Rotterdam -> Vlissingen
Kilometers Cycled: 110
Actually, I wouldn't recommend it - every night, we stay up until 3am, then sleep for a few hours before cycling to our next destination. A bicycle tour on its own is tiring!
From Rotterdam, we head south along the coast. All of Netherlands is a single bike lane, paved with stone. The street signals are designed to inform exactly who has the right of way, and there are no stop signs, only "don't hit the bicycles". The bicycles are the stop signs.
Halfway through our trip, the wind picks up. Against the wind, it's a struggle to maintain 15 km/h. In the other direction, it's easy to cruise at over 25 km/h. We know this because and one point we had to turn around and detour! We pass underneath towering wind farms, the shadows of the blades crashing onto the roadway.
Our ride took us across the famous dike system, that protects the Netherlands from the Atlantic Ocean. These structures are massive, and looking at them from a distance makes you feel like you are in the future.
The wind created a long day's trip for us, but as soon as we arrive, our host Froukje was preparing dinner under the windmill. The miller, who runs the windmill, brings us inside, and shows us wooden gears twirling under wind power, same as they did 320 years ago. From the rumbling of the building, you can feel the strength of the wind acting on the three-story long sails. This mill was used to grind grain into a fine powder, and explains how the workers would adjust their tools to the speed of the wind. Minute to minute, you can hear the gears speeding up or slowing down. Then, the miller walks over to a rope system, and with one hand, stops the entire show. A clever system of wood and friction holds the windmill still. Pulling the rope the other way, the windmill is free, and instantly it begins to turn in the wind.
Neighborhood kids put up posters for the Moon Men, and she had invited the entire town to come see our telescope in front of the windmill. Barbequed pizza, potato salad, and a sunset on the Atlantic ocean. By the time we are finished eating, we have quite a crowd to entertain. Froukje was so excited to share the telescope, she figured that giving all the townspeople a chance to meet each other would be a good thing, it would help people come together to understand each other.
Jupiter is high enough in the sky that we can view it as soon as twilight dwindles, which is right now a bit after 10 pm. Close to midnight, Saturn is ready as well, and we spend the evening toggling back and forth between the two planets. Everyone sees Jupiter's moons, everyone has more questions. It is like a hero's welcome for the town to come out and take a look. Hey, if you know a bunch of people who have never looked through a telescope before, we want to visit you!