Viking in Dokkum 2


This is my second rendition of our boat in front of one of the two old windmills in the tiny town of Dokkum in Friesland, the northeast province of the Netherlands.

Viking in Dokkum 2, water color, 8 x 8″, 20 cm x 20 cm on Arches paper



July 29-30, 2019 
Hoorn (circa 1200) is another of Holland’s charming historical villages.  It is on the Ijsselmeer south of Medemblik.  On our boat it took about four hours.  The sea was calm, fortunately, and the strong breeze kept us quite comfortable in another warm day of around 27c (80f).   There were many people out sailing, mostly closer to shore that we were.   In the photo below you see the ferry that goes between Medemblik and Enkhuizen.


The ferry between Medemblik and Enkhuizen
Entering the lock at Einhuizen. Made just for pleasure craft, one of the easiest we’ve been in
The harbor in Hoorn is quite impressive, starting with the Hoofdtoren, a fortification dating from 1522,  one of the last remaining.  From here ships traveled around the world for the Dutch East- Indies Company VOC.   There is a bronze sculpture of the characters of a popular 1924 novel about a 17th voyage to the East Indies. 


Entering the harbor in Hoorn


We came to rest in the Binnenhaven, which we’d rejected at first as being fully occupied.  However after calling the havenmeister (harbor master) we found that here you are expected to allow others to moor to your boat.  He was there to meet us on his dinghy -I was expecting him to be in or near his office – which is equipped to help moor when necessary, and stayed with us as we docked just in case, as it was a close fit.   We were moored with a youngish couple with two boys around 8 years old, very friendly and on the way to Lelystad in a few days, as were we, as well as a bird sanctuary just off the coast of that town.  They have a 12 meter boat but only about 2 meters wide and close to the waterline, so they chose to move so they would be able to see out more readily.




Bontekoe’s shipmates from the novel



Hoorn’s name may have come from Hornus, the stepson of King Radboud.   However there are two other possibilities, one a sign depicting a post horn in an early 14th-century hanging in Roode Steen Square.  A third claim is that the name comes the shape of an early port.  Another is that the Hoorn derived from Damphoorn, a medieval name for a abundant local weed made into whistles.  (see 
There are several museums.  We visited the Fries Museum, in the former  (1632), the meeting place of the council of Westfriesland.   There are a half dozen or so excellent group portraits in one of the rooms, and a significant number of portraits with out of proportion heads.  













View from Statencollege of Roode Steen Square












Between Hoorn and Medemblik you can travel by steam locomotive. 
Steam Locomotive Hoorn to Medemblik. It is 105 years old
The volunteers have painstakingly restored the engine and cars.  We enjoyed the company of a tall blond (there are many here) and her two girls, here depicted with the volunteer attendant in very well made traditional costume.  


Next:  dropping six meters from the Ijsselmeer into Flavoland.

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.  


‘s Hertogenbosch

June 16, 2019
‘s Hertogenbosch


This city of 150,000 offers a mix of traditional and modern architecture in its downtown area. There are restaurants, bars and cafe’s galore, most of them busy this beautiful Sunday. Meanwhile, huge silos of a defunct factory have been painted by artists in celebration of graffiti art. A break dance competition judged by three people of African origin with a black dude as announcer continues on the other side of the silos. But then it turns weird in a friendly way.


A small boat the size and shape of a grand piano floats by. Live piano player and a live singer maneuver through the harbor. Meanwhile a float with a tower holds a half dozen or so people dressed as coal miners who are then attacked by people in white outfits. Back in the canal an eight armed octopus lifts its arms while moving along, preceded by what looks like mushroom caps, followed by contraptions and what not, some of which would take long descriptions that just won’t communicate the scene adequately, so here are some pictures.












Aside from the costumes, which allure to times ranging from the medieval to the industrial revolution, we were unable to fathom what it all meant, nor did anyone else we talked to other than one participant who said they were preparing for an event next week, suggesting this was all a dress rehearsal.  We did indeed watch them towing various platforms with small outboards. 
Two other items of interest are the bosche bol, a chocolate covered profiterole filled with real whipped cream, a local treat we are told are produced in the thousands by a local man, and sausage filled rolls.  We shared onf of the the former in a dessert and finger food joint around the corner from the mooring.  Quite the rich treat with a crunchy bit of chocolate, a thin layer of dough following by the richest cream this side of Ire;and.    





May 29, 2019
From our lonely spot on the Eem River we cruised into first the Goolmeer, which then becomes the Ijmeer, then the Markemeer, which in turn is  the Ijsselmeer, an inland sea that opens to the North Sea.  This is all one body of water with sections given these various names.  These labels allow you to locate yourself more precisely.  Nonetheless when it comes to major floods, such as the one in the mid-1950’s, when the North Sea rose leading to death of many thousands, the sea is the sea and only dikes can keep it at bay.  
We picked our day based on the gentleness of the winds.  The forecasters got it right.  It was sunny, with gentle breezes only, nary a ripple on the surface.  It was a beautiful journey at 5 knots (5.5 mph, about 9 km).  The most interesting sight along the way was the lighthouse at Monnickendam.  


View from the Bridge\














We skipped Monnickendam and Volendam in the hopes of securing a mooring in downtown Edam.    Edam is famous for its cheese, and like Alkmaar, for its cheese races during which teams of two carry scads of cheese.  


From Wikipedia


The name comes from the dam on the River IJe where the area was first settled.  It was called IJedam, which morphed into Edam.   A small lock that helps keep the sea out leads to a small canal which leads to 7 small, low bridges, for which you pay 1.20 euros to pass through. 



From WIkipedia
But what’s the hurry?   This town of 8000 is packed with charm.  There is a central square.  On one side is a typical tall house, leaning a few degrees as happens here when the pilings can’t keep it upright.  I imagine all the tables and chair legs are cut so that you can sit flat and not have things roll off the table during dinner.   At the square there is a large bricked hump over which you climb to get to the other side of the street.  It encapsulates the river Ej.  I have seen this unusual feature elsewhere in Holland. 


Bridge in Edam, watercolor, 8 x8,” 20 cm x 20 cm Arches paper
Our mooring – bikes on deck, secured for today’s journey
We moored just a short walk from the center, enjoyed some applegebak met slagroom, and took in the culinary and architectural charms.  












In Eemdijk, a small town

May 29, 2019


I have a new gallery.  They put up a number of my paintings.  Check them out at  


We have been on Viking for almost a month, making necessary repairs, learning how things work, making it more comfortable for us, going through the previous owner’s tools, nuts, bolts screws, spare parts and so on.  We also had some painting to do.  Our Dutch friend painted the upper deck for us.  His 50 years of experience of steel boat ownership has been really helpful, not just on the painting but a lot of other matters as well.  His wife Ada knows a lot too, and helped us recover our mooring skills.  In our first boat we traveled over 2000 kilometers between Holland, Belgium and France but that was 18 years ago.  We went through hundreds of locks, docked a thousand times or more, but still, you get rusty. 


We left Weesp and turned south to the Eem River.  This is where we met Kees and Ada on our second night out in Caprice in 2000.  That mooring is gone as Eemdijk has grown and looks more prosperous.  There is another mooring a bit further upriver so we moored there.  There are fields and a bike path on one side and a prosperous farm on the other.  A friendly boater helped with the lines, but left later so we spent the night alone under the stars in the relentless Dutch wind.


Hand cranked ferry on a canal off the Eem River
Quite a few rowers pass by
A bike ride into the wind to Eembrugge, a few kilometers on a bike path
We saw this on the Vecht. The Dutch get on anything that floats


There are numerous bikers and some walkers as well.  If you go to Eemdijk you can take a small ferry across the river into town.  That ferry was not here in 2000. 

Today we leave for Edam, on the IJsselmeer.  This inland sea is rather like Lake Pontchatrain.  It can get rough, but you pick your weather.  It should be flat today.