The Road Trip Adventure: Day 3 - Detour to the Netherlands. Again. Sort of.

July 6th, 2013

And so we come to the end of the trip. Where we just drive home and snuggle back into real life...

Psych!! There would really no reason to have a post then would there??

As we drove to Michigan, we looked all around for "sights." Reasons to pull over the car and hang out. And we really...didn't find much. That's not a slam against the mitten. We rarely find things while on the road. But then we drove through Holland. Since Elias and I just got back from our jaunt to the Netherlands, we chatted about Dutch things and how it was funny we are driving through Holland. It turned into a running joke. So basically, we had to stop in Holland on the drive home.

Holland, MI was only an hour (at the most) from our hotel. So it was not really a middle-of-the-trip stop. But it didn't matter. It ended up being a really great end to our trip. Wait. Should I have put a Spoiler Alert?? Dang it...

Last night, we looked at the options for Holland. As we drove up, we saw ads for the Nelis' Dutch Village. It's the "history of the Dutch village come to life!!" It was right off of Rt 31 and would have been an easy exit. But it also looked a little kiddie-ish. There was a giganto wooden shoe on the billboards. And it was pretty expensive. So we took a pass. But higher up on the TripAdvisor list was where we eventually ended up. Windmill Island. This place was worth a stop.

Now I have to say...both Nigel the GPS and iPhone Maps sent us to the middle of Holland. Not sure why. Really not sure why (though it doesn't help Nigel as I have to decide if he needs to be retired). But I ignored the signs (literal signs...the ones on the road. Not a "sign") and went with technology. Again!! I have got to stop relying solely on technology.

Once we finally made it to Windmill Garden Island, we were set. The cost wasn't bad. $7.50 per person (no kid or Senior pricing for us). As we parked the car and walked in, we were ushered into a building that showed a movie about the Windmill Garden Island. Back in the day, the Netherlands were exporting windmills to (seemingly) anywhere that wanted them. But after the war (WWII) decimated the country and the windmills, the Dutch government put a halt to windmills leaving the country. So De Zwaan was the last windmill that was shipped to another land.

As we left the movie, we walked over to a steam organ to watch the lady in the old-timey outfit play a song on the organ. It was very much like a player piano, where the sheet music rolls in the organ. It controls the organ music and the percussion. Kind of cool.

Our next stop was the actual windmill. At 1215p, there would be a traditional dance at the windmill. So we wandered over there. Along with the rest of the people on the island. Admittedly, it was still early in the morning, so there weren't a ton of people yet. A little after 1215p, the six ladies came out of the windmill. Three dressed as ladies, three as dudes. They did a traditional dance and you could see just a bit more of their soul dying with every twirl. I mean, it wasn't awful, but you did feel just a little bad for the girls as they went through the motions.

When the dancing was over, the girls began giving tours of the windmill. Now here's where the info is going to be a little light. Because it was hot and I didn't listen much to the tour. There were 5 or 6 floors inside the windmill. And this windmill is used to turn something into flour (yep, light on info).

While I was spending time not paying attention to the tour, I did find a little bit of serendipity on one of the floors. Our guide mentioned they found an original plaque on one of the blades that was rebuilt some time ago. I was milling about, not looking at what she was talking about, but I did see the plaque. The city where this windmill was originally built - Kinderdijk. Kinderdijk!! The same Kinderdijk Elias and I went to only three and a half weeks earlier!! The place where I got my massive sunburn!! That was cool. Seeing the plaque. Not my sunburn. I'm still dealing with the ramifications of that burn…

After some photo ops with the windmill, we wandered back to the car for some air conditioning. And we had to figure out where we wanted to stop for lunch before we hit the road for the rest of the drive. There was a brewery in downtown Holland that seemed to be the fan favorite. As we drove by the brewery, we saw an Irish Restaurant across the street. Elias perked up at the idea of a Shepherd's Pie. It was probably 90 degrees and he wanted the heaviest meal ever. We went with his request and went to the Curragh Irish Pub.

The Curragh is notable as it was our last outdoor dining experience. Sure, it was our last meal of the trip anyway, but since we were on a roll with the outside dining, I figured it needed to be stated. Yes, Elias had Shepherd's Pie. I decided I would have one last splurge and started with a Strongbow. Sigh…

Before too long, we were back on the road. And as it was meant to be, nothing too much happened for the rest of the ride. We did have to stop for a Starbucks moment. I was getting tired and we needed gas anyway. Elias and I could always use Starbucks. Mom…she hasn't found her Starbucks' addiction. Yet. She still has time.

And so we made it home. We were only gone for three days, but we packed as much as possible in those days. I think we all had a good time. If anything, the food was enough to keep us happy for this trip. That's all that really matters. Now I just have to detox to go back to Weight Watchers next week. Oof...


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