Beautiful sunny morning and all very cheerful, children buzzing from one playground to the other. Set off promptly for Gonda, via very fertile market gardens, including round Boskoop. Canals and dikes everywhere, masses of barge traffic and occasionally saw bridges to front doors too. Gardens beautiful – almost as much indoors as out! Gonda very busy as it was a general market day, the main square buzzing. Cheese market over – it starts at the crack of dawn, though some cheeses in evidence for benefit of tourists. Beautiful market hall with red and white shutters, steam organ playing and masses of people – like Romford market but how unlike it in picturesque details! Saw clay pipes and clogs being made. Antiques on display, demonstrations, silversmiths and floral art. All kinds of goods. Lovely flowers and FISH. Bought three enormous dover sole 15/- and smacked our lips in anticipation. Did the rest of our lunch shopping then drove out to Oudewate. Here we located the witches scales in a lovely old building and supervised by very Dutch-looking men. All were weighed and none of us are witches, thank goodness… Don’t know about Babbit of course. Then drove out along a dike, tree-line, and little farmhouses on either side till we got tot he motorway and negotiated our way to outskirts of Rotterdam and Kinderdijk. Here we sat in windmill territory and ate our lunch surveying large bundles of cut reeds. Fizzy water, strawberries and sunshine… After lunch went into one of the windmills. Built in 1740, with thatched roof, we saw the small living-room/kitchen/bedroom with cupboard beds. Then up to further bedrooms and up again to the two top floors, me too nervous to go right to the top, Sarah too nervous to come down unaided! Right under the roof anyway and good view of the polders and dikes. These mills all work on Saturday p.m.s in summer, must be very interesting.
Continued our travels via ferry to Krimpen and real business-like river – the Lek – with plenty of traffic. Krumpen is quite old polderland, far below the river level, houses have upper windows and sometimes rood level with the road.
Arrived in Rotterdam and parked near the traffic free area – excellent shops attractively laid out. Found a toy shop – of course – and collected various souvenirs and presents for the children, all beautifully packed. Then off to the zoo, much enjoyed by all. Gareth especially liked the parrots and baby monkeys, other two liked most things, especially the big cats, and also the enormous and very well-equipped playground where they were prepared to spend hours. Several animals being fed which was interesting. Zoo is nicely laid out in gardens and not too exhausting.
Stopped in Delft on way home – it is another picturesque town, red brick houses, canals, market square and impressive market hall. Pottery much in evidence.