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Art Holland drawings and paintings Holland landscapes 2019

Waterpoort, Sneek, Nederlands pen and ink drawing

 

 

Sneek is a small city in Friesland, the northeast part of the Nederlands.  It has a gorgeous gate and other architectural gems.  It faces the canal.  We were moored just in front of it.

 

 

Waterpoort, Sneek, Nederlands pen and ink, Company, 6″ x 8″ 15 x 21 cm
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blog Blog 2019

Hoorn to Lelystad

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. 
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blog Blog 2019

Gouda

July 11, 2019 
 
Gouda (pronounced as in ‘howda’) is 45 minute bus and train trip from our mooring on the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine, part of the Rhine river system) in Alfan aan Den Rihn.   Aside from being the home of the well known cheese, much more varied and flavorful than the bland version sold in the U.S., it has a superb city hall, Stadhuis, dating from the 14th century, the oldest such in the country. 
Stathuis
Stathuis main entrance
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is a market day, with loads of activity.  A woman’s chorus sang in front of the Stadhuis, a couple played a calliope while passing the hat.  It was excellent.  We made a contribution.

 

 

 
Aside from the rounds of Gouda cheese, much of the merchandise is the same from market to market.  We did see a wooden shoe maker selling his wares in Delft.  It is not an item the Dutch use much these days, although they do wear leather clogs, so the wooden version are marketed mostly to tourists. 

 

The cheese is sold in several varieties.  Jong Gouda is young, that is, aged just four weeks.  There are various states of aging up to over 12 months.  They become increasingly hard and sharp.  They are all encased in a plastic coating to keep them from drying out.  Most are industrially produced, however there are several hundred producers using traditional methods using unpasteurized cow milk, called Boerenkaas.     Boerenkaas, Noord-Hollandse Gouda, and Gouda Holland have Protected Geographical Indication status in the EU.

 

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blog Blog 2019

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.