Retracing our steps through South Holland

Our trip through the highlights of South Holland

In 2016 we had a fabulous trip through South Holland with friends on a hire boat. So it was time to revisit, again with friends, on our own boat. Our starting point was Utrecht where we meet Robin and Phil Mellet. Peter did not brave the bridges of Utrecht in our boat , as he did in the hire boat, so we came off the Amsterdam Ring Canal on a sunny Sunday afternoon, turned right onto the Vecht, and were lucky enough to find the last mooring through the lock at Utrecht.

2016 through the 15 bridges at Utrecht

Joie de Vivre in Utrecht surrounded by hire boats

We thought we had a lucky mooring until I woke the next morning to find my beautifully cleaned boat covered in bird shit! Uck, a warning to the unwary, don’t park under trees. The first day in Utrecht with the Mellets saw us walk our feet off with not only a city walking tour, but an underground tour as well.

In Utrecht with Robin and Phil

we were now off on our adventure, with our trip down the Vecht taking us pass luxury houses to Loenen and dinner at the 1 star restaurant t’Amsterdammertje, which was as tasty as I remembered it from 2016.

Then it was onto Amsterdam with a mooring at Six Haven. And that was a long day, as we sat waiting for bridges to open. We eventually found out after a lot of phoning and radioing that they were having problems with the system, that left us waiting at a few bridges for over an hour.

The Vecht with its luxury houses
At least the open lock in Amsterdam didn’t hold us up

For those familiar with Amsterdam, Six haven is across the Noord sea Canal from the city, with easy access via the free ferry. So it was Amsterdam, with a segway tour in order, a visit to the Rijks Museum (my third) and a little bit of shopping (while Peter and Phil visited the Maratime museum).

Wizzing past the Bull Dog (the first marijuana selling coffee shop in Amsterdam

And yes we would venture back again to Amsterdam, but now we headed north to Haarlem, arriving on market day. This is perhaps one of the best markets that I have visited in the Netherlands, the other being in Maastricht. The market gave us the opportunity to introduce the Mellets to a speciality of the Netherlands, the fish truck with not only fresh delights, but fried prawns with a dipping sauce, which have now become one of my go to dishes.

Lunch in the market

We had our last spurt of the European summer in Haarlem and although we were now heading south the weather worsened.

This could be the last time we use our back deck this year
Feeding the swan family
Stormy skies
Arriving in Leiden

But it’s snug inside

With a change in the weather we didn’t linger in Leiden or Delft but made a dash to Rotterdam and the historic harbour of Veerhaven. The museum in Rotterdam closed in May, for renovations that are estimated to take 5 years. With no museum to visit, Robin, Phil and I took a day trip on the train to Den Haag to see the Mauritius Haus and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

I love this painting
And then onto the Peace Palace

Sadly the day came too quickly and we farewelled our last visitors for this season. As I sit writing my blog, with the rain tinkling on the cabin roof, I think, like the swallows we should be heading southto Australia and a warmer climate. The start of this journey has been delayed by storm warnings, but hopefully we can throw off our lines tomorrow and commence our trip to our winter mooring in Coupure.

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