National Take A Hike Day 2017 A Hike Below Sea Level
Each year that “Opt Outside” and National Take A Hike Day comes around, I think next year, I am going to take an epic hike. On my bucket list, I have checked off a few epic hikes. But, for the most part, I didn’t plan them.
This hike fell into that unplanned category-ish. I meant to visit this place, I just didn’t realize that this hike should have been on that list.
I have that thing for checking out U.NE.S.C.O World Heritage Sites.
U.N.E.S.C.O stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.The World Heritage Program keeps track of endangered sites and helps to preserve places that are important to mankind from a cultural or natural pers[ective.
In the instance of Kinderdijk, which has been on this list since 1997, it is not only a picturesque quintessentially-Dutch canal area lined with windmills, and surrounded by the scenic countryside with villages dotting the horizons.
This beauty also has a brain. It is as described by U.N.E.S.C.O as:
“..the outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day.”
Think about this fact. If nature had her way, 40% of the Netherlands would be flooded and 60% would be in danger.
So, help save the Earth.
Depending on your interest and time, there are many ways to enjoy the Kinderdijk from formal tours, museums, a horse-drawn tram, a step inside a working windmill and many other activities.
Bonus. With this hike, you don’t even have to be in fantastic shape. With the exception of a few bridges over the dikes, its pretty darn flat. The paths are great and hey, this walk is under sea level, so altitude sickness. won’t be a problem.
My photos do not accurately describe the depth of the nineteen windmills that dot the countryside, the silent sound of the windmills, the grasses in the wind, the birds in the air and landing on the water. Truly marvelous.
Of course, there are the personal photos.
And the “I want to be a photographer photo.”
But seriously, it is mind-boggling to me that they were built around 1740. To me, each of the mills had their own personality.
After my visit, I realize that this area would have been a great destination. It’s not a regret assuming that I will return.
Next time I visit the Netherlands, I want to take a bike and my small backpack, hit the roads, I mean paths. And relax. Do those chairs fit in a backpack?
I could go on and on but the woods are calling my name on National Hike Day. Hike on!
MEGastars: 5 of 5 *****
2. Timing. I went in November and the tourists were thin. I would try to go off-season. In fact, I would highly suggest it. I might suggest visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon, within hours if you want to tour, and photograph when crowds thin out.
3. Be aware of the winter hours, as some of the activities will be closed. However, you may still walk, bike, and take photos. See website link above.
4. Do as I say and not as I do. Plan this stop. Today, when I was researching activities, so many others on Trip Advisor were saying the same thing. “I found this place by accident.” Other words used were WOW, picturesque, stunning, best stop that I have ever made. A must see.
5. If you are a photographer, you may want to stay a full day to capture morning and nighttime views. Simply spectacular!
6. Bike rentals are available from the cafe at the Visitors Center. One would need a photo ID here. I am not sure how this works during the off-season. I rented my bike from a nearby bar/restaurant and these are townie style bikes, not probably great for a cross-country tour. I would direct you to do further research for your bicycling needs since there are many options available.
7. On the subject of bicycling. It is a great way to see the Kinderdijk but I would suggest walking it. You will be stopping as I did every few minutes to take a photo.
8. Watch parking signs. I parked in the very nearby town and walked in.