Thursday, February 5, 2015

The lone windmill of Holland

Holland was home to the world's oldest wind mills - that is what I learnt in my elementary school when I was just growing up. And then whenever a general knowledge quizzer included a question on windmills, I always got full marks for that question. I would often see the windmills in movies and in photos and always longed to see one right in front of me.

But at that growing and tender age, I did not know that I will have to wait to see one decades later when my hair had almost become grey and that I would be just around 60 to go to Holland (please forgive me for calling the Netherlands as Holland as I like calling it so) to actually a windmill 'live' right in front of me.

I have already shared how I traveled to Holland last September in my post  to meet a friend after 43 years. And while there at Groningen, where my friend lived, he advised me to go to a place called Harderwijk to watch dolphins, sharks, sea lions, seals and walruses at Dolfinarium. So on the third day of my stay in Groningen, we drove to Harderwijk to see the dolphins - something that too I had seen in movies and TV.

En route, we came across big windmills of modern day spinning slowly - but not majestically as the old and original windmills did. But for us these were the windmills in sight and we enjoyed these, never knowing what was waiting for us at Harderwijk.

Harderwijk finally arrived and we started looking for the Dolfinarium - but before we could spot the Dolfinarium, there I saw an actual and original windmill with all its beauty, might and majesty. So for the moment I forgot about the Dolfinarium and parked our car near the place, which happened to be just close to Dolfinarium, and ran towards the windmill. My children could understand my joy and ecstasy as I was watching something at almost 60 years of my age which they were witnessing in their 20s.

Herein under are some of the photos that I took of the windmill that stood there for me for God knows how many years.

Needless to mention, we had many snaps taken with all of us to preserve the moments of seeing the first and actual windmill of our lives.

While my son took my photo with my wife, I did not notice a man coming on a bicycle behind me as can now be seen on our right. He came and stood waiting while I was finished posing with the windmill. Then he walked over to me and asked me to remove my car which I had parked near the place, otherwise he would fine me for parking there as it was not allowed. And he was right as we in our jubilation to see the windmill had ignored the no parking sign. We thanked him for not fining us and my son removed the car to a 'safer' and fine free area.

When we entered the windmill, there was a small shop which was run by the keepers of the windmill and sold souvenirs. When I told her, yes she was a lady, that we had come running to the place to catch the first glimpse of a windmill of our lives, she smiled and went back the shop and must have pressed some button, because suddenly I heard the noise of some machine running. She told us to go out and see what was the noise. And when we got out, to our further amazement, the windmill was running with its cloth-made blades fluttering with the morning breeze, as can be seen in the video below that I made:

I could not have been more happier in my life and after making the video, we went inside and thanked the good lady for running the windmill for us. She offered us some special sweets she had on the shelves and we enjoyed the glimpse of a running original windmill of our lives.

But that day was yet to bring us many new things more - like the dolphins, walruses and seals in the Dolfinarium which was our ultimate destination of the day. I will talk about this experience in one of my next posts.

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