Title Thumbnail

Windmills and Wooden Shoes

118 pages
Library of Alexandria
Take, if you will, the state of Delaware, something less than half of Maryland and the lower end of New Jersey; turn them upside down; drive Delaware and Jersey and the most of Maryland below the level of the sea; let the waters of the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay seep in over the low-level territory; dike up the edges at the weak and exposed parts along the coast; pump the country dry, and keep it pumped dry, as far as possible—then, with a little less regularity of contour, you will have almost a geographical counterpart of Holland, both as to acreage and topography, although of but one fifth its total population. The Chesapeake Bay would equal the Zuyder Zee; Baltimore, if shifted to the other side of the Bay, might be substituted for Amsterdam; Wilmington on the Delaware would displace Rotterdam on the Maas; Hagerstown would fit the position of Arnhem; and, with the aid of a little elasticity of the imagination, Cape May might be mistaken for the Hook of Holland. Such, in brief, are the physical dimensions of, perhaps, the most unique, the most remunerative travel territory, acre for acre, in Europe. Holland, like ancient Gaul, is divided; but into two parts instead of three. If we draw an imaginary line north and south bisecting the Zuyder Zee, the country on the west side of this line may be designated as the more be-traveled, therefore the more familiar part. Hundreds of thousands of tourists, singly, in groups, in “personally conducted” parties, annually make use of it as a playground. Its unusual below-sea-level scenery, its historical buildings, its marvelous waterways, its sandy bathing beaches, the life in its cities, the poetic costuming of its rural inhabitants, its treasures and masterpieces of art—all combine to fulfill every condition required by the average sight-seer. In no other section of Europe are the distances between places of interest so short; in no other section are the modes and conveniences of reaching these places so varied. If the traveler relies solely upon the railways to carry him from one point to another, he may be compelled to wait two hours in order to ride ten minutes. A happy combination of the steam tram lines, the railways, and the canal packets, will enable him not only to get about without loss of time, but to penetrate curious, out-of-the-way parts of the country which one or the other of the different methods of transportation may overlook.