En route to Kinderdijk and the legend of the Cat and the Cradle

Wooden clogs.  Cheese.  Canals.  Tulips.  Windmills.  The very first images that spring to mind when contemplating a holiday in the Netherlands.

Having previously vacationed in this part of northern Europe over the course of my thirty plus years of traipsing the globe, my pink-sneaker clad feet had had ample opportunity to stomp around in hand-painted footwear and gawk in appreciative wonder at those iconic wind propelling turbines.
Or, had they?

It was the simplest of questions, yet, when my travel buddy casually inquired, “What do you think of the windmills?” I was forced to come clean and sheepishly admit that, despite my occasional sojourns to Holland, I had never actually seen a windmill up close and personal.  Nope.  Instead, my time was spent languishing the day away scribbling in cafés, vino in one hand, quill and paper in the other, penning the next best seller.  When writer’s cramp set on in, the remainder of my time was devoted (and some would say squandered) to scouring the shops and markets in search of that one of a kind designer satchel whilst indulging on wheels of Brie and Gouda.  Sad-but true.  Oh, and frequenting the museums, of course.

So, it was on a slightly chilly but sunny day that we journeyed from our digs in Delft to Kinderdijk in hopes of capturing that National Geographic digital worthy snapshot of the windmill of the day.  Or, so we thought.  The trek itself was worthy of extensive documentation, a monumental undertaking that involved hopscotching from train to tram to bus and then hoofing it to our destination.  Yikes!!   I’m tuckered out already!!

Located some 15 kilometers east of Rotterdam, the village of Kinderdijk sits below sea level  (as does most of Holland) and is home to 19 windmills, all of which date back to the early 1600s.  A UNESCO listed Heritage Site; Kinderdijk translates to “children’s dyke”, its name originating from the Saint Elizabeth Flood of 1421, when a cradle with a baby snuggled securely inside, washed up on the shores of the village.   What is even more astonishing is that the cradle was miraculously kept dry and afloat primarily due to the frantic efforts of a cat jumping to and fro atop the vessel, navigating its precious cargo through the tempestuous waters to eventual safety. 

Whether this tale is indeed fact or legend, “The Cat and the Cradle” is a much-beloved Dutch fairy tale that has enamoured the hearts of generations of children worldwide.

Fortunately for my travel companion and I, neither torrential floods nor hurricane storms loomed on the horizon - our only obstacles and roadblocks were those that related to my irrational fear of riding in metros and underground train tunnels.  Hence, an hour-long journey would no longer whisk you there lickety-split but would be end up being quite the ordeal, taking upwards of several hours and then some – oftentimes, days, if you must know.

Just another travel adventure in the life of Miss Pink Sneakers on the Go…

Yikes!!   Will we ever get there?   Perhaps there’s a reason I’ve never seen the windmills.  Stay tuned for the continuation of our trek to Kinderdijk.

Come trek through all of Holland with us as we navigate our way around the country by cleverly avoiding metros, train tunnels, bridges, schooners, parachutes, helicopters and airplanes.  I’ve always stood by the saying that getting there is half the fun!!   It’s always an adventure of the pink-sneaker inspired kind!!

In two weeks – Next post – Catch up on Wednesday, March 4th.  Stay tuned!!

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