We arrived by plane today in Amsterdam. As we crossed the coast from the North Sea it was striking to observe the flatness of the landscape and tidy organization of roadways below us. This was in stark contrast to the rugged mountains of Scotland, but to be expected since much of this country is ocean floor that has been reclaimed from the sea.
We are guests of Jacobien Ubbink and her family. We met Jacobien in 2013 while walking the Camino. As with many of the pilgrims we met on that journey, we have maintained contact and share many precious memories.
Jacobien’s home is located in the town of Lelystad in central Netherlands. This area was reclaimed from the sea in the 1960s. Her home is approximately 10 feet below sea level and on the shore of a canal. We walked along that canal and came to a pumping station and ship lock. The pumping station is one of the network that hold the sea at bay and discharge water from the reclaimed land to the water side of the elaborate network of dykes. It was our good fortune to arrive at the lock in time to watch a power barge enter the lock and descend from the lakeside impoundment 18 feet to the level of the canal.
We continued our walk to a Marina. While enjoying drinks and some snacks, storm clouds rolled in and unleashed a torrent of hail and rain. After the rain subsided we began the 20 minute walk back to Jacobien’s home. Unfortunately, we did not make it before round two fell upon us. We arrived soaked to the bone! Were that all then we could chock the experience up as just a matter of great fun. However, the small backpack that I was wearing contained our iPads and it was not sufficiently waterproof. Later in the evening we discovered that Christine‘s iPad would not turn on at all, and mine was not acting “normal”. I am writing these notes on my iPhone and hoping that my iPad will be in working order later this evening. The iPad is my principal vehicle for transferring photographs from my camera to you. I am keeping my fingers crossed! If you read this and there are no pictures then you know that the news is not good.
Peace Everyone. Pete
PS. We learned today that Holland and the Netherlands are not interchangeable terms for the same nation. “Holland” is actually two provinces, North Holland and South Holland, one containing Amsterdam and the other containing Rotterdam. The Netherlands are comprised of 12 different provinces.
PPS. The iPad is working, sort of. Christine’s is “dead”. Hopefully things will dry out more and improve.