June 30: Visit to the Netherlands

We drove into Ostende and poked around a bit and then headed up the Belgian coast toward the Netherlands. We bought some excellent pastries along the way - the best since Switzerland. We followed the coastline and the campgrounds about 20 miles NE to Knokke. We drove on some some small roads through farmland into the Netherlands - there was not even a passport check at the border.

We almost immediately saw the classic sight of the Netherlands - a large windmill. During our brief stay in the Nederland we saw quite a few of them. I was impressed with the intensiveness of the cultivation of the land. Most of the land was in grain, truck crops or dairy cattle. The ground looked very fertile and the crops were in excellent condition. It was interesting to note that even the trees were planted in an orderly fashion - evidence that all the vegetation here was the result of man's toil after reclaiming the land from the sea.

We are quite accustomed to dealing with several currencies but today required more than the usual mental gymnastics as we switched back and forth among dollars, pounds, Belgian francs, and Nederland guilders. One interesting transaction was when I, an American, had to get a pound sterling switched into Belgian francs in order to buy an American magazine printed in the German language (Das Beste aus Reader's Digest).

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