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Old 05-09-2016, 09:42 PM   #61
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Agreed! This has been an awesome thread and am enjoying the vicarious travel
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:56 AM   #62
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Thank you for your kind comments HF and CP.
I can assure you we're enjoying every moment ! We're very fortunate to have had 2 weeks of glorious weather for our visit and Sixhaven marina is the perfect place to moor here, a well run secure marina in a quiet area close to the free 24 hr ferry.
No visit to Amsterdam is really complete without walk down behind the Central station to it's infamous red light district.
It was packed with people promenading along the canal banks ogling the girls and there were as many women curiosity seekers as men. They seemed to linger looking at the dildo's. Being Irish I couldn't keep my big mouth shut, one well dressed lady was looking at a battery powered ceramic model and I leaned over towards her and said quietly 'I wouldn't buy that one it'll crack the enamel on your teeth' as she stalked off she replied in perfect English ' I prefer au naturel actually'. She was English,I couldn't help laughing.
We're not allowed to take photo's of the girls of all shapes and sizes who sit or stand in the windows with only a postage stamp size piece of cloth to cover their modesty, advertising their virtues.
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:57 PM   #63
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Thank for the pictures IR. Brings back memories from years ago.👍😊
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:42 AM   #64
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johnrupp. It brought back some memories for me too, I went first with a group of mates when I was a young soldier stationed in Munster (Germany).
We all went in to see a sex show and were admiring the girl, the boy couldn't perform, the place was cracking up with laughter, we were politely asked to leave in short jerky motions.
We adjourned to a bar terrace and then two TV's started fighting in the street, pulling hair and slapping, finally reverting back to form with haymakers, it was the most hilarious weekend I've ever had in Amsterdam.
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:24 AM   #65
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After a fabulous 2 weeks in Amsterdam it was time to move on.
First we followed a commercial canal out of Amsterdam, then branched of onto a pretty rural canal, some parts of which were lined with a community living on houseboats.(photo).
The farmers here regards the land as precious and farm it extensively, they collect grass to make silage for the winter feed for the cattle. Note the flotation tyres on the tractor and trailer.(photo).
The contented cows here are called Frisians, after the string of Dutch Frisian islands,(photo)
A pretty hand operated lifting bridge.(photo).
We headed for Volendam, this was once a thriving fishing port when this area had open sea access for it's fishing fleet, it still has connections with the fishing industry and fish still forms a large parts of the commerce and local diet, Hake, Cod, Eels, Mackerel, Herring, Baltic prawns and Lobsters are especially much prized.
We of course enjoyed the whole range of foods on offer, both the Belgians and the Dutch people eat really good hearty, healthy food. Frankly the idea that France is the gourmet capital of Europe is just myth and propaganda.
Here you can see the tourists who arrive by coach to visit the pretty town of Volendam.
One of the attractions is a visit to a wooden clog factory, wooden clogs were made by the Dutch people for years as practical footwear, they are made from the willow that grows very quickly in the damp soil and is easily worked being a soft wood.
The benefits of a wooden clog is that it's waterproof, ideal for working in the damp soil to be found here in Holland. Lined with felt or fine fur they are also very warm.
A by product is of course that it protects the feet the same as a reinforced boot.
Diamond cutting has long been a Dutch speciality and although most businesses are based in Amsterdam and enterprising jeweller here captures trade from the influx of tourists.(photo).
A traditional Dutch sailing barge.
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:11 PM   #66
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Rambler, you've got the gift, my son! Wonderful travel log.


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Old 05-14-2016, 02:39 PM   #67
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You know what, for a 2 week cruise in stateroom on one of these cruise ships (photo) you could do the cruise were doing for 6 months.
There are two towns with a reputation for making great cheese in Holland, one is Gouda, the other is Edam.
Edam is 3 km from Volendam and we were thwarted from arriving in Edam by low water levels in the canal. But TF's are not quitters and so we went by bus to bring you these photo's.
I hope you enjoy them.
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Old 05-15-2016, 01:25 AM   #68
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For some reason I couldn't upload the photo's of the massive cruise ships in Amsterdam. For the price of two weeks, two people five star stateroom you could have a fabulous holiday were enjoying for six months.

Our original plan was to go to Edam by boat but a change of plan meant we had to go by bus instead, as the crow flies it's 3 kilometres. The good thing about going by bus is that it took us on a tour around to get there, behind the façade of the tourist orientated ports there are thriving businesses and again you can't fail to be impressed how industrious and clean everywhere is.
Even better, you have to have a prepaid card for the bus, when I apologized to the bus driver that we only had cash as we're visitors he replied 'Welcome to Holland, it's OK' so we had free bus travel too !
We made sure to thank him as we left the bus because each of us are representatives of our own country.
My grandfather taught me that honour, good manners and education are easy carried through life.
The Dutch people are the tallest race in Europe, a lot of the nation are light haired and blue eyed giving a hint of Nordic trading in bygone years. Gentlemen, the ladies here are especially pretty and very easy on the eye.

Two towns famous for cheese making in Holland are Gouda and Edam.
Here are some photo's of Edam, note the leaning house where it's foundations have moved on the sandy soil and the old hand operated lock gate to control the level of the water in the small canals around the town.
The old cheese sledge was used to carry cheese to the market.
This whole area is so pretty it's really wonderful experience.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:35 PM   #69
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Great pics. How I'd love to get over there.
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Old 05-16-2016, 12:50 PM   #70
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Thanks Peter, Were headed to Melbourne in the winter....by plane.


We're the Meerkats !


As you'll know by now from these posts that a great inland lake is called a 'meer' in Holland.
When the Dutch government closed off the Zuider zee by linking the Frisian islands with dykes (dams), of course they installed giant locks for sea going ships.
They also divided the enclosed massive meer by 2 other dykes with locks for 2 reasons. One was to control the water level in times of excessive rain, the original plan was to drain them and reclaim the land as polders. The idea was dropped in 1986 but the dams and locks were by then in place.


It created one of the most wonderful cruising areas in Europe, bar none.

Our time came to leave the much loved Volendam to cruise up through 2 of these meers, the first was Markermeer, sure you guys know me well enough by now, so sharp at 0600 we cast off into a beautiful dawn (photo).


En route we passed the port of Hoorn, this was an early German Danish settlement in the 14th century but when the Dutch golden age came in the 17th century it became home to one of the regions Dutch East Indies Company depots.. To protect itself from invaders they built defences and here are two remaining from that period.(photo).
The town's name is no coincidence either, it was a local resident Jan Pieterzoon Coen who was the first Dutchman in 1616.


Just up the coast is our destination, the massive locks in the dyke at Enkhuisen that separate the Markermeer from the Ijsselmeer.
Enkhuisen was the base for the Dutch East Indies company and they brought spices and other goods from the East to be unloaded here in the large port. The port was also the home to the Dutch herring fleet. Dutch herring (hareng) is still a national delicacy.
The passage here was beginning to get a little bit boisterous. Approaching the lock 'sport' boats are directed to another 'smaller' lock, this one could hold a 2,000 tonnes barge or about 40 cruisers. small my backside.
It's the only time in my life I was able to see cars passing under us as we locked through, I kid you not there's a 2 lane carriageway going under the lock ! The dyke is also a 2 lane road across the meer.
You've got to hand it to the Dutch government for forward thing and the engineers who built it. Unfortunately it was pi.....g with rain and I wasn't able to get a photo.
Our next meer to negotiate was Ijsselmeer, as these meers are very shallow any wind can throw up a nasty short sharp chop so we tacked for comfort. The wind that drives the windmills also drives the wind generators, ugly damn things spoiling the view.


The water to the Dutch is a way of life and it ranges from cruisers to old sailing ships.


They just can't get enough of this waterborne life.
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Old 05-16-2016, 01:04 PM   #71
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Apologies, did you notice in the photo's of the big sailing ships the teardrop shaped boards on the sides of the ship ?
Because of the shallow meers a large loaded deep keel ship would simply go aground,
instead they're fitted with 2 of these lee boards which they crank down on each side of the boat for stability. thinking out of the box with and very effective.
Just look at the 2,000 tonne barge, spotlessly clean and beautiful, the skippers are brilliant, you want to see them handling them in the locks, they make it look so easy, often it's a woman driving as most of them are owned and driven by man and wife teams, this one was loaded with peat which the Dutch and Irish call 'turf'.
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Old 05-17-2016, 04:03 PM   #72
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Erratum.
2 posts ago I mentioned the town of Hoorn and it's famous son Jan Pieterzoon Coen who of course in 1616 rounded Cape Horn.
The town was named Hoorn after his great achievement.


We're now cruising through the part of Holland called Friesland, everywhere here is just a boating paradise, geared to cope with the influx of visitors with every aquatic need catered for.


This is the most North Easterly point of our proposed journey, from here onwards the plan is to keep going in a predominantly South Westerly direction until the butter starts to melt.

One thing that puzzles me is why people with a boat on the South coast of England don't moor it here in Holland for a fraction of the cost, take cheap ferry or flights to cruise where your custom is appreciated, instead of getting ripped off by company's like MDL marina's.


Do the sums yourself, South coast of England, 55.00 £ for a 42' boat overnight berth with poor Wi-Fi, electric and water extra.


Holland 19.80 Euro for a 42' boat with electricity, water and 5G Wi-Fi included, by the way you can get Fish & Chips, good beer and the girls are gorgeous, sure, what more could a man want in life !


Our journey so far.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:11 PM   #73
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Leaving Groningen imagine my surprise at rounding a corner in the canal and seeing the Pedro motor cruisers boatyard, there were about 30 'trade in' cruisers and I think if you were there with your wallet and dealt direct you could cut yourself a really good deal.
Just 2 kilometres further and the canal sides were lined with shipyards.
Even more surprise when we see two new ships being built for an Irish company. There were 3,000 tonnes barges in build too, one company builds the barge stern section complete, fitted out & painted and winches it back slowly, then add another complete module, winch it back further down the slip, until the final bow section is fitted before complete launching for final fitout
Another company launches the ships sideways into the canal, now that would be a spectacle !
For us though it's time to depart the large Princess Margaret canal and literally turn right into another world.
Until now the bridges have all opened automatically like clockwork.
This canal via Veendam is the only one we can use to get into Germany without going North into the North sea and entering a canal from a German seaport, it's just 6 metres wide and seems miniscule after our previous canals.
This canal was a turf canal and up to the time of writing this we have passed 29 bridges and 7 locks, all manually operated by teams of lock keepers and it's taken two whole days and successive teams.
The canal is lined with houses and really very pretty but really very slow..

For anyone doubting the effectiveness of Speed Seals 'Run Dry' impeller kits.
Today my friend and cruising companion Pat Butler had both his engines overheat, his seawater impellers self destructed through waterborne debris in the canal when passing through a lock.
Fortunately, him being an engineer, he was able to clear the blockage and refit his two spare impellers.
We fitted a Speedseal 'Run Dry' kit and only had to clean the filters on 'Snow Mouse',.
I deal in fact not fiction and I rest my case.

Tomorrow were off into to Germany !
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Old 05-19-2016, 07:13 PM   #74
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Love the pics - been there and can't wait to get back!!
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:19 AM   #75
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This has been a really fantastic experience visiting Holland by boat.
The people are so nice, friendly, helpful and very proud of their country, they have every right to be, it's beautiful.
The houses are kept neat and clean with manicured gardens, there is no litter, the canal banks are trimmed and kept clean of rubbish.


You've just to come and see for yourself how well it's kept, a real credit to the Dutch people.
My small amount of words here are insufficient to extoll the virtues of Holland so we backed up with the photo's so you can judge for yourself.
Canal map of our journey through Holland.


Today we cross the border into Germany to start a whole new chapter, if it's even half as good as Holland we'll be very happy cruisers.
We've a very good friend called Ruby Clarke, who's just had a hip replacement, we wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to her joining us at some stage through
in our German adventures.


Any criticisms, just one.
If Holland copied the Belgian system with unified signs marking closed bridge heights and putting sign posts, large enough to read at a distance at every junction it would be even more enjoyable.
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:43 PM   #76
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We arrived In Germany today and we saw change in just a short while as we cruised the Ruitenbrock-Haren canal
In Holland the houses had very small dividing fences/hedges, if at all, and the architecture is brighter in style and construction and everything so neat and well kept.
Here in Germany the houses are much larger but the architecture is altogether more sombre and fences/hedges are much higher defining property.
There are many more trees, mostly oak whereas in Holland they farmed every inch of ground intensively.
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Old 05-29-2016, 03:03 PM   #77
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What a change ! Once we crossed the border all the bridges and locks are camera controlled, no more guys hand cranking bridges here, alles in ordnung (everything in order).
The canal is bordered by trees, mostly oak, unlike Holland where you could see all the wee villages and farmland around as you cruised through it.
There are 2 main routes into Germany from Holland and we chose the most Northerly, the Ruitenbrock and Haren canal.
We arrived in Haren and hunkered down in a marina to let some cold weather window pass through.
Haren is on the busy Dortmund-Ems canal and generally referred to as the DEK. This is a commercial waterway and here you tag on behind a barge when using the large locks.
The old farmhouse is like something from a film set with just the front wall preserved for posterity.
How about the steps built into the tiled roof for chimney maintenance ?
This old windmill will grind no more corn, it's now blocked with trees and has been renovated into a bar restaurant with a view over the canal.
Inland ports like this one are dotted along the canal, this one has a large number of wind generators made in a nearby factory and brought here for onward shipment by barge to either seaports or other inland ports throughout Europe.
Barge transport here is very big business and accounts for 40 % of Germany's transport.
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Old 05-29-2016, 03:42 PM   #78
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Travelling down the Dortmund-Ems canal we reached the 'T' junction with the Mitteland canal, the Mitteland canal is a watery motorway and the main East West canal connection to Czechoslovakia, Poland and all the Baltic ports, even up as far as Russia or down to the Black sea, we met 2,000 tonne barges of all nationalities as we travelled along it.
At the junction we stopped at a bunker boat, basically a filling station for barges and got a nasty shock, the barges pay 60 cents a litre for red diesel, white (road diesel) which we have to use is around 1 Euro 10 cents a litre in a normal filling station and this guy wanted 1 Euro 60 cents.
We said we would take about 600 litres between the two boats and could we kindly have a deal, his words were 'I haf diesel, you vant diesel, you vant cruse you pay' Hmm! nice guy, I bet his freakin dad was in the gestapo....
We took only a 100 litres to get us a bit further on and search for a better deal.


Turning into the Mitteland canal we tried several places which the pilot book said had diesel and the book was wrong each time.
We finally got to the Luebecke yacht club and moored up for the night, the cost was 1 Euro a metre including electric (called strom) and water.
In the bar, where else ? we got chatting to some of the members over a beer or two in our pidgin German and we gave them an Irish flag to put up along with their own collection of burgees.
We explained the problem with the diesel and they said 'He very bed men ve get you in ze morgen mit ze tank'


Jesus H are they bringing a Panzer ? I only said my Dad was in Germany many times delivering, 'what did he drive' they asked ?
'Lancaster bomber' I replied....
Only joking..


In fact, true to their word we got diesel at pump prices delivered to the boat by road tanker at 8 am sharp, obviously we filled up both boats and everybody was happy. We appreciated their kindness and it took away the bad taste of the fuel bunker boat. A bottle of good French wine seemed an appropriate gift for their kindness.
We left to cheery waves and were wished 'Gute Fahrt' (Safe Journey) and continued our cruise and came across another gem at Bad Essen, a brand spanking new marine with a shopping centre literally across the road from the marina.
Boy oh boy, that was the girls happy, all thoughts of cabin fever disappeared faster than snow off a ditch in spring.
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:29 PM   #79
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The photo's show our route so far, the dotted line is the river Weser that we were unable to cruise due to low water levels.
That was Plan A.
Plan B was to take a bus and train but timetables didn't co-ordinate.
Plan C, hire a car.
I'd been to Hamlin (Hameln in German) as a young man teaching amphibious crossings on the river Weser, based at an army engineers camp and the photo's show the warning sign at the entrance to the now deserted training grounds.
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:37 PM   #80
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THE PIED PIPER OF HAMLIN.


There was a small town in Germany, called Hamlin, that was besieged by a plague of rats.
One day a piper arrived in multi coloured clothes and offered the burghers of the town to clear the plague of rats for a fee which they agreed immediately.


The town hall in Germany is called a Rathaus. I kid you not !.


The burghers agreed and the next day the piper toured the town playing his flute and all the rats came out from their hiding places and followed him.
The piper led them all down towards the river Weser and as he played his flute they all went in and were drowned ending the plague.
The next day he went to the burghers and asked for his money and the burghers laughed at him and told him to be on his way.
The piper then took up his flute and once more toured the town, this time all the children came out singing and dancing behind him and he headed out of town and they were never seen again.


The moral of the story is if you give your word you must honour it, or suffer the consequences.


photo's
1, Hamlin town hall, Rathaus, is now a guest house.
2, A series of these brass rats are inset into the cobbled street from the Rathaus to the Museum.
3,Inset on a wall depicting the Pied piper.
4, Sign on the Old Town hall, now a guest house.
5, Bronze statue of the piper leading the children out of town.
6,7,8 pretty Hamlin town houses.
9, Hamlin town museum with effigy of the pied piper outside.
10, Hamlin children of today entertain the crowds of tourists with some old rock n roll music to brighten everyone's day.
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