|Living in the moment in Marken, Netherlands. I happened upon this picturesque view of a tiny drawbridge leading into a village street. All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
“The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot
In those six words, T.S. Eliot encapsulates the wondrous journey that is travel and my mission in life, but he also reminds us not to simply get from place to place, but to live in each moment along the way! Of course I agree that destination is the highlight of any holiday and the reason for which we travel but isn’t the journey as equally sublime? Can it be? Have you ever been thrust into a single moment that ignited your childlike wonder and sent it soaring to unimaginable heights? Or, have you shared an encounter with new friends in faraway lands? These kinds of moments, all too often fleeting but sometimes euphoric, are always high on any of my itineraries and my recent adventure with Viking River Cruises proved to be no different. My river cruise through the Netherlands not only delivered on my expectations of a European cruise, it exceeded them with unforgettable moments that I seized and reveled in for the time afforded me. And so it is with this underlying theme of “the journey not the arrival” that I weave together some memories from my journey in the Netherlands—unexpected points in time that enriched my “journey” along the way.
Enchantment in the Dutch Countryside
A most unforgettable moment happened after retiring for the night onboard the Viking River Longship Viking Odin. As we cruised up the River Ij en-route to Kinderdijk, I happened to glance outside my window to behold what was to become one of the most enchanting moments of my cruise. In that moment, I jumped out of bed and went outside to behold a most magnificent scene. For in the distance of the passing landscape and velvety night sky was a picturesque village cast aglow by its clock tower whose faces shone with warm golden hues—a beacon for those who lived in the village as well as fortunate travelers passing by. Suddenly wide-awake with excitement, I reveled in that moment because of its picturesque beauty and so this observer began to wonder about its people, its local sights and its culture. For a brief moment, I wanted to run back inside to grab my camera but thought the better of it, for if I had, the moment would have been gone.
Windmills, Windmills, Windmills
|Just one of Kinderdijk's 19 windmills seen from the canal they pump their water into. All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Our next day, we awoke up a most wondrous land of windmills. Welcome to Kinderdijk (pronounced kinder-dike), a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in Dutch heritage and home to 19 functioning windmills whose oldest dates back to 1521. What made this an unforgettable memory was the misty-morning sunrise punctuated by these iconic and picturesque windmills looming on the horizon. Later that morning, we toured a windmill built in 1740 for an up-close and personal look at the life of a miller. Then, we climbed to the very top! I promise more on Kinderdijk in an upcoming post but for now, I share with you some pics and video of this historically enchanting place!
|Looking up at the back side of a windmill in Kinderdijk, Netherlands. All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
A Cheesy Moment
|Welcome to the De Smikkelaar Cheese Shoppe in Volendam, Netherlands. All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
While wandering through Volendam with my fellow journalist Mattie John Bamman who writes for EuropeUpClose.com, we happened upon a quaint Dutch cheese shop that was so inviting, we just had to step inside for a closer taste, I mean look. ; ) Currently owned by a fourth generation family of fromageres or cheesemakers, this shop was brimming with cheese of every shape, size and color. What made this moment truly special was our encounter with these welcoming folks and our immersion into the lives of Dutch cheesemaking. Not only did they share with us their heritage, they introduced us to various types of cheese and offered us the penultimate moment of cheese indulgence—some of which were among the freshest and creamiest I’ve ever tasted. Funny enough, the young guy in this photo told me to grab two of these extremely heavy cheese wheels to pose for a picture. “Are you kidding me?” I couldn’t budge the two of them so he hands me one, and with trepidation, I reached out to grab it. Thanks to my fellow cheese taster who snapped this pic, I have suspended this memory in time forever.
|My very cheesy moment captured forever in time. All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
A Brief Encounter With A Dutch Bridge
While shooting video up on the Viking Odin’s Sun Deck en route to Volendam, an unexpected thrill was imminent! We were quickly approaching one of the many bridges that span the rivers of the Netherlands, but this one looked like it was going to be within arm’s reach of where I stood on deck. With my trusty iPad video turned on, I recorded this brief encounter with a Dutch bridge:
For now, my adventures must come to an end. I hope this journey inspires you to seek out these fleeting experiences of “living in the moment” and to remember T.S. Elliot as you live each day, each hour, each moment! If you've experienced sublime moments like these, please share them below. I would love to revel in the moment with you!