Saturday, October 31, 2009

Zeeland - Land of the Big Dijkes

This is one of the very big dijkes that was built in Zeeland after the disastrous flooding of 1953. The 'Delta Scheme' was completed to protect Zeeland from inundation from the North Sea.

Huge sluice gates are able to be lifted up and down to regulate the flow of water. One third of The Netherlands is below sea level. Many large cities and huge areas of farmland would be flooded if the dijkes ever failed. The 'Polders' are areas of reclaimed land - it was interesting when biking to come upon, from time to time a fishing village that was once on the shores of the sea and was now many kilometers inland.

Early morning in Zeeland - a place of water, boats, tall deciduous trees changing with the growing Autumn, picturesque villages, farmland and the ubiquitous cycling paths and country lanes that made the trip so pleasurable. In Zeeland many of the cycling paths were on the tops of the old earth dijkes, which gave you the same view you would get from a Mack truck cab.

You can't bike very far in The Netherlands without seeing one of these.

Zeeland ice creams were very yummy and came in the biggest ice cream cones I have ever seen. I took this cone back to NZ to make into an axe handle.
From a distance it looked like a large collection of bats, dive bombing each other. Closer inspection revealed a bevy of wind driven carts racing on the sand - the wind from the kites are harnessed to power the carts.

I stopped in Zeeland to eat an apple and look at this house - before I knew it I had purchased it, redecorated it with a maritime theme complete with a maritime library and was building a traditional dutch Botter yacht in the shed.

After completing the traditional Botter yacht I completed a circumnavigation passing south of Cape Horn (as you do) and then became the director of the Amsterdam Maritime Museum. This is my summer residence - nice eh.

Early morning start in Zeeland. I had a few mornings here where I woke to ice on the inside of the tent and ice on the end of my sleeping bag - with a few days of light rain as well as the temperature drop Autumn seemed to be on its way - then the weather fined up again - there is always an upside to global warming when you want to keep biking.

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