After Woerden we were two weeks off the grid. We entered the Amstel River, the river that gave Amsterdam (dam on the Amstel) its name many centuries ago. For several days we were in Oudekerk (Old Church), moored in front of several restaurants that had just been permitted to reopen outdoors. The weather did not cooperate so few chose to brave the cold winds and rains that plagued so much of May. We ordered borrels (appetizers). They delivered to the boat, quite the treat, and on ceramic plates with silverware, not plastic. When we were done all we had to do was call and they came with the bill.
Across the river you are in Oudekerk proper, a town of a few streets. As the weather cleared the bars and restaurants filled, which h we noted as we biked past looking for the grocery store and the Gamma, a large chain selling paint and lumber. Their paint machine broke as they prepared our boat’s dark dark blue paint but at least we saw all the outdoor activity on a lovely day, at last.
We are not far from the larger town of Amstelveen about 15 minutes on our bikes, and about 20 kilometers from Amsterdam. Amstelveen has a large immigrant population. We learned this as we searched for grocery stores in the area. Many were Indian and other southeast Asian shops. In one Indian shop we found red chili flakes, a must for Indian as well as Italian cooking, at least as far as I am concerned. We stocked up on wine from another shop, racing home against the forming clouds.
We turned back on the Amstel, as we can go no farther towards Amsterdam due to low bridge clearances. We are again in Uithoorn, south of town. We were here the other day, moored while the bridge was repaired. Two hours turned into three, but no matter, as we had shopping to do. With these small refrigerators, found in many apartments in European cities as well as boats, you must go out often for fresh items. From our mooring we are just about 10 mGoogle maps. I went looking, The locations marked on Google maps no longer exist. I went several kilometers several times to find nothing. I headed back to the boat through the tiny downtown to check there, just in case. I saw no Post NL and was about to give up when I saw a postman. He pointed just a few meters towards the Bruna. You can get what you need there, he said. It was only then that I saw the small sign sitting rather high off the ground. This was before I learned that the Bruna was one possible outlet.
Then came Tolensluis. I think this translates as Toll Lock. ‘Sluis,’ is the English ‘sluice’ but a sluice in English is generally used for small locks, in Dutch for all however. You can see many shared words between English and Dutch, although often the meaning is different if somehow related. The movement of peoples is embedded in their languages, something I always find fascinating, these verbal artifacts just sprinkled about.
The sluis is tiny, of course, operated by the man who lives in the adjacent house. After a few minutes he comes out. I was happy to see him as the winds were pushing us about quite a bit.
Oude Weettering was next, after a night in a marina to charge the batteries. Friends again came by to our mooring in the long stretch of houses and a few shops that line the water. Cuckoos live here too, not just in deeper countryside. Youngsters squeal and giggle as they play in the water. Girls in their early teens sing pop, wearing two piece suits for the most part. Everyone stops at a fast food shop called The Family for ice cream, fries, burgers. It sounds so American, I know, but the presentation and atmosphere is not, and besides, where can you get chicken with a peanut sauce in a fast food restaurant in the US?
Boaters are out in force, sloshing the moored boats, up to a dozen or so tied to the docks. The majority are day boats, meaning they have no cabin. Most are completely open, others offer some cover from the rain, not necessary in this week of perfect weather.
In the meantime we are waiting for our final covid vaccination and the Belgian border to open. As of July 1 the EU covid app is due, which you use at border crossings where necessary. Spain is now allowing visitors without testing, Italy with. Concerts and large venues can operate. Europe is gradually coming out of the long, dark winter of confinement. Spring has arrived. We all hope that there will be no repeat come next winter.