When you get off the train at Zaanse Schans, Netherlands an intense scent of chocolate rushes up your nose — which is fitting since many of the buildings look like gingerbread houses.
It’s quiet on a walk through a neighborhood in Zaanse Schans – the only sounds coming from my sneakers tapping against the cobbled streets and the feint touch of a cat’s paw slapping the window where it saw a pigeon fly by. Even a car reversing out of a driveway is almost unnoticeable as a few people pedal their bicycles in opposite directions.
Zaanse Schans is famous for its windmills. To get to the windmills, you have to cross a bridge with curved white streetlights that allows one to travel across the River Zaan.
When you cross to the other side of the bridge, you enter a small village surrounded by little alcoves of water. Footbridges bring you from one tiny house to another. Animals are free to roam. A dog trots across a flower garden, a rooster crows, a row of ducks waddle towards some floating lily pads, a cat dashes away from a bumblebee.
The base of the windmills are fat and circular. They are a dark brown color. Another circle of white beams extend out from the base.
One can go inside and watch the large gears – one turning horizontally the other vertically – that allow the windmill to function.
Past the gears, there is an attic-like ladder that brings you to a raised walkway. There,one can stand and feel the choppy wind slashing against their face and look out towards the grassy marshlands where cows and sheep graze.
Look up, and there are orange and white blades that intersect to form an “X.” They circle around and around and if you look out in the distance, you can watch the other windmills moving to the same rhythm.
ThisWeekinWorcester.com intern Andrew Moore is traveling Europe over the next several weeks. Stay tuned for more entries from Andrew’s travel blog!