July 5, 2015
We decided today would be a good day to go to Sneek (pronounced Schnayk) and Lemmer. MLW’s lovely co-worker (LCW) had recommended these Friesland communities to us as not to be missed for their beauty.
After our usual marvelous breakfast …
And this sunny note from Mia …
We headed out.
I meant previously to talk about the modern version of the windmills of Holland; nowadays, we call them wind turbines. When we flew in to Amsterdam Schiphol, we saw two farms of 20 or more of them standing like silent sentinels in a Lord of the Rings saga way out in the middle of the water.
Wind turbines are all over Holland (and parts of France, I later found) to the tune of over 2,000 of them. In British Columbia we have concerns with them due to the bird kill statistics that have been published and because we have—due to a fantastic decision by the then premier of the province (probably the last good decision a premier ever made) to build a few large dams in northern BC in the 1960’s—enjoyed abundant and very clean electricity resources, with no need to seek other energy solutions. We even sell electricity to California.
Holland, with its flat country at sea level or lower and winds coming in off the north sea does not have water running down glorious high mountains and must find a way to have some electric resources of its own, hence the wind turbine.
But they are massive and to me as an outside observer, appear as a bit of an eyesore, most times popping up in the middle of farmer’s fields seemingly willy nilly; even higgledy-piggledy, although I am sure the Ministry of Wind Turbines has an exact plan to harvest the best wind currents they can.
Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.
On our journey Jeeps has an annoying habit of repeating herself if you are stopped at, let’s say, a roundabout (which you will be at least a hundred times a day in Europe and especially in Holland).
The Jeepish conversation then goes something like this:
“Go right in the roundabout, second exit! Then … turn right”
We are waiting, yielding to the cars already in the roundabout.
Jeeps: “Turn Right.”
Jeeps: rather impatiently: “Second Exit … Turn Right!”
“Turn right,” an insistent whine creeps in.
“Yes, Dear,” I mutter. “I’m trying!”
MLW: “Sshh, don’t piss Jeeps off!”
And she is right, don’t piss Jeeps off.
I patted the dashboard … “Nice Jeeps.”
Jeeps next commands were much warmer, it seemed; almost to the point of gaiety.
Eventually we did turn right, which mollified Jeeps but didn’t stop her continuing to repeat herself in this roundabout way.
Anyway, our first stop was in Sneek. Jeeps dutifully led us to the town centre, we found a parking spot …
and this happened:
We waited a bit in the car and the rain seemed to let up so we got out and went to the local parking pay station to pay.
I plugged a few Euros in to cover a couple of hours, got my receipt, and as I did so, a tall well-muscled young man walked by and said, “You don’t need to pay for parking on Sunday.”
“Oh.” For a brief second, I wondered if Jeeps was in cahoots with Parky the parking meter to make me feel really foolish. I decided ha-ha no of course not, that would be silly … for machines ha-ha to become self-aware and collaborate to ha-ha terminate the human race; so while keeping an eye on the guy to make sure he didn’t turn into liquid metal …
I said to MLW, “I guess that could be our donation to the town, then.”
MLW just shook her head.
So, apparently it was Sneek week …
But I don’t know if it would be pronounced Schnayk Vayk or not.
The buildings, as we have come to expect in Friesland were very old and preserved well. There was a Klokhuis, as part of Martinikerk, which I believe was erected in 1498, restored in 1894 and 1989.
Directly opposite was a very interesting modern building, the function of which I never uncovered, but it seemed an attempt to incorporate the old designs with the new.
Canals and lovely walk ways abound.
Narrow alleys too.
On the canals people had duplicated the lovelocks theme now found throughout the world.
Sneek was clearly a shopper’s paradise, so we went looking for an adapter, and indeed we found one! So now we have two ,,, one for back up.
Along the way we located a shoe store that clearly utilized the wrong consultant to provide a snappy name for its business:
Then we travel to Lemmer—another gorgeous town on the ocean with a wonderful canal with restaurants alongside it; a miniature Amsterdam.
Must have a few bucks given the Ferrari car in the driveway.
There is a lock on the canal which has a narrow walkway over it.
Lemmer also has a beautiful beach, with a marvelous strand walkway.
and you can see another wind turbine farm in the distance through the mist.
It was getting overcast and cool so we left for home.
Jeeps gave me directions to the exit of the freeway and then fell silent, but I happened to notice that the red arrow was leading me in a slightly different way then I was traveling. I hopped over a lane and took the red arrow exit.
A minute or so later, Jeeps said, in a resigned tone, I thought, as if ticked that she hadn’t been able to lead me off on another wild goose chase: “Go left at the roundabout, first exit”
And dutifully guided us home from that point on.
The weather seemed to clear up and so when we got home, we were getting ready to go out for Chinese to the Wok …. and this happened:
We waited til it cleared up and then walked to the Wok (or is that wokked to the Wok?)
We were greeted by a young Dutch girl dressed in Chinese costume who was very pleasant and seated us.
I asked for a translation of one of the dishes and she sent us over an Iranian girl who spoke English well and helped us out. She had family and friends in Vancouver, BC.
We ordered a Chop Suey-style dish and were bemused by the fact that chop sticks were not offered, like they always are at home.
The food was great however; the young Dutch girl brought us a large cracker that she recommended as tasty, and it was … very large and tasty.
As we dug in, I noticed a petite Chinese lady, possibly the manager of the restaurant, gliding between tables, dressed in a tight black Chinese traditional suit. She started towards our table … and suddenly stopped. She backed away slowly.
I wondered what on Earth was going on, then I recognized her …
Yes, it was the same terrified lady who had been driving the car behind me during our parking fiasco at the Frys museum.