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Tag Archives: Netherlands

Today we were up early again. It seems we are almost always the first ones to breakfast. Our goal for today is a short train trip to Rotterdam. I guess I hadn’t done my homework because I was very surprised to find a modern vibrant city. It is unlike any of the other cities that we visited with the possible exception of The Hague. The ultra modern central train station was opened in 2014 and in an imposing structure.

 

More photos from Rotterdam can be found on my website.

Our plan was to follow Rick Steve’s walking tour of Rotterdam but as is usually the case we were lost before we had gotten very far. We ended up following Coolsingel street for quite a ways. This is a fantastic wide walking area filled with trees and surrounded by imposing modern buildings.

 

 

Our initial goal for our visit was the Open Market so we walked along Coolsingel until we reached the Koopgoot shopping area. My wife can’t stand Burger King but I love it so I managed to get my photo taken. Unfortunately it was too early for lunch.

 

We walked down into the underground shopping area before exiting by the World Trade Center.

 

We continued on to the the Rotterdam Open Market. It was not as large as the one in The Hague but it was impressive and a market that most American cities would be proud to have. Of course there was lots of cheese and vegetables.

 

Seafood was also abundant.

 

As is always the case flowers were abundant.

 

There were a few dry goods vendors.

 

If you only had one place to visit I would say this would be the area. Much of what we wanted to see could be found in this small area. At the end of the Open Market we found the Cube Houses. We waked through the area. One was open but we didn’t think we had the time to visit.

 

Just opposite the Cube Houses is Market Hall. We were impressed with the open market but even more impressed with Market Hall. The market is in the center of the building and most of the windows you see on the outside of the horseshoe are apartments. You can rent apartments for long and short stays. Doing so would put you in the center of a very vibrant area of Rotterdam.

 

The inside of the building is adorned with an 11.000 m2 of artwork by Arno Coenen. The artwork is named Hoorn des Overvloeds.  The work was made using digital 3D-techniques. Producing it required a file of 1,47 terabytes and required special servers. The digital 3D-animation was separated in 4000 pieces and then printed on perforated aluminum panels which were mounted on the ceiling inside the building.

 

The basement levels house one of the larger parking garages in Rotterdam.

 

In addition to the spectacular ceiling the market also provides a wide range of food and many restaurants.

 

A common site in Europe are the chess sets on the street.

 

Also in the same are is the public library. Just inside the door is another chess set. It had attracted a crowd to watch a game in progress. the last shot is the checkout desk. It appeared to be self checkout and self check in.

 

The first shot is of the public library and the transit station and was taken from the front of the Market Hall. It provides a good idea of how close everything is. The Blaak Transit Station sits at one end of the plaza and is between the markets, library and the Old Harbor area. The open market is in front of the public library.

 

I wondered ho folks were able to store their bikes on the second level of the storage racks. This question was answered when the young lady walked over and pulled the unit down, placed her bike on it and easily pushed it back up for storage.

I couldn’t resist having ice cream after walking past all of the food stalls inside the Market Hall. After the ice cream we walked across the street to the old harbor area. You can see how close things are. The Cube Houses are in the background of the first photo. Lots of house boats in the old harbor. It was apparently laundry day because a number of people were hanging out laundry as we walk by.

We were walking along the canals in hopes of finding the ticket office for the harbor tours. Unfortunately we ended up in a dead end and had to backtrack. In doing so we noticed a crowd gathering at the Maritime Museum which was our next stop. On the way we encountered a number of hotel and restaurant ships. The most interesting thing was the floating hot tub.

We were heading over to the open air exhibit at the Maritime Museum when we heard a band playing and noticed a large crowd outside the Museum. Ever curious I decided we should go over and find out what was going on. A ceremony was taking place similar to the one we encountered on Remembrance Day when visiting Breukelen. After the ceremony we started talking with someone and found out that it was Remembrance day for the bombing of Rotterdam by the Germans. Central Rotterdam was destroyed and the decision was made to reconstruct it as a modern city much like some American cities. We were really fortunate to be able to participate in both the Remembrance Day and the anniversary of the bombing of Rotterdam.

After the ceremony we walked through the open air section of the Museum.

 

We finally found the harbor cruise line and purchased tickets for the cruise. We had to walk under The Swan bridge to find the ticket office. The cruise was an hour and a half on a beautiful spring day. As usual we wanted to be first in line so we could get the best seats but as it turned out there were not that many people on the cruise so we had the run of the ship. The port is the busiest in Europe so there was a lot to see.

 

After the harbor cruise we walked over to a little marina to check out the sailing ships. We also encountered an Egyptian Goose sleeping on the grass.

 

 

We then walked over to Ze Hielden Koers park which offered some nice views of the Erasmus Bridge and the start of the Parade of Flags along the Boompjes Promenade.

The views of the Mass River waterfront were very nice. The island across the river was largely spared by the German bombing and provides a glimpse of what central Rotterdam would probably look like today had it not been destroyed.

 

It was getting late in the day so we decided to walk back to the Market Hall and find a restaurant for dinner. When we finished eating we did encounter a slight problem. Neither one of us typically carries money when traveling because we pay for everything using our credit card. Unfortunately the waiter failed to mention that they only take Dutch credit cards. The waiter held me hostage while my wife had to go find an ATM to get some cash. This was the second time on this trip that we had this happen to us.

 

After dinner we started working our way back to the central station. We did manage to get lost on the way back. We took what we thought might be a shortcut but it turned out not to be. We departed Rotterdam about 12 hours after starting our journey in Delft early in the morning. We found Rotterdam a refreshing change from the large number of tourists that we encountered in Amsterdam.

 

This was to be a special day for us. in 2008 we had a German exchange student staying with us. We had remained in contact but had not seen him since we put him on the plane to return home. When we started planning our trip to the Netherlands we contacted him to see if we could get together. As it turns out he was taking a semester off from school and was heading to Spain to surf. He would be driving through Eindhoven so me made arrangements to meet. We were not sure of the exact time he would arrive so we were up early to catch the train to Eindhoven.

This was an interesting trip for me because the area we were traveling through was a key battle in WWII. It was described in a book by Cornelius Ryan. “A Bridge Too Far” describes the attempt by allies to break through the German lines into Germany. It had dire consequences for the Dutch.

It was a Sunday morning and when we arrived the town was deserted. We did find a McDonald’s that was open so we went in to get some coffee and use their WiFi. We identified a couple of places we wanted to visit while we waited for our exchange student to arrive. It was still early and most places were not open so we walked around until the Philips Museum opened.

The Philips Museum was really quite interesting. A movie depicting the treatment of the Jews working for the Philips Company was most interesting. Since Philips developed many of the early radios and TV sets it was like reliving my childhood.

After the Philips Museum we walked over to the DAF Museum. Another interesting place to visit. DAF made everything from cars to trucks to military vehicles. We had a minor crisis while at the Museum. My wife had to change batteries in her phone and then could not get the phone to work. Since we were waiting for a call from our exchange student it was critical that we get it working. A young man took a look at it and fixed it.

On the way back to the Central Station we noticed these folks paddling down the river.

At the Central Station we decided to wait for the exchange student at the information booth.

 

We met up with Martin and then found a place for lunch. We caught up on what he has been doing the last 11 years.

We went for a walk and encountered the silly walk. It was based on John Cleese as a bowler-hatted civil servant in a fictitious British government ministry responsible for developing silly walks through grants. The last shot is another quirky thing we saw in Eindhoven.

They were working on the train tracks so we had to take a bus to Hertogenbosch and then catch the train back to Delft. The nice thing about traveling in Europe is there is almost always a way to get to where you want to go. A couple of times we missed trains and just waited for about ten minutes and there was another train.

We were up early again. It seems that we are almost always the first ones to breakfast. Today was Saturday and the markets in Delft were open so we walked down to where we thought they would be. Our first stop was the Delft antiques market. It was early and It looked like some of the vendors were just getting setup. It was interesting but nothing that we wanted to purchase. The antiques marked was lined up along one of the canals.

We walked through the main plaza and past the City Hall.

We found the food and flower market on anther street. My wife noticed the Stroopwaffles and decided to purchase some to bring home. Little did we realize that McDonald’s would be selling them when we arrived home. Of course there always the cheese. How I would live to have truckle of Gouda Cheese.

There were plenty of stalls selling flowers.

After walking through the markets we headed over to Central Station where we planned to catch a tram to The Hague. The nice thing about making Delft a headquarters was it was close to everything. On the other hand the Netherlands is a small country and everything is relatively close. It was probably a 15 minute ride to The Hague.

When we got off the tram we encountered this strange creature. There were quite a few of them. The Hague visitors center was in the public library which was closed when we arrived. We joined a long line waiting for it to open. Our first goal in The Hague was to find the Hague Market which is reputed to be the largest open air market in Europe.

This was the entrance to the underground. As you can see there were not a lot of people around on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m. We had to wait a short time to catch the train to the market.

There were a lot of flowers. It cost about $5.50 for a bunch of roses. I do believe this is considerably lower than in the United States.

There were lots of food stands in the market. What I wouldn’t give to have a market like this in my town.

The market also had a large assortment of dry goods. My wife found some scarves that were about half the price they were in Gouda.

After visiting the Hague Market we decided to take a tram out to Scheveningen Beach. It wasn’t really beach weather. In fact, it was dammed cold out. Not too many folks around when we arrived.

Not to sure what was going on here. It looked like some kind of photo shoot because everyone seemed to have costumes with them.

 

This looks like it would be a fantastic beach if it were a little warmer out. I checked some photos taken in the summer and it is packed with people.

Nice view of the pier unobstructed by people.

I didn’t check to see how much it cost to stay in some of the hotels along the beach but I suspect it is plenty.

We walked through the pier which is filled with shops. We really wanted some ice cream but it was just too cold. I didn’t see anyone else having ice cream either.

One of the hotels from the street side.

We caught a tram back toward the center of town with a stop at the Peace Palace. We also thought about some ice cream at the Peace Palace but it was still too cold.

We then took the tram into the center of the city and wandered along some of the shopping streets.

We then walked over to Hofvigver pond and walked along the pond taking photos. That’s the Binnenhof on the right and behind the seagull in the second shot.

We walked around Hofvigver pond and past Mauritshuis. This seemed to be a popular spot for selfies.

We then walked through the arch and into the Binnenhof courtyard.

The Fontein graaf Willem II is in the foreground and the Ridderzaal is in the background. Difficult to photograph the fountain because of all of the folks taking selfies.

We then headed back to the center of town to catch the tram back the Delft. We did find the center of The Hague a strange place. There didn’t seem to be any stop signs on the road. In order to get from one side of the street to the other you had to cross bike lanes, a road, tram lines, a road, and another bike lane. We finally gave up trying to figure the traffic out and just followed folks who looked like the knew what the were doing.

We were back in Delft in about 15 minutes. The antiques market  was still ongoing. Apparently it is an all day affair.

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It was getting near dinner time so we worked our way over to the city center and found a place to eat.

We thought it was really cold out and we warmed our hands over a candle. We had Greek food on this night. The food was good but when it came time to pay we encountered a problem. We tried all of our credit cards and their equipment couldn’t read them. I was held hostage while my wife went to find an ATM machine to get some cash. When we travel in Europe we rarely carry cash and have never had a problem with credit cards. First time for everything.

After dinner we wandered around town for a bit before heading down the canal to our hotel.

 

 

 

We arrived in Delft in the middle of the afternoon yesterday and walked around a bit to try and get oriented. We had an early breakfast and walked over to the main  Plaza. We walked past a cheese store on the way. The Dutch do like their cheese ad do I.

More photos from Delft can be found on my website.

At one end of the Plaza is the New Church and the other end City Hall.

We found this Eurasian Coots nest with the adults feeding the young. As you can see they seem to make their nest out of anything that is handy.

Our destination was Delft Pottery where we wanted to take in the free tour. However, when we reached this set of stairs we lost our way and couldn’t figure out where Google Maps wanted us to go. There was a short walkway that didn’t go the way Google Maps wanted us to go. We finally gave up and headed back toward town using an alternative route.

 

A barge happen to come along just after we crossed the bridge.

We encountered a bride and groom standing at the edge of the canal.

A boat sailed down the canal past us.

This looks to be some type of pumper truck for septic or steam cleaning.

We wandered over to the Molen de Roos but it wasn’t open yet.

We finally made it back to City Center. I managed a photo of Linda at the Vermeer Museum.

We decided to walk over to the New Church and look around. We had purchased tickets that let us into a number of city landmarks. This is a shot of City Hall with a tourist taxi in the foreground.

We encountered the bride and groom again.

The New church was very impressive.

After touring the New Church we decided to walk over to the Old Church. I was confused regarding the churches because the Old Church looked newer than the New Church.

It was getting to be lunch time so we stopped by the Doppio Espresso for a little coffee and cake. It was very rich and very good.

We headed back to the city center and found the wedding party was still going on at City Hall.

At this point we decided we would give it another go to find the Delft Pottery. We noticed that it was located adjacent to the main canal through town so we walked over to the canal and decided to walk along it. On the way we encountered this horse carriage racing through town. We assumed it was heading for the City Hall to pick up the bride and groom.

We found the canal without any problems, probably because it flows through the entire town and is hard to miss.

The canal is large enough to support barge traffic.

We noticed a group of rowers getting ready to get some exercise. We watched for a while but they were a little slow to get started so we moved on.

There were quite a few Blue Herons along the canal. I was able to get quite close to this one. While we were walking along a man stopped and started talking Norwegian to my wife. She had her Norwegian cap on so he assumed she was Norwegian. She does speak Norwegian but it took a while to get her brain in Norwegian mode. The fellow loved Norway and was talking about his long stays.

A little farther down the canal the rowers caught up with us.

We encountered another barge coming down the canal. The bridge behind the barge is the same one we were at earlier in the morning and managed to get lost. As it turned out the steps coming down from the bridge seemed to come to a dead end, at least in the direction we were coming from. If we had just kept on walking back towards town we would have been able to cross over the road and take the path along the canal under the bridge. The Delft Pottery Shop was just a short walk from the bridge.

We also encountered the Villa Maria which is a grand old building. It appeared to be some form of Airbnb. Looked like it would be a great place to stay.

We were finally successful in finding the Delft Pottery Shop. We had to wait for a short time for the tour to begin. As it turned out a small group of artists from New York were also touring at the same time. We learned a lot more about pottery making because of the artists than my wife and I would have learned on our own. Neither of us has been involved in pottery making. The shop is a small unassuming building. They displayed some of the pottery they make.

 

We were able to watch the artists working on various pieces.

At the end there was a classroom setup so we could make something.

Of course there was the display room where we could purchase some products which we did.

Just after leaving the Delft Pottery we encountered a family of Egyptian Geese.

We retraced our steps back to the bridge where we got lost in the morning and then retraced our steps back to the Molen de Roos.

A couple of street scenes photographed along the way.

The Molen de Roos windmill is at one end of the main street in Delft.

It is a working windmill and is used to mill flower. My wife is an avid baker and really wanted to purchase flower from the mill but it would have been impossible to get it home.

We were able to walk to the top of the windmill and there were some outstanding views of the town.

The wheel is used to adjust the windmill so that it takes advantage of the prevailing winds.

As we neared the central station we noticed all of this cardboard. Apparently it was part of an art display. We walked past the same area early in the evening and saw that they were placing the display in the garbage trucks.

When we arrived at the train station we continued along the path and found ourselves at an underground bike parking area. This was amazing and it went on forever. In order to put a bike on the upper storage area a device pulls down so the bike can be loaded and then the user pushes it back up into storage position. The garage was full and there was additional storage outside. When we walked by there were bikers going in and out. I would have liked to go back during peak commuting time to see what kind of traffic there was.

Walking past the Central Station we found ourselves walking along the main shipping canal in Delft.

We found ourselves at the Royal Delft Pottery works. We didn’t think we needed another pottery tour.

We soon found ourselves in a rather nice residential area.

We found ourselves walking back toward the center of town. As we crossed over the shipping canal the bells started ringing indicating the bridge was going up. We almost got bridged. We decided to stick around and see what happens when the bridge blocks the streets. This was a very busy street for pedestrians and bicyclists. It wasn’t long and there was a long line of folks waiting to cross the bridge. No cars just people.

We followed one of the canals back toward the town center.

We ended up in the town square looking at the New Church. It was getting to be meal time and folks were gathering in the Plaza to eat. It was a relatively warm day. Most days in the Netherlands we wore that same clothes we wear during the winter in Wisconsin.

While we were eating we were also people watching.

After dinner we walked back to our hotel along the canals. It was another long day. It would have been interesting if we had kept track of how far we walked every day.

Our last day in Amsterdam. This was a community composting bin for food wastes that was near our Airbnb. This impressive apartment building was just down the street as well.

 

More photos from Amsterdam and Delft can be found on my website.

Our first stop was Hortus Botanicus where we walked around for a couple of hours. The first shot was an insect house. Giving serious thought to making one of these at home. It look like it wouldn’t bee too difficult to make.

After the botanical gardens we decided to walk over to the NEMO Science Museum. On the way we noticed this place that was soon to be available for rent. We saw a number of these places all advertised by the same company.

The tall ship Amsterdam was anchored outside the Maritime Museum.

There were quite a few boats in the canal as we approached the science museum.

It took a while to walk to the top but the views from the top were outstanding. It was a beautiful day to be walking around Amsterdam.

Leaving the science museum we wandered across the Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug Bridge and past the Conservatory of Amsterdam.

We encountered a Canta LX Micro Car which is designed for handicapper people. They yellow thing in the car seemed to be a steering wheel lock and it took most of the car. A little further down the canal we found the Sea Palace Restaurant.

A large collection of bikes parked near the Central Station.

I noticed this written on the Odebrug Bridge as we crossed.

We ended up walking though an area that sold a lot of pot.

 

We walked past the Floating Flower Market again. I think this may have been our third visit this trip.

We walked passed The Dam three times. Each time there seemed to be something a little different going on. This was a Falun Gong group they seemed to protest at The Dam almost every day. They are a group of people that is persecuted by the Chinese government including the killing of Falun Gong members for to harvest body parts.

Periodically there were characters dressed in costume and performers in the Dam. However, it wasn’t anything like we see in New York.

We walked over to the Anne Frank House. Unfortunately we were never able to get tickets for the tour. We also walked past Westerkerk which was a short distance from the hotel we stayed in when we first arrived in Amsterdam a week earlier.

By this time it was almost 2:30 in the afternoon and we had to catch a train to Delft in about an hour. We were also getting hungry after going all day. Finding a place to eat is probably the biggest challenge we have when traveling. It seems we can never find the just the right place. We finally ended up at a small coffee shop and had some apple pie and coffee.

We were on the Platform waiting for the 15:34 Train to Delft.

When we arrived in Delft it was a nice evening and we still had a little gas in the tank so we took a walk around town to get oriented. Lots of beautiful small canals. It reminded me a lot of Gouda.

We found this nest of Eurasian Coots in the canal behind the New Church. We checked on them every day when we were in Delft and on the last day the left the nest.

The first Little Free Library was built by Todd Bol in 2009 in Hudson Wisconsin. Hudson is just down the freeway from where we live. Now we find them all over the world.

The Molen de Roos or Windmill of the Rose on the main street in Delft.

The Old Church of Delft.

Main street in Delft. The Central Station is on the right.

An interesting piece of artwork. I’m not sure what is going on in the last photo but they were having fun.

It had been a long day. We started out around 7 a.m. and walked all over Amsterdam, followed by a train trip to Delft. We spent the evening walking around Delft and finally ended our day around 8 p.m.

 

 

The next morning we decided to walk down to Central Station following one of the canals. As we passed the building next to ours we notice this interesting composting bin.

More photos from Amsterdam can be found on my website.

This was the bus stop where we could catch the bus to Central Station. On this particular day we decided to walk to Central Station. It was a challenge to get from the sidewalk to the bus stop because of all of the bike traffic.

As we walked along the street we noticed the were laying cable of some type. The second shot shows where they have repaired their work area. There does seem to be some advantage to using bricks because you can just reuse them again.

When we arrived at the Central Station we stopped to add some money to our transportation pass. The pass allowed us to take local and intercity trains so it was convenient to have. We stopped at the Rijksmuseum. We are not much for museums but did enjoy seeing the library since we are both former librarians. We also toured the Resistance Museum. This was really interesting and we spent quite a bit of time there.

It was raining off and on so we spent some time riding trams around town looking at the sites and getting the lay of the land. The colors on this house were rather interesting.

We walked past The Dam and the National Monument. This was several days after Remembrance Day and the memorial wreaths were still up. We also happen to encounter the Rembrandt Statue.

We ended up back at Central Station where we caught a bus back to our Airbnb.

 

This was going to be our last day on the boat. When we left Breukelen we noticed a women’s rowing team out early in the morning. There were some beautiful houses along the canal as we reached the outskirts of town.

More photos from the canal trip can be found on my website.

After a short distance we reached the outskirts of Loenen aan de Vecht. At this point it was a cool but beautiful day out.

We had just pulled over to have lunch when a hail storm hit. It hailed for about 15 minutes and then was nice out again. As we cruised pas Mijndense Sluis  we noticed several Locaboats come out into the canal. They headed toward one of the bridges but it soon became clear that they didn’t know how to get the bridges to go up. They decided to follow us for a ways to try and figure out how things worked. Locks were always interesting. Some places you could push a button to alert the bridge minder that you wanted to go through, other places you had to honk your horn and still other places there was a phone number to call.

We then sailed back to Mijndense Sluis where we found a number of boats lined up to go through the locks. This was the most boats that we had encountered on the trip. I did see some photos of what it is like at the locks during the summer and it looked to be a zoo. Crusing on the canals in the summer would be an even more leisurely trip than we had.

It was only a short distance to the Locaboat Base from the locks.

It looks like a beautiful day out but shortly after docking the boat we has another intense hail storm. The entire deck was covered in hail. Yet in an another hour it was a beautiful evening out. The frozen six crew had a nice parting dinner at the restaurant at the boat docks.

The next morning we turned in the keys to the boat and the group caught a taxi to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Dave and Sara caught a train to France, Lisa and Jim caught a flight to Stockholm and Linda and Phil stored their luggage and caught a bus to Keukenhof to see the tulip displays.

 

The next morning we started our return journey to the Locaboat Base in Loosdrecht.  It was a beautiful morning out as we sailed out of Gouda. we had to transit several pair of locks before we made it out into the canal to Haastrecht.

More photos from the canal trip can be found on my website.

We would be seeing everything in reverse as we retraced our steps. That wasn’t the original plan but we wouldn’t find a another route to get to the boat base. Some canals were closed and others we were advised not to use. It appears that the boat companies have arrangements with some bridge and lock operators and not with others.

I had noticed this house when we passed several days ago. At that time it didn’t have a roof on it. What intrigued me was the fact that the interior walls seemed to be drywalled before the roof was put on. In our country the roof would be on and the house completely enclosed before the drywall team arrived.

When we arrived in Haastrecht we found the bridge was not working. Linda and I got off and wandered around town taking a few photos.

As we were walking through town we passed the bridge and it looked like the repairs had been made. We were able to get across the bridge before it went up but couldn’t make it back to the boat. Captain Dave already had the boat out in the canal. The bridge repair resulted in a line of boats waiting to get through and he wanted to be first in line. They pulled in close to shore and we had to jump onto the boat. I discovered I’m not as limber as I was 50 years ago.

I noticed the farmer spreading liquid manure onto the fields. In this country it is commonly spread on top on the ground. This spreader placed it into the ground to prevent runoff. We had seem the same thing in Sweden last summer.

Dogs like to chase things and when the only thing to chase is a boat they chase boats.

As we arrived in Oudewater Sara had to pay the toll to the bridge keeper.

We tied up in Oudewater for lunch before heading to Montfoort where we planned to spend the night.

A lone cow watching the boats go by.

Lots of sheep along the canal. Once again the fruit trees are trained to grow in a particular direction making them easy to take care of and harvest.

As we entered Montfoort there were some really nice houses.

After docking the boat we went looking for a bus stop. We were a little lost and stopped at the windmill to ask directions but it wasn’t open.

When we arrived in Gouda a teacher, of Sara’s at the University of Minnesota Duluth made contact on Facebook and indicated that she was now living not far from Gouda. She drove over to visit the boat when we were in Gouda and she joined the boat trip for the day. She treated us all to drinks a a local pub. It looked like the locals were wondering what was going on with all these strange people in their bar. Given the excellent transportation system in the Netherlands she was able to easily take a bus back to Gouda.

 

At this point in the boat trip it was clear that we could go no further without risking the possibility we would interfere with our travel plans for the remaining portion of our travels. My wife and I headed out early in the morning because today was the the Gouda Cheese market. It was a beautiful morning and not a cloud in the sky.

More photos from the canal trip can be found on my website.

Yesterday when we were at the town square it was empty but it was market day and there were stalls all around the town square.

In the center of the square was the cheese market. It wasn’t actually a cheese market but a recreation of what the Gouda cheese market was like. We really came to love Gouda cheese.

My wife and I were interested in going to Keukenhof to see the tulips. We thought we might make the train trip from Gouda so we walked over to the train station to purchase a transportation card. A transportation card would allow us to ride all forms of transportation in the Netherlands. Since we were going to be staying in the Netherlands for another couple of weeks we thought it would be handy to have. There were some interesting sights along the way.

This was the main shopping street in Gouda and it was not crowded this early in the day.

As is normally the case the train station was packed with bikes.

We then walked back to the Cheese Market to meet up with the rest of the group. By the time we made it back it had started to rain so we decided not to try and go to Keukenhof.

The group went their separate ways with Sara and Dave looking for food for lunch. We stopped to watch the band playing.

The food on the boat was paid for using a common pool on money. Although Sara and Dave did most of the shopping for the food anyone could purchase food for the group. Our contribution for the day was Poffertjes.

After purchasing the Pofferties and a pair of Dutch shoes we started working our way back to the boat for lunch.

As a former librarian I’ve never figured out the little free library thing but we not see it all over the world.

We had a great lunch waiting for us when we returned to the boat.It was raining out so the group hung around the boat after lunch. Dave and Linda compared there shoe purchases.

Toward the middle afternoon it quit raining so the group headed off to find a coffee shop. They stopped to examine another Stumble Stones House.

We ended up at the Doppio Espresso.

After coffee the group went their separate ways. Linda and I decided to wander the streets of Gouda. Our first stop was Nieuwe-Marktpassage.

We managed to find some strange things as we wandered the streets.

Strangely this is one of the few bicycle shops that I recall seeing in all of our wanderings. I would have thought there would have been repair shops on almost every corner.

The rain had dissapeared and it turned into a beautiful late afternoon and evening. The views along the canals were outstanding.

This seems to show the Dutch emphasis on managing nature.

It was getting late in the afternoon and we headed back to the boat for dinner. Sara was already in the galley working on it. Another great meal.

At dinner Dave mentioned he had found a family of Eurasian Coots with babies so Linda and I headed off to look for them. It took a while and we had almost given up when I noticed a Coot down one of the canals. We went down to take a look and found them. I really didn’t expect the canal trip to be a birding expedition but it turned out that we saw a lot of birds and many of them with young.

 

We were up and ready to go on the first leg of our journey. As it turned out we left Maarssen around 9 a.m. for Utrecht and arrived in Utrecht around 1 p.m. In other words it took us 4 hours to make a trip that can be made by bike in 23 minutes. We realized that cruising the canals was going to be a leisurely adventure. It would be quite the contrast to our normal frantic activity.

More photos from the canal trip can be found on my website.

The previous night we noticed the entire canal was lined with cars. By the time we passed the area in the morning some of them were gone. We couldn’t imagine attempting to parallel park a car next to the canal. It would take me one try and the car would be in the water.

Once again we cruised past some nice homes along the canal.

We hadn’t gone very far when we had to enter the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal. I’m told it is one of the busiest canals in the world. We were a small boat on at large canal with lots of large boat and barge traffic. As we neared Utrecht the area around the canal became much more industrialized.

We had to make a quick dash across the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal into a smaller canal which provided access to Utrecht.

We tied up to the docks downtown and then looked for a place where we could buy lunch. We found a great place with great food. After lunch we walked over to Nicolaïker to look around. It was an impressive church but didn’t seem to be open to the public.

One of the small canals in Utrecht.

As we were boarding the boat I noticed a number of construction barges cruising by and more tied up to the far dock.

There were a variety of houseboats tied up along the canal.

As an avid bird photographer I had to photograph this Egyptian Goose paddling along beside the boat.

Once again we had to cross the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal . Always an exciting challenge.

After cruising across the  Amsterdam Rijnkanaal  we had to tie up to go through another lock. .

Continuing on we soon came to Nieuwegein with it’s narrow canal.

Another lift bridge. This time we chased a wedding party off the bridge.

Couldn’t help photographing these Greylag Geese along the canal.

We passed Natuurkwartier  which appeared to be a small nature center. The kids were having a great time on the rocks with the goats.

At Natuurkwartier we encountered our first windmill on the trip.

We passed through IJsselstein which was a beautiful little town.

In IJsselstein we encountered the only hand cranked lift bridge on the trip. Shortly after passing under the bridge we encountered another bridge several hundred yards down the canal. We had to wait for some time to get under the bridge. Turned out the same person controlled both bridges so this fellow had to lower the bridge, hop on his bike to get to the next bridge to open it.

Our destination for the day was Marina Marnemoende Hollandse IJssel where we would tie up for the night. This was a full fledged marina with water available to fill up the boat, electricity and hot showers.

Couldn’t help but take a photo of this Great Crested Grebe that was nesting next to the docks.

Sara was the cook on our trip. Wonderful food I manage to gain a couple of pound. One night she made way too much pasta. I think we ate pasta for the next couple of meals but it was different each time.

A toast to the trip. It was at this gathering that we determined that we were not going to make the our goal of cruising  from Loosdrecht in on the canals in a circle rout that would roughly take us to Utrecht, Gouda, Leiden, Amsterdam and back to Loosdrecht. Captain Dave plotted our days progress on the map using his Swiss army knife and and determined that we would not even come close to making the entire trip. We talked with some other folks who had done the trip in a week but their sole goal was to make it around the loop. They didn’t stop for any sightseeing. Today’s journey covered about 22 Kilometers which would have taken about 1 hour and 15 minutes on a bike. I’m using biking as an illustration because there were bike paths along most of the canals.

The sleeping accommodations were comfortable but we needed extra blankets because it was very cool during the cruise.

The bathroom was small but we did have hot water and a sort of a full room shower. The most disturbing thing was finding out that the boat did not have a holding tank. Human waste was chopped up and dumped into the canal. What was even more disturbing was the number of children’s slides and floating toys seen along the canal. I can’t imagine swimming in the canal in the summer when the boat traffic must be huge.