Click on above photo to view it in large format: This authentic windmill in Kinderdijk is one of 19 and part of the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands, built in 1740 to keep lowlands from flooding. Today the entire site is UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites. I visited the windmills as part of my hosted Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour.
More than once I’ve been told by fellow travelers not to bother visiting the city of Cologne, Germany. “Don’t waste your time,” they said. “The only thing to see is the cathedral.” So when I realized that Cologne was the first German city to be visited on my Viking River Grand European Tour, I was prepared to be underwhelmed.
We began our walking tour in front of the Kölner Dom, as the cathedral is known in German, a UNESCO World Heritage Site said to be the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. My first impression was disappointment at the sooty facade, which has been blackened by a combination of natural oxidation and the smoke from steam locomotives that used to pull into the train station next door. But soon, details began to emerge: pointed arches dressed with elaborate geometric decorations, twin towers that soar to a height of 515 feet, an entrance lavish with 19th century statuary, and the flying buttresses that allowed medieval builders to build such a cavernous structure. Read More
Click on above photo to view it in large format: Originally a medieval farmhouse, today’s Noordeinde Palace at The Hague is one of three palaces used by the Dutch monarchy. Since it is located in the official seat of government for The Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander uses it as his working palace.