Departure 1000, short visit to Willamstad and then it was off to Dordrecht. Weather not quite as sunny as we’ve been used to, but not too bad all the same. Had a quick stroll around Dordrecht, but have decided to stay another day to explore the town further. A lovely day walking around exploring Dordrecht today, nice to not be on the move, to have a lay day.
Dordrecht to Gouda – 19nm
Wet and cold today, glad we were only going to Gouda as the bridge right after Gouda was being worked on and wasn’t opeining anyway. However this meant that there wasn’t much room in the tiny Gouda Marina and we had to raft up. Fortunately Phil remembered that it was a very tight marina and had reversed down the canal to get there. tHis meant for an easy departure and easy raft up alongside a very friendly dutch motor boat. Had planned to walk into the town for an explore, but it was so windy and raining on and off, we decided against it. Keith went for a short explore on his own.
Gouda to Kaag Island – 19nm
Extremely strong winds today, Phil did well to negotiate the waiting at the bridges and being tossed around by the winds. We were thinking of stopping at Olde Weathering, but it was miserable as we were going past, so decided to go on a bit further to Kaag Island where we knew there was a nice warm pub and it was closer to the opening bridge (timed bridge). We tied up at Kaag at the same place as last year. Phil was soooo cold, he had a warm shower and after a brief warming up by our heater, we headed off to our Pub. Only to find it was closed ‘due to the weather’. Of course. Fortunately the local hotel was open for business, so we were able to have a beverage and light dinner in there. It wasn’t a late night however, as the warmth of the boat was calling.
Kagg to Haarlem – 16nm
So, the published Standing Mast Route information chart we have, told us that the bridge opened at 1225.
So we were there ready at 1200…and the bridge didn’t open…neither did it open at 1245. We finally were able to contact the bridge ahead of this one and they told us that the times had changed for this year and that the bridge now didn’t open until 1340. Ok, a short wait and then we were off again. It seemed like the bridges are not as in sync this year as last year as we were waiting more and more with each bridge. Finally, we had to wait again for over an hour for the last bridge that we missed by about 5mins. Oh well, no where to tie off this time, so motored up and down the canal, just waiting. AS we passed one little house, a lady popped her head out the window and yelled “Aussie”!! She was Australian too. The next time we passed she called out “Where are you from?” when we told her Townsville, she responded “I was born in Townsville”. What a small world hey.
Finally made it into Haarlem by about 1830. A very pretty last hour through the town. Then it was right up the road to a
Pizza place we remembered from last time.
King’s Day in Haarlem. Started off as a rainy day, but by the time we’d finished our brunch, (a morning celebration for Teresa and Keith’s wedding anniversary) the weather had cleared enough for us to explore the town and all it’s festivities. So many little stalls of people selling their unwanted stuff. Like a huge open air garage sale. Good fun. We stopped for an afternoon drink session and watched the world go by for a bit then back into the fray for a hamburger and fries. What a great day. We got back to the boat just in time literally 1 minute before it started to hail!
Haarlem to Amsterdam – 12nm
On advice from the Harbour Master we were ready to move at 0900 for the first bridge. WE got through 2 bridges and then had to wait for a good half hour for the next bridge…..we have found the bridges to be very late in opening this year and once again today we had to wait for most of
the bridges…for no apparent reason. We knew that the large bridge at the end of the canal would only open at 1020 and then not again until 1420, so were ready to depart at 0700 this morning. However, after chatting to the harbour master and the bridge guys yesterday, were told differently. As you would expect then, with all the delays, and another one at the sluice, we missed the opening of the big bridge by 20mins. We put it down to a misunderstanding due to language barriers.
Oh well, nothing to do but to sit and wait until the bridge opens. Then we were off again. Amsterdam here we come! Got the bridge to open into the city marina, and tied up on a hammerhead. Then there was a big of confusing discussion with the harbour master as to if we could stay there or not as a big boat was coming in on Saturday, however without a bowthruster, we didn’t want to squeeze down into another space. So eventually it was decided that we would stay until Saturday and then move across to the larger marina on the other side of the canal (not close
to the city, and requiring a ferry to get across)….then an hour later when I saw him again, he told me he would try to work something out, we may not have to move, and he would let us know tomorrow (sure enough, the next day it was decided we could stay where we were for the whole time, no need to move out!!)
So now we are about a 5 min walk from Amsterdam city centre…time to explore.
After dinner on board…chilli beans cooked by K&T we walked around A’dam and saw most of what it had to offer. Most of the shops were all open until 10pm so a buzzing, thriving city till well into the night.
Visit to Zaanse Schans – been a bit rainy today, but meant to be clearing, so armed with umbrellas we caught the bus up to Zaanse Schans to a little village where everything has been preserved…working windmills, a cheese factory, clog making shop…everything Dutch you can see here. As it turned out, no need for umbrellas at all. Got back late in the afternoon, and K&T had a
canal cruise and then it was out for dinner….on a whim, we decided to visit the ice bar, that we’d just found out about…what a good move that was. It was 16 Euro entry fee, but then you got 2 drinks inside the ice bar and then a cocktail once you’d exited and were back in the main bar!! Inside you could have a beer and a vodka, or 2 shots of vodka. I had a chocolate vodka and it was beautiful, then I also tasted the whipped cream one – both very nice.
Bit of a late night after that, but an interesting walk back. The red light districts were working in full force at this later hour. K&T had to do some final packing on our return as we had an early start in the morning
Bye bye to Keith and Teresa and Hello to Narridy!!
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