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Old 04-27-2016, 04:19 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Rambler View Post
Your perfectly correct RT.
The lift at Strepy Thieu is a counterbalance using the Archimedes principle which has a height difference of 240 ft and can take barges up to 1,370 tonnes.
Sounds a bit like it works somewhat like the Falkirk wheel lifting lock in the UK.
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Old 04-27-2016, 04:33 AM   #42
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Different principle as it works on a slope with a counterbalance weight and driven by electric motors. The Falkirk wheel revolving being circular of course.
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Old 04-27-2016, 04:39 AM   #43
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Anyone with a larger boat can visit Belgium and Holland and will be made welcome everywhere.
A little research will give you all the details regarding bridge heights, draft etc.
Lifting bridges are a way of life here and air/water draught would only be a problem on the smaller canals.
Don't miss it, it's fabulous. So efficient and well organised.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:08 PM   #44
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When I mentioned boat dimensions anything from a dinghy up to a Fleming 75 will be able to cruise here and boy what a joy it is, simply brilliant and I thank all the Belgian people for their kindness, hospitality and friendliness to a passing stranger.
For more info on Belgium's waterways contact pbv@binnenvart.be or www.watercreatie.be and if you ask nicely they will post you out the waterways maps.
These are the best maps to get as they have sufficient detail for navigation in Belgium.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:27 AM   #45
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What a cracking cruise this is turning out to be !
If you loved Belgium you'll surely love Holland. Everywhere you go you're struck by how industrious the Dutch people are, everywhere is clean, neat and well thought out.
People are cleaning, scrubbing, pruning and washing around their homes and workplaces.
Anyone who has a waterside property(and many who don't) have a boat.
Steel is the favoured construction and all immaculately kept. The advances in paint technology are here to see and the majority look as if they've just come straight from the paintshop. Very very impressive.
Everyone is so helpful and friendly and 99% speak Dutch, German, English and some French, as always speak courteously, clearly with correct etiquette and the people simply can't help you enough.
Commercial traffic always has priority, show your intentions clearly and you will receive a friendly wave in return.
This is a fabulous cruising ground and you mustn't miss it or you'll regret it forever.
As always here are the pics, enjoy them as much as we did taking them for you.
From Dordrecht our route took us through Rotterdam, the busiest port in Europe with all the ancillary factories in close proximity.
It's not for the faint hearted as there are small water taxi's whizzing around at 25/30 knots as well as commercial ships, barges all kicking up a hell of a wake and turning the river into a rolling, choppy, confused force 3.
It was my fault, I was so busy looking around taking photo's that I missed the entry into the canal and gave a 2 hour impromptu tour of the port to everyone.
Pat was given a European Raymarine electronic chart of the European waterways as a parting gift when we left Ireland, after consulting it we ended up in a marine cul de sac against a blank brick wall.
There had been a lock gate some 40 years ago !


Don't put your faith in electronics, they definitely work, indefinitely,so get the good old fashioned reliable paper maps.


We were lost ! What did we do ?




Why we simply pulled in and asked a friendly Dutchman for directions, 'Certainly, Welcome, you just go back for 6 kilometres and turn left at the Chinese restaurant, enjoy your visit to Holland'.
The only downside I can see to Holland is that the canal, river junctions, bridge heights in Holland are not displayed as clearly as in Belgium, so you need to stay sharp.
Use of VHF channels have been restricted recently in Holland and we found ourselves without intership connection, we thought it was a broken radio, he could receive but his transmission was blocked so Pat bought a new radio thinking it was broken..
Still didn't work, we were then told about this new law so be aware if you come to Holland.
After using mobile phones we solved it by using a pair of cheap walkie talkie's from a German discount chain called Lidl.
When I was a young man I climbed Mount Ararat in Turkey, supposed to be the last resting place of Noah's Ark, I could have saved myself the bother, it's moored up in Rotterdam harbour complete with a giraffe on the foredeck.
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Old 05-03-2016, 06:32 AM   #46
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What a great cruise to do indeed. How I would love to do that. Never going to happen, but thanks for sharing yours with us.
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Old 05-03-2016, 06:55 AM   #47
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I agree with Peter B. It looks like a fantastic area to tour, something of interest around every turn!


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Old 05-03-2016, 10:59 AM   #48
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Hello Peter B and Oceania,
Indeed you can do it, if you break open the little piggy bank you can hire a boat from either, a company called Le Boat, or Locaboat who have hire boat bases in Holland.
Or as were doing 'SKI' ing, spending the kids inheritance.
As I write this sitting in Sixhaven Marina in Amsterdam there are 2 of their boats here full of happy holidaymakers.

Have you ever heard of Delft china ? In Ireland we call any china, Delft as a generic term
On this voyage of discovery we're taking the canals to Amsterdam by way of Delft, (pronounced by the Dutch as Deleft). what a beautiful town it is.

How did Delft begin ?
Some Dutch East India company vessels captured a Chinese ship with a cargo of Ming and Khan Tsi vases with their distinctive blue patterned China, they became very sought after in Holland, so the Dutch began buying them from the Chinese traders to satisfy demand. A civil war in China put a stop to the trade.
The Dutch began experimenting and began to manufacture their own in the small town of Delft. At one time there were 32 factories producing Delft china ware but production was slow and laborious, an Englishman called Thomas Wedgewood (who incidentally fuelled the canal mania in England) was producing China much cheaper with a more modern production method and so they adopted his methods and used English China clay.
We visited the only factory with a Royal warrant, Royal Delft and did the factory tour. There are several types of Delft as you will see.
The famous Dutch painter Vermeer also lived and worked in Delft and below is a photo of his most famous painting called 'The Night Watch' made in Delft tiles, it's the only one in the world, privately owned, it's on permanent loan to the Royal Delft factory.
There is a photo of three vases, one white, one with a black painting and the other with the distinctive Delft blue, the first one is the base vase and called 'biscuit'. The second has the design painted with the cobalt based paint mix and during the firing of the vase the colour turns to it's distinctive Delft blue as you see in the third vase.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:10 PM   #49
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Here' a wee peek around the pretty town of Delft.
The Dutch are famous for many things, Delft china of course, canals, bicycles, cheese and windmills to name just a few.
Everyone seems to ride a bike and they use them for everything, they are all solid machines made of steel and you rarely see a mountain bike (there are no mountains in Holland), children are brought up with them and there's a 2 lane cycle road with it's own traffic lights around the towns.
Just like you get street sweepers, there are machines for cleaning the canals, hop on hop off buses too !
Cheese mmm ! delicious.
To cater for international tastes there are many nationalities favourite restaurants including one of our favourites, Fish and Chips.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:32 PM   #50
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As 60% of Holland is below sea level Windmills were used not only for grinding corn to make flour but also to drive water pumps to control the water level in the countryside.
Flowers are another Dutch industry and they supply flowers to much of Western Europe. Tulips especially are synonymous with Holland.
The Dutch are great engineers and we passed a manufacturing and test centre for designing and building lifeboats for crews of commercial ships.
With so much water around there's a diverse range of birdlife, especially waterfowl who seem to be quite tame and co exist happily with human activity.
This stork looks down from his lofty nest the kindly Dutch people have built for his family.
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:47 AM   #51
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One fact I overlooked to tell you when we were in Belgium.
One of Belgium's famous sons was called Mercator.
He was the first man to understand show how to display a round object on a flat sheet of paper.
Using the 'Mercator projection' the marine chart was born, and still used on marine charts to this day.
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:38 AM   #52
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On our route we passed through Aalsmeer.
Aalsmeer boasts the biggest covered flower market in the world called Bloemenveiling, this massive temperature controlled building occupies the space of 250 football fields.
Here, 'Dutch Auction' is used, pallets of flowers are brought into the sales hall where the bidders using electronic screens bid from the highest price DOWN to the lowest price.
Once the buyer completes his/her bid the pallet of flowers are taken straight to his store/loading bay.
Once the flower buyer needs a cargo of flowers despatched, he calls in his designated truck from the outside truck park, as the truck approaches the closed door a scanner reads the truck number and automatically raises the gate, once inside the temperature controlled environment roads, traffic lights and green arrows guide the truck to collect his cargo.
Dutch flower growers supply the continent of Europe with flowers and various plants.
Schiphol airport is close by and Dutch flower buyers import some exotic flowers.
Not many people are aware, but regular service passenger planes from other continents carry air cargo in the holds, flowers are suitable cargo because they are relatively light adding to the planes revenue.
Schiphol literally translated means 'Ships Hole' and the airport here is the lowest in the world and lies 4 meters below sea level. It's also one of the major airport hubs in Europe.
This whole area around here was an inland lake and drained by the engineers.
Once the lake was drained they discovered the remains of a wooden ship, hence the name 'Ship's Hole', Schiphol.
The reclaimed land around here was found to be perfect for the growing of flowers with it's rich soil from the bed of the lake and moist clean sea breeze from the nearby North sea.
The tulip is not a native of Holland but in fact comes from the near East and was first imported by the Dutch East India company and became much prized.
Dutch farmers realized they would grow perfectly in these conditions.
A whole new industry was born.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:19 AM   #53
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Thanks Rambler, you're an excellent storyteller and this is a most interesting story. It seems that the Dutch are a bold and inventive people. Good for them!


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Old 05-05-2016, 11:40 AM   #54
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Your welcome Oceania.
The Dutch people are such brilliant hydraulic engineers reclaiming land and just as important maintaining a controlled water level, you really have to see it to believe it.
Reclaimed land is called a 'Polder'.
They began centuries ago using a honeycomb system, extract the soil, build a hill, build houses on the hill then join it to the next hill with a dyke/dam, pump out the water with a windmill to make a polder (that's the reason for all the windmills) then do it all over again.
It's wonderful to see the Dutch government take a long term view constantly building the infrastructure, instead of the usual politicians bs and a quick fix.
This is the most amazing place and it's long been my dream to do this journey of discovery and I'm loving every moment of it, even better now the suns shining and temperatures are climbing.
Over the next few posts I'll tell you all about Amsterdam.
Enjoy.
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:26 PM   #55
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The city of Amsterdam takes it's name from a dam built across the river Amstel, hence the name.
Free ferries and 4 road tunnels connect the city each side of Amsterdam today.
The land was reclaimed and built with a series of circular canals for traders to move goods and also for defence. Houses were built on wooden piles, (nowadays of course concrete piles are used). The water level is carefully controlled because if air gets to the wooden piles they begin to rot. Some building have a slight tilt if the foundation piles move a little.
Amsterdam is famous for diamond cutting, museums, it's brown cafe's where liberal Dutch go to 'smoke', it's red light district and it's bicycles.
Look at the bike storage facilities.


In Amsterdam bicycle owners have to pay a small charge to use the municipal parking racks. If the bike is not claimed it's removed, any abandoned bikes are also removed and there are approximately 10,000 in the municipal pound, after a month they are sold off to offset costs.


No visit is complete without a water bus tour or a ride on a tram.
What the French call a pissoir, and open air toilet for men near the ferry terminal.
I spoke of bicycles in a previous post, rickshaws and these tiny cars all use the bike lanes to move around the city.
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:38 PM   #56
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One of the 'Must See's' nearby to Amsterdam is the world famous Keukenhof flower gardens. Just a short bus ride away this stunning place is perfection in nature. One of the reasons we pushed so hard around Belgium was to be here before it closes on the 10th of May. The previous cold weather had an influence but the warm spell when we arrived meant that it was in glorious full bloom.
Just see for yourself, these are just a selection of the 160 photo's.
Over 1 million bulbs are donated by growers and planted in 3 layers, one deep late flowering, a middle layer mid season and a top layer for early flowering. Each layer is removed after flowering and the bulbs sold in shops around the gardens.
On the day we visited there were 20,00 visitors and it was so clean that not one single scrap of litter could be seen.
It's simply so beautiful that no words of mine could ever do it justice. We snapped a newly married couple having their wedding photo's, what a venue for such a memorable day.
Different growers specialize in different strains of tulips as can be seen by the petals.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:00 PM   #57
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A visit to Keukenhof can be tiring for children so there's a small animal enclosure, a play area.
We captured a photo of a hare in the tulip fields having a snack.
There's an authentic windmill to visit too.
Dutch clogs are made of willow which grows very quickly is used. They were made originally for working in wet conditions to keep the feet dry as they're waterproof. For health and safety conscious people they also protect the toes, many working people still wear them.
Decorative ones are worn on traditional days and festivals.
Holland is a truly wonderful place to visit and Keukenhof is one of it's gems.
The correct name for the country is 'The Netherlands' although most people call it Holland.


Remembrance day in Holland is on the 4th of May and a ceremony takes place in Dam Square at 8pm in Amsterdam.
Liberation day is on the 5th of May and is a national holiday with lots of leisure activities.
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:01 AM   #58
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Previously I posted a photo of 'The Night Watch' by Vermeer which was made with Delft blue tiles.


We visited the Rijksmuseum along with many visitors from around the world.
Flash camera's and back packs are forbidden due to the current security situation.
It exhibits the original 'Nightwatch' painting by Vermeer, (photo) Van Gogh and many Dutch masters.
The painting depicting Adam and Eve is called 'Defeat of Man' drew many admiring glances.
Being a museum it also houses many other artefacts ranging from a German POW uniform to an aeroplane.
An ancient globe shows what detail was available to the ancient sailors.
Also exhibited was an oblong piece of magnetically sensitive stone, this was kept in a box away from other metals, when used it was hung by a piece of cord and depicted magnetic North, the 'Lodestone' was the precursor of the modern compass.
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:27 AM   #59
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City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: Snow Mouse, Sanity
Vessel Model: BROOM 42, Birchwood 33
Join Date: Apr 2014
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For anyone not familiar with Amsterdam's canals.
The blue dotted lines across the river depict free ferries.
The black X is the Sixhaven Marina, our temporary home.
There's a very large boat show held every April just downriver, called the HISWA a big boys toy store if ever there was such a thing !
Trains run from Schiphol airport to the Central Station, Amsterdam every half hour,there you simply walk onto a free ferry. A short walk from the ferry on the other side and your in marine heaven..
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:37 PM   #60
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City: Cleveland
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Irish.

You are having all the fun Mate. This is a wonderful post for us that are across the pond. I am enjoying reading about your trip and the photos are simply great!

Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing your trip with us Yanks! Keep it coming Mate and I look forward to hearing more.

Both of you have a wonderful cruise and be safe.

As always, Happy cruising to you both.

Cheers Mate.

H. Foster
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