I know it’s taken a little time to update my blog, but the month of July was very busy, with very little downtime.
We meet Margaret and Martin in Paris along with friends from the UK, Martyn and Nicola. Without a moment to catch our breath, our five days were spent exploring and shopping in this, my favourite city. For those interested in some tourist information I would recommend a visit to the Carnavalet Museum, the oldest museum in Paris, which traces the history of the city. The museum now reopened, has been closed for 5 years, and believe it or not, admission is free. The other recommendation is the newly opened Dior museum, housed in the original couture establishment , at 30 Avenue Montaigne.
On the shopping front, don’t forget to visit the newly renovated La Samaritaine, not just for a retail experience, but to admire this art nouveau jewel.
Back to Amsterdam and our Joie de Vivre, this time with Margaret and Martin. Our departure for other environs was delayed, due to inclement weather. Time to take a trip on a small boat along the canals of Amsterdam
Our first stop with this new group of friends was a detour south to Haarlem to introduce them to one of our favourite towns in the Netherlands. We then turned around and took the Noordhollandische canal, which opened in 1824, to the famous cheese town of Alkmaar. This town is awash with largely intact medieval buildings, and during the summer holds a reenactment of the traditional cheese market. Unfortunately our visit didn’t coincide with this spectacle but there’s always next time.
On leaving Alkmaar our plan was a trip on the Noord Hollandische canal before turning left onto the Purmeringvaat that would take us to Edam. But you have heard of the best plans of mice and men. There are a lot of static bridges in this area that are under 3 meters, which for those who are uninitiated, are too low for us, at just on 3 meter air draft, to sneak under. The biggest concern for the planned route was one bridge that was 3 meters high. Erring on the side of caution I checked with the lock keeper Purmerend as to the true height of the bridge ( the navigation map can be wrong). No he would not recommend we take that route. Ok, there was an alternative along the Broekervaat, but on closer inspection one of the bridges was closed for maintenance. The only answer was to continue south to Amsterdam and the go out onto the Markermeer to Volendam. Eight hours of cruising made it a very long day.
On arriving in Volendam there was no room at the inn, so we rafted against a fishing boat, on the proviso that we move at 5am the next morning to let him out to go about his business. We were up early to watch the fishermen prepare for a new days catch by emptying the tanks of the boat with the previous days catch of eels!
Three nights in Volendam saw us visit the local towns of Edam, Monnikadam and Markum, as well a replenishing some supplies at the local chandler.
Our sojourn in the north was quickly over and it was back to Amsterdam and the safe haven of Sixhaven, where we had arranged to leave our Joie de Vivre for two weeks, while we holidayed in Italy.