A favorite story from my childhood was “The Boy Who Held Back the Sea.” I was enchanted by the idea of a land full of windmills and wooden shoes, and the ability of one boy to save humanity by holding his hand against the mud for a few hours. I read it to my kids recently and they love it just as much as I always did.
We actually had family move to the Netherlands recently. Meaning… (drumroll, please)… we could visit this fabled land, buy some wooden shoes, and use a legitimate Dutch windmill for a dutch cosplay.
Actually, Zach and planned to have the dike and a whole lot of legitimate Dutch windmills in the background for said cosplay. But we were on our first European sojourn at that point (we have since moved to the continent), and we made the mistake of trusting our somewhat unreliable GPS and just typing in the name of the landmark, which to be fair, did show up. We clicked on it. We started driving. What could go wrong?
I’ll tell you what went wrong: we were looking for the Kinderdijk, but there is apparently also an actual town by that name… someplace entirely separate… and that’s how we ended up stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in Antwerp, Belgium, hours from the windmills we sought, and late for dinner with friends. We gave up.
After a little more research, interviewing locals, and finally some Google Earth action, we finally found a windmill a couple of miles from where we were staying (Doh!). These things are always a lot more adventurous than the pictures relay, for the record. But all’s well that ends well, and the little Dutch girl was happy as she leaned with the windmills, which may be the only thing better than saving the world by holding back the sea.