Day 163: Wouda & ShokklandJuly 27, 2017 in the Netherlands
More World Heritage sites today! First up was a long drive (1 hour 15 minutes!), to the north-east of Amsterdam. Our destination was the DF Woudagemeer steam-powered pumping station, a very different world heritage site! Basically this is a huge water pumping station, built to pump water out of the polders and farmland and back into the North Sea. It's unusual in that it's powered by steam turbines, rather than diesel, coal or anything else. Built in the 1920s, it still operates today though only in emergencies.
We bought tickets for the tour and spent some time going through the exhibition. They also showed us a 3D movie about the process for starting up the steam pumps - it was about five years old so obviously produced at the height of 3D-film-mania, and today it felt a little naff and dated. But still interesting.
Before long we headed off onto our tour, given in English by an older gent. He took his time going around the pumping station, explaining various parts of it and how they worked. Lots of enthusiasm which was nice to see, and I got some good footage of the interior as well.
Finished our filming but we were way behind schedule for the day! Whoops. Had a hurried late lunch at McDonalds and then headed to our second WHS for the day, about 20 minutes drive south.
This was the area of Shokkland, notable because it's the oldest-known settled area in the Netherlands. People had lived on this peninsula since the stone age, but as the seas intruded more and more into the country it eventually became an island. The storms got so bad that the island eroded down to almost nothing, and the last remaining inhabitants evacuated in the 18th century.
A century or so later, land reclamation efforts meant that the island gradually became part of the land around it, and these days it's a slightly-elevated area of grass, surrounded by farmlands and several kilometres from the sea. It's very weird!
We drove to a few points of interest, filming and looking at things including a sea-wall, a ruined church and the remains of a light-house! Cool to see, but you really had to use your imagination to get the most out of it I think.
Back to the car where we drove the couple of hours back to our houseboat, stopping only briefly at the supermarket to pick up some supplies for dinner.Read more