Tag: Nederlands tourism

Hoorn to Lelystad

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July 30, 2019 
 
Leaving Hoorn is an easy affair, passing by the wonderful old keep at the entrance to the old harbor.  From there the crossing to Lelystad takes you across the Markermeer.  We skipped the bird sanctuary just off the coast and then found the convoluted entrance to Lelystad.  The bouys take you along the break water instead of directly to the entrance.  Then there is a lock with a 5 meter (16′)  drop to the polder, called Flevoland.  The land that was recovered from the sea in the mid- 1960’s, thus all the towns are comparatively new and devoid of the traditional architecture that makes the country so interesting.  

 

 

Going down!  The lock at lelestad
 
After the lock there is a bit of a ride to moorings outside town.  We stayed a night at one but finding a poor internet signal we found another, and it turned out to be quite a lovely spot!

 

Viking at Geldese Hout Bridge, pen and ink , 14.8 cm x 21 cm, 5.9 x 8.3″
Geldersebrug (Gelderse Bridge) at Geldersebrug Hout (Woods), pen and ink, 5.9 x 8.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is room for 4-5 boats, it is quiet and peaceful, and just a 5km ride to Lelystad, or you can take the bus whose stop is just 5 minutes by foot.   There is a derelict boat, its windshield covered with paint, being the only blot on the scene.  Someone is living on it, who is apparenty handicapped.  A wheelchair sits on the dock.  It came and went several times while we were there.  We never saw the person, who must go to town to charge the chair as there is no electricity at this location.  There were several friendly people on the other boats.  Coming in, there was only room at the end of the dock, a difficult spot to secure.  A woman came to us offering to move their boat, having just returned from their bike ride.  They then helped us dock, as it was a tight fit.   
 
We took the bus to the Batavialand Museum.  It has several significant attractions.  The Batavia is a replica of the flagship of the Dutch East India Company.  The original was built in 1628.  It carried a large cargo including spices from Indo-China, for which the people acquired a taste which remains to this day.  Kip sate (chicken with a peanut sauce) is a popular offering.  A rice tafel is an elaborate dining experience, with a wide variety of meats and veggies served on a lazy Susan.  

 

Also in the museum is a huge tapestry, reminiscent of the Bayeux Tapestry.  It is a history of the area, starting with prehistoric times.  Link to video.  It was done by a group of about 27 volunteers including artists, embroiderers and amateur historians. 
 
Nearby there is an exhibit with an excellent English guide taking you through the exhibits of early settlements in the area, dating to 5000 BCE.   They moved from place to place to find the high ground, often returning to the same locations once the waters receded.  
 
Next we came to Dronten, a forgettable town with a pleasant harbor that is organized as an association, meaning in this case that everything is done by volunteers.  One of them came from South Africa.  He explained that there were conflicts between Africans and the white population, as well as between the Afrikaners who speak a form of Dutch and the English speaking population, of which he was a part.  He was of Dutch heritage however.  He also had huge properties in Mozambique.  He lost them when the government forcibly removed control of land from foreigners.   
 
Then came Zwolle, which we had visited in our boat Caprice in 2000.  They were working on the harbor at the time.  It is quite attractively done but from our point of view there are several shortcomings.  The piers are short so when you dock you can easily come against the boats next to you.  With the wind pushing us that is exactly what happened.  However the people on the boat had anticipated the problem and were there to push us off and keep the bow from hitting the dock.  Boaters always help one another like this.  The second issue is the vertical ladder you need to get to the land.  It is about 1.5 meters high.  One slip and you could face a serious injury.  Getting bikes up is quite a challenge.  Fortunately our little bike is light so I was able to get it to the repair shop for a bit of wheel truing, although I had feared I would need a new wheel. 

 

 

The remaining gate in Zwolle
 
In the morning we went to the street market on Gasthausplein.  Lots of vegetables and fruit, as well as the fish truck.  A friendly shop owner repaired one of our phones.  He spoke no English.  We are finding more people here than elsewhere who speak little or no English. 

 

After a quiet night we backed out, with the wind pushing us into the boat on the other side of us, then passed under the two bridges without much delay, unlike when we entered when we waited for 20 or more minutes with the wind pushing us about.    We were heading to Giethoorn, the magical waterland, with a stop along the way near Zwartsluis, a tiny town on the canal the other side of a lock with barely room for two boats of our length.  The friendly lock keeper told us of an event that evening and also of the predicted strong winds, which showed up the next morning. 
 
There is a large mooring area just outside Zwartsluis, with perhaps 20 boats already moored but room for many more.  After a while we noticed much increased activity on the road.  Cars, bikes and pedestrians were going north towards the next bridge.  I thought there was going to be a boat parade or something like that, but we were in quite the treat. 

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.  
 

 

 

 

On the River Vecht

May 2019

 

The Vecht is a small river that looks to originate near Utrecht, terminating in the IIjmeer.  Where we are moored just outside Nederhorst den Berg, a one street town.  We are practically in the shadow of an old windmill, probably restored as it appears to be in good condition.  There are cows to our left, water birds and fish to our right, and a bike path leading to the town.   We are not alone.  Kees and Ada are still here and helping out at every opportunity.  As we’ve run across several challenges in addition to painting sections of the boat, for which Kees’ 50+ years experience coming in might handy, I have found several leaks, a dead fresh water pump and a few non-working electrical connections plus a bank of nearly kaput batteries. 

To get here from Haarlem we took the North Sea Canal past Amsterdam.  This canal carries huge vessels and tug boats.  Amsterdam is a very busy harbor.  There are a dozen or so ferries that transport people across the canal so you have to be vigilant.

 

Kees and Ada in front of us:

 

Amsterdam train station:

One of Amsterdam’s more lively bridges:

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my first sketch from the boat (digital).  Once we get everything working and organized I can return to artistic painting, which I prefer to boat painting, as you might imagine.  For one, there are a lot fewer muscle aches from being in odd positions, and there is a lot less scrubbing.

 

 

Weesp is not far away as the crow flies.  Boats do not fly unless you are in very serious trouble so between the meandering of the river and slowness of the travel, a 30 minute journey takes 90.  We made the trip there to have the boat hauled in an effort to find the source of the leak.  This turned out to be easier than we feared.  A few taps on the keel showed it was not full of water, eliminating the possibility of a keel leak.  A through hull fitting looked odd and it turned out to be the problem.  Remove it, caulk it, replace the gaskets, and voila!  I’d tested the batteries with my volt meter and found them to be well less than 12 volts.  I had him test them and he found that all but the starting batteries were knackered.  Time for new ones.  These are deep cycle marine batteries so they are not cheap but you can not live aboard without them, so in they must go.  They weigh 45 kilos so this is a job for more than one man and ones with younger backs than mine.  

 

Pond in Zaandam

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Zaandam is a town near Amsterdam pieced by a canal.  It is most famous for paintings of houses by Monet when he lived there, and the chocolate factories, of which one remains flooding the area with its lovely aroma.  Here’s a scene from near where we lived.

 

 

Pond in Zaandam, acrylic, A3, 16.5 x 11.7"
Pond in Zaandam, acrylic, A3, 16.5 x 11.7″

 

Detailed views:  

 

In Holland: a friendly generous gesture

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I took the the first two photos in Friesland, which is in the north and most rural part of Holland.   We saw perhaps 6 of these older wind mills, some of them still at work.

We stopped for coffee. There were four older men playing cards and after we got our coffee, the waitress showed up with these appelgebak mit slagroom (apple pie with whipped cream), one of our favorites.   One of the gents treated us, and as we were waiting for the coffee he even paid that!  I have no idea why, other than perhaps we were the rare visitor to these parts.  They would have known we were speaking English, although none of them seemed to understand anything we said to them directly.  The waitress spoke it quite well however.   

This event has more meaning if you know something about the Dutch.   Some might call them stingy or tight.  For example in our airbnb in Dordrecht they had coffee in the guest room.  Very nice.  But there were two coffee creamers.  Not four, not six, just two.  In another, it states if you use a whole roll of toilet paper you have to pay 2 euros extra.  The generosity we experienced was quite the surprise for us, having spent almost a year in the country over the past 20. 

The little restaurant sits across the field from the restaurant.  Earlier we were in Dordrecht, in the southwest part of the country where we spent the night on in a small outbuilding.  Our friendly hostess showed us around her lovely property, sitting on water’s edge.  Across the way is an island hosting beavers, hawks and owls and more, as well as the usual ducks and coots.

 

Applegebak mit slagroom
Windmill in Friesland

 

Sculpture in Dordrecht

 

 

 

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