Kinderdijk Netherlands

In the late morning, everyone gathered in the lounge to listen to Richie, the program director, sing a few songs. Richie just completed his first 5 weeks as a program director for Viking. Before that he was part of a touring company on ocean cruises for 14 years – his most recent role as Frankie Valle. He first appeared on the London stage when he was 10 in Les Miserables and has performed for the Queen. Viking struck gold when they hired him.
In the afternoon, we went on a tour of the windmills of Kinderdijk. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level. Polders are reclaimed land surrounded by dikes. The water level inside the polder is lower than the river level. When the water in the polder gets too high, it must be pumped out and dumped back in the river. Beginning in the 16th century, windmills did this job. Kinderdijk has a collection of 19 windmills.
Life inside a windmill:
steep steps, many opportunities to hit your head, small spaces for beds and storage.

Then we drove through the countryside to a “cheese farm”.
The farmer’s wife makes the cheese – mostly gouda, with many variations. 1600 gallons of milk/day yields about 1200 pounds of cheese – every day!
Three days in a salt brine bath.
The temperature- and humidity-controlled aging room:
Then the farmer showed us his part of the business. About 5 babies are born every week. These cows are close to delivering.
He has 258 milk-producing cows but also an ongoing breeding operation. He sells 45% of the calves but keeps the best for himself.
This is our last dinner on Viking Gefjon. Favorite waiter: Aldrin, but everyone called him Buzz. He really liked it that Lenin was Filipino and I had three grandchildren. He works 8 months on Viking ships, then goes home for 4 months. He will be home in just a few days.
Tonight we sat with some of our favorite people. Pat and Richard from Montreal:
Theresa and Jeff from N Carolina:
And finally, what I hope is the last dessert for a while – carrot cake. The food on this trip has been way too good.

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