Kings Day is a national holiday celebrating the House of Orange’s success at beating back the Spanish Catholics during the Middle Ages and creating the base of the diverse and accepting country we have been visiting. On this day a very unusual opportunity is presented to Dutch children. They can take their unwanted toys and set up on the street and sell them to passersby (guaranteed to be other kids and parents) and the sellers, we are told, are allowed to spend their new euros as they wish. We stumbled into these kids on Kings Day in the city of Arnhem, near the national park.
As King’s Day found us wandering by car, we, Dave and Sheila decided to skip the huge afternoon rock concert which it seemed everyone else was streaming toward and put our museum cards (a worthwhile investment if you are going to more than three or four Dutch museums) to the test. Nearby Arnhem is a cultural history park showing country life and technology in the 15-16th century. We decided that we might have been pretty good citizens of those days what with Val’s “Swiss army knife” skills applied to keeping huge wind-powered wooden toothed wheels turning to grind flour, saw logs and pump water. Leslie could appear often from the bakery with sweet and savory delights delivered on classic blue and white Delft pottery just as she does these modern days. We wonder about wearing those wooden shoes, however, because we do really like wearing our comfortable and versatile Keens!
On our last day in Holland, it rained and rained, so we headed to the Kaap Skills Museum on the southern end of the island of Texel. We view lots of artifacts from boats which have wrecked off the coasts of this island. Collected flotsom and jetsom fills one large hall with all these recovered items neatly ordered and displayed. These folks are in the business of reducing entropy! This marine museum has a simulation of an old ‘submarine’ which was a silly highlight of our visit on Sunday. One goes up narrow steps, through a heavy metal door, and then descends into a darkened tube. You sit in a rickety chair and then are tossed and bounced around as you view various marine creatures floating by. The sound effects are seemingly authentic for an ancient submarine which is in actuality an old metal box set in front of a traditional windmill. Truly a bizarre but memorable experience…., but the evidence of shipwrecks brought the subject of tides and shifting sands of Childer’s book into grim reality. Over more than hundreds of years more than hundreds of ships met their demise in these shifty shifting waters in the course of the Dutch bringing spices and wealth and creating for us the good and the bad of big business and international travel and trade.