Antipole cruises

Gouda, Haarlam and Amsterdam

After Dordrecht we motored along the Noord and then the IJssel rivers and into the eastern outskirts of Rotterdam (lots of big ship facilities).  Here we turned north into the Hollands-IJssel canal. Once though the bridge at the storm-surge barrier, we had a lovely very gentle sail just under genoa all the way to Gouda, passing through many towns with their houses lining the canal.  Eventually, we arrived at Gouda and found a mooring on the Turfsingel canal.

Gouda is an extraordinary combination of industrial city and ancient wonder of concentric canals.  There is the spacious market square with its 15th century town hall (below left), its cheese market (centre) and the cheese weigh-house (right).  But perhaps most impacting was the Sint Janskerk – a vast church (the longest in the Netherlands) – with the most fabulous stained glass dating from 1555.  It is quite extraordinary – if you ever get the chance to see it, don’t miss it!  It has all the wonder of a great cathedral, but, being Dutch Reformed Church, without the heaviness of  Catholic images.

We left Gouda on Monday morning and travelled northwards along the Gouwekanaal through some eighteen bridges, so it was motoring, apart from a stretch across the Braassemermeer.  It was very picturesque, with lots of houses fronting onto the canal, with their own jetty or boat dock.  Finally we came to the Kagerplassen, a series of lakes very reminiscent of the Norfolk Broads, for those who know, and all rather shallow – less than two metres.  There is lots of sailing activity for youngsters in traditionally-built gaff-rigged yachts, and tented camps at the water’s edge – lovely!  The area has lots of holiday/weekend chalets/houses (batches to New Zealanders).  We found a good spot to anchor for the night.

On Tuesday we made the passage along the Ringvaart de Haarlemmermeerpolder and then the wider River Spaarn through thirteen bridges to moor in Haarlem.  We had to wait for the end of evening rush hour to make our way through the last few bridges into the city.

Haarlem is another lovely city with a Grote Kerk in its market square. A number of cities have hofje – a sort of courtyard with charitable housing for single women or widows, which typically were set up with bequests from well-to-do citizens. Haarlem has twelve of them surviving. But perhaps after all the amazing places we have seen it was a little déjà vu. However, we visited the Frans Hals museum, which houses an wonderful collection of paintings by the Dutch masters, including many by Hals himself, especially the portraits of the night watchmen. These were bands of quite wealthily citizens who served for three years and commissioned large paintings of themselves to hang in their hall. At the conclusion of their service they would have a feast, overlooked by their painting. The paintings were displayed in a large room with the remains of such a feast on a table in the centre, making a most striking display.

On Thursday we headed further north along the Spaarn and through more bridges to negotiate the Jijkanaal motorway bridge. This is a very busy motorway, and the bridge is only opened four times a day for yachts. By the time we got through there was a large fleet assembled as we entered the Nordzeekanaal and had a glorious run under genoa all the way into Amsterdam – our first sail for some days.

We are in the Sixhaven, a marina very central in Amsterdam and just a short (free) ferry-ride from the main railway station. It is incredibly packed-in. After all the proper places have been taken, all the ways through the berths are in-filled. Some twelve boats would have to move before we could get out – perhaps Six-abreast-haven would be more appropriate! After the morning departures, we need to move to a better berth for the next few days. Tony flies back to Bristol on Friday afternoon for the Marianne Fry Lecture, which he helps organise, returning on Sunday. Meanwhile Ynskje will be going to a family gathering in Vierhouten for Ton’s 81st birthday.

Next week we will be heading out into the Makermeer, east of Amsterdam. We plan to work our way up the west coast, as the towns and harbours there are old and picturesque, whereas those on the south coast are on newly re-claimed land and more Milton Keynes (for our UK followers) – see the cruise plan for details.

That’s the news for now.

love from Tony & Ynskje

One thought on “Gouda, Haarlam and Amsterdam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.