Tag: Dutch canals

Willemstad, on the Hollands Diepe

July 3, 2019
 
This is Willemstad, a neat small town with a brick clad windmill, as well as a lovely old houses. l. There was an army of large vessels on this beautiful day.   Below you will see a traditional sailing barge, not particularly large but lovingly restored. 

 

From about 500 meters off shore
Town center
One of the harbors
Dutch humor

 

One of few streets in town
restored sailing barge with side keels
In the morning following our arrival we were looking for a place for our guests to try an uitsmijter, a hearty Dutch breakfast.  Nothing was open, the only sign of life being those headed for work by bike, bus or car, and a man walking his dog.  I asked him if there were any cafes open.  “Nay,” he said.  Realizing we were tourists, he explained that the town was a major naval port until the 1950’s.  This explains the octagonal shape and the bunkers.   They built the large bunkers in the middle of the 19th century, so my speculation that they were part of Hitler’s WWII defense system was wrong. 
The brick clad windmill still works, grinding wheat, I think he said. 

 

From Willemstad we back tracked about 5 km then headed north to Oud-Beijerland on the Spui River.  It’s narrow entrance on the Spui River is a bit of a challenge as the current is about 3 km per hour, so the boat crabs towards the entrance.  You have to straighten out at the last moment, once the river releases its grip.   It was lunch time, so we found a lovely place on the harbor.  On the menu:  mustard soup.  Sounds odd, I know, but the cream, onions, garlic and leeks make the mustard just a tangy addition.  We all loved it!  Salmon with various lettuces on dark bread, fries (the Dutch can’t have a meal without them), thin slices of smoked tuna.  Not a English menu in sight, the waitress had limited English, so the chef came to the table to help where our restaurant Dutch was inadequate. 

 

We were unable to stay the night to participate in the many activities, including loud music (playing reggeton, one of my least favorite), so we decided to try for Delft, the home of the famous ceramics.  This took us through Rotterdam harbor, one of the busiest in the world.  Huge ships and lots of them, so we dodged where we had to and otherwise stuck to the shore until we had to cross to go north.  Our preferred route took us further to the west than the one we ended with.  After entering the lock, the lock master told us a bridge was down along the way, so we had to back out of the lock.  Boats do not do well going backwards, but we managed.  Then we had to scoot across the waterway, head a few kilometers towards the center of Rotterdam, then make our way across yet again.  The small lock’s bridge was just tall enough for us to pass beneath, otherwise we’d have had to wait for several hours for it to open, as it was rush hour.  Once through we passed through one very low bridge, then found a nice marina on starboard side.  And there we rest.  

 

Alkmaar

June 2
 
Passing through the remaining seven bridges of Edam is a bit of a challenge due to the narrowness of the canal and the ever present wind.  At times our boat barely fit between the small bridges.  The harbormaster of the day biked from bridge to bridge to open them as we arrived, which helped.  Some of the bridges required him to pull down on a rope.  The last one or two are machine operated, just requiring the push of a button. 
 
Countryside followed the last bridge, with few boats and just one large barge that came around a curve on our side just past the ferry that was loading passengers.    The barge glided past while the ferry waited as both Viking and the barge passed by.  Along the way we saw several houses whose front doors were well below.    
 
At Spijkerboor there is an intersection.  We took the canal that takes you through or in the canal alongside Lake Alkmaardermeer.  There’s an attractive marina with a restaurant in the canal.  Dozens of boats were camped, passengers enjoying the sun. 
 
We moored a few hours later in Alkmeer, our second visit by boat to this town.  This time we moored for a day in the canal, made choppy with passing boats and frolicking teens spinning their small crafts to make the biggest waves they could manage.   We were fortunate to get a spot as there is a medieval festival this weekend, attracting many locals and tourists from afar.  The restaurants and bars were packed and the streets narrowed with by the people sitting at the sidewalk tables.  Traditional sailing barges and other boats lined the downtown harbor, where we stayed last time. 

 

 
The next day the crowds thickened.  Dressed in medieval garb, with makeup mimicking injuries, burns and various diseases as well, men, women and teens marched through town.  Many were in character, displaying mental disorders, and there were a few hunchbacks too.  Along came the well to do in fine frocks and Sunday best.  Vendors sold traditional foods along the route.  I was taken by the apple-cherry pie, which did not last more than a few steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The harbormaster moved us off the main canal the next day.  We stayed two nights right in front of a restaurant, along with a few other boats.  The aromas and chatter lasted well into the night.  Aboard it was sausage and sauerkraut for dinner, for lunch a lekkerbek, a deep fried super bland white fish, with a bit of salad and the ever present fries.  A friendly Dutch woman explained the ‘beck’ is a word for mouth.  I already knew what ‘leeker’ meant.  So leekerbeck is ‘like mouth’ as in ‘tasty fish.’  I disagree.  
 

 

 

 

Memories of the Tall Ships in the Nederlands

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April 2019

We have friends in Haarlem, the Haarlem in the Nederlands, not the Harlem in New York City. We are going to meet them in May at a spot off the Ijsselmeer in the middle of nowhere. It’s where we first met them in 2000. It was their idea, and how charming of them to think of it! We met as we were docking our boat, they helped us get to the bank, and later invited us for Oranjebitter, a liquor made from oranges. This beverage is issued every year in honor of the monarch, still on the throne,

 

Tall Ships Parade to Amsterdam, water color and ink, post card stock

 

 

We met them again later that summer near their house. It was July. The Tall Ships were in Amsterdam on their annual circuit, which this year concluded here. Thousands of smaller boats joined in parades to the harbor. We joined K and A, their daughter M and her husband B in the latter’s boat for a trip to Amsterdam harbor in the twilight. There were hundreds of small craft doing the same. We were bumper to bumper, so to speak. When it was dark out came a large barge stuffed with fireworks as well as huge loud speakers. It was a great show! I am glad Kees was at the helm as it was a pitch black sail back to their harbor.

We resume the boating life in a few weeks.  

 

Tall Ships 2, , water color and ink, post card stock
Crowd at Tall Ships 2015, pen and ink
Tall Ships Sketch 1, , pen and ink

 

Great Canal Journeys- Nederland

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The fabulous canals of Holland explored by Mrs Fawlty and King Lear (actors famous for these roles). Haarlem, Amsterdam, Kukenhof and more. You’ll see why we wanted another boat!

 

Viking in Dokkum

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This is our summer ‘home’ for the next few years.  It’s a 12 meter Dutch motoryacht built in 1996 with a beautiful interior crafted by the original owner from whom we purchased it.  We have not been to Dokkum yet with this boat.  I used a photo of our first Dutch boat Caprice which we did sail to this small town in Friesland.  

                                                                             
Viking in Dokkum, water color, 8 x 8″
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