. The ground, the dry ground was very fertile land and things grow very well with the climate being perfect for northern crops. A lot of grass grows on the flat grounds, so the cows are in heaven. There is no need for fencing, the ditches for water run-off will keep the cattle in place, they naturally shun the deep ditches and stay on their plots. All of Holland is still crisscrossed with drainage ditches, canals and run offs.

Typical of Holland?
Delft is and was a very good town for business. But also for artsy people, since the people who live in Delft could afford to hire artists to enhance their lives.

We booked a hotel downtown, in the old part of town, within walking distance of everything. Delft is not a cheap place to visit. Parking alone costs 30 Euros a day, if you can find a parking spot.

We checked in, had supper someplace but our trip in delft will really start only tomorrow. 
The Good Old Times

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