Thursday, April 01, 2010

Drive-Through Windmills

Actually, make that one...because supposedly there's only ONE drive-through windmill in the world. And it's only 56 km (35 miles) from our apartment here in Holland! And yes, that's Granny Towanda driving through it, thanks to Astrid.

The windmill Rijn en Lek (Rhine and Lek rivers) in Wijk bij Duurstede, Holland.

While Astrid is at work during the week, I start Googling to see what the Gran Towanda (thank you, Red-Ink-Art-Photography Linda, for the nickname!) might want to see next. It was a no-brainer when I just happened to find a drive-through windmill that Astrid herself had never seen. So for our third trip out, this past Saturday was our longest round-trip to date at 154 km (96 miles).

But before I go back to the windmill, Wijk bij Duurstede is also known for it's 2 churches AND its castle. It's like slagroom on the appeltaart (whipcream on the apple pie) when you can get everything in one swell foop!

1. The Grote Kerk (Big Church) on the left has a flat top because the bishop didn't have enough money in 1486 to make the tower higher. It began as a Roman Catholic church but is now Dutch Reformed Protestant.

2. The Sint Johannes de Doper (St. John the Baptist) Roman Catholic church near the Grote Kerk is not as imposing but at least it has a spire!

3. The Kasteel Duurstede (Duurstede Castle), on the right, is a ruin from 1270 and is used as the site for weddings today, among other things. Can you imagine!

Of the 3 above landmarks, the Grote Kerk and the castle were my two favorites, as seen in this collage below.

The Grote Kerk and the Kasteel Duurstede.

But you know I'm going to say this: That windmill stole my heart. How is it that there is only one in the world...and how is it possible that it is almost in my backyard!

We saw other churches and windmills and castles both before and after Wijk bij Duurstede, which you can see here in my photo album. But as Astrid and I were driving home, I said to her that if ever we have family or guests visiting us here in Holland, THIS is the city we will show them. It has it all.

And in case you don't believe me, don't forget the klompen!


  1. Wow, how amazing.
    I wonder which came first? Did they build the windmill and then put a road through it or the other way round? And if the road came first, why didn't they build the windmill a few meters to the right? And if the windmill came first, then it makes semse to build the road around it.... all very in-ter-est-ing as that chap on Laugh In used to say.
    and yes, when I come to visit, please take me to that lovely little town.

  2. Your drive-thru windmill reminds me of the drive-thru redwood tree in Wawona near Yosemite National Park.

    I think your plan to take future guests to Wijk bij Duurstede is inspired. One-stop shopping for touristing! Lovely mosaics!

  3. Seeing these pictures make me realise what a beautiful country we live in, maybe strange to say something like that of our country, but so true.
    Driving the Gran Towanda is a delight, I am always at the look out to have an instant stop without being a danger on the road, it is so much fun to see your sparkling eyes when you ask me.......'erm.....can you STOP.....'
    For some added information, the STOP is to take pictures, not to find a toilet....HA.
    Your picture album is fabulous again, you always say I am your biggest fan, how can I not be.
    Pictures are part of your life and I am part of your life.
    I am looking forward to our next trip..........dank je wel, lieve schat.

  4. What great story and pics and what caught my eye when also read the comment from Astrid:
    It's just like I experience since Diane (my wife from the US - whom I met on the net) came over to live with me in Norway. To see (in new perspectives) my country through here eyes is just wonderful!

  5. How beautiful!!! Road trips are so much fun and I agree, showing guests around would be so much fun there. hehe :)

    I just love that last photo the most.. It should be framed!

  6. Oh my gosh Ginnie what a wonderful sight, especially for a windmill lover like yourself! I am truly envious of the beauty that surrounds you - it is all so amazing and each photo that you take brings that beauty to me - thank YOU! I love the windmill but I have to say I'm quite partial to the shot of the wooden shoes - for some reason it really tugs at my heart ... not sure why but I like it!

    I love to read the heartfelt comments of your sweet Astrid. The life that you two are sharing is not only based in a beautiful land but firmly planted in a deep and abiding love that few are blessed to experience. Thank you for sharing that with me as well.

    Thanks also for the shout-out! I'm proud to have given the Gran Towanda a fitting moniker!

    peace and love to you my friend ...

  7. Sham: My guess is that they specifically built the windmill to be driven through, though I don't know. My question is why others haven't followed suit! It's such a novel idea. When you come to visit us, we will definitely take you there! :)

    DB: Yes, I agree on both counts! :) I hadn't thought about the redwood trees till you mentioned it!

    Astrid: I can't tell you how pleased I am to be instrumental in your seeing Holland with new eyes. I love it. You are seeing things for the first time with me, so it's like one big honeymoon. We are so lucky.

    Renny: Yes, you have experienced the same thing with Diane, so you know. It's really a great experience for both parties!

    ET: The thing that most amazes me, Jen, is how close everything is. A long trip by Dutch standards is still one that can be easily done in a day. I'm loving it and eating it up.

    Linda: I'm so glad I had the last-minute thought to add the wooden shoes! The only thing missing is the tulips. :D But soon we'll see lots of them everywhere...and I WILL show them. I am so lucky to have Astrid in my life, sharing these myriad blessings. We give thanks every day, all day long. And YOU are more than welcome for the shout-out. You deserve it!

  8. The first picture is grand – a grand windmill and the little Gran Towanda combine to make it extra special. I like the lights on the side of the house too. You do live in a very picturesque area of the world and I am pleased that you share it with us. Thank Astrid for her sweet comment on my blog, she is a lovely lady. Your collages are artistic – I like the bridge over the water and the last photo could be entered in a photo contest for sure. Thanks to you also for visiting my blog, it is a pleasure to meet you there, virtually.

  9. It's a lovely windmill, Ginnie, but the two things that really jumped out at me were 'slagroom' and the clog photo. My daughter will be beside herself to find out that her favourite thing to lick off a beater is called something to earth (!) in Dutch.

    The clog photo is a marvel - all that wood used for different purposes. Houses, shoes, benches wooden shoes and a wooden house.'s gorgeous. It's great to see that Astrid is seeing her country through fresh eyes!

  10. I am just catching up today and in reading about Granny Towanda, I thought maybe that was Astrid's mother who is visiting you or your mum...
    Anyway, I went all the way back and saw that is the name of your car. I didn't realize it took that long to get a car. I remember you picked it out a couple months ago.
    Well, congrats on christening the new vehicle. Happy travels.

  11. as always, all wonderful photos but i'm charmed by the last one!

  12. Vagabonde: I love the fact that I may be seeing you soon in Atlanta! It's such a small world after all. Then we won't be virtual anymore. :)

    Deborah: Slagroom is such a great name for whipcream, isn't it! And yes, I love all that wood. It's been fun to see how many have liked that image. :)

    Susan: Both our moms have been long gone, so YES this is the car. We made the decision to NOT buy it till I got my residence permit. A week later we bought the car. :)

    Mad: I'm delighted by how many have liked that one last image. Maybe I should make a print of it or have it as my blog heading?! :)