Thursday delivered as forecast with strong gusty winds and plenty of rain. Nevertheless we motored the short distance across the Gouwzee to the former island of Marken (now linked to the mainland by a causeway) which we had visited a couple of weeks earlier. We were able to moor alongside in the small harbour and spent a few hours meandering around the village and enjoying coffee and then lunch before returning, in driving rain, to Monnickendam. That evening we said cheerio to Jen and Norm after dinner and the next morning, in sunny weather of course, headed north to Hoorn. There is a choice of marinas in Hoorn including the old harbour, but we opted to try the sailing club, WSV Hoorn, which turned out to be the right choice.
On the Friday afternoon we explored what is another very attractive town which was settled in the 14th century by merchants from Denmark and Germany and which still has many fine 16th century and later buildings which visibly show the importance of the original residents.
|Impressive coat of arms on historic house|
|Town square with statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen and Town Hall|
|Village near Horn|
|Tram in the garden!|
Sunday was also sunny and a very easy downwind sail of just over 8nm took us to Edam. a small port with a very narrow entrance. The opportunity to stay at another sailing club, WSV Edam, presented itself and we found the last spare space in their small harbour. After lunch we walked into Edam and found it to be one of the most attractive of the very many attractive small towns that we have visited.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon at the end of September there was a really vibrant atmosphere and we wandered around looking at the lovely bridges and buildings.
|Outside the Weigh House|
|Edam back street|
On Monday we cycled the short distance (about 3km) to Volendam. This has character and tradition but has, regrettably, become a tourist magnet. It seems that coachloads of tourists (predominantly Chinese and Japanese) are brought here on day trips from Amsterdam where they may have been as part of an around the world trip or on a cruise ship calling there. As a result there is an industry in dressing people up in Dutch costume to have their pictures taken and countless souvenir shops. What a contrast to Edam!
The next day was again sunny and with a F4 E wind we were able to sail first SE and then, once around Marken, SW to Muiden on the S edge of the Markermeer. Here we berthed under the Muiderslot, a castle dating back to 1280 and which in later years formed part of the defences of Amsterdam.
|The castle and river at Muiden|
|Near the lock in Muiden town centre|
|Original fortifications in Muiden|
The following day we motored the short distance to Amsterdam passing through our final lock and bridge for this year, both of them without waiting! In total, during the five weeks that we were in the Netherlands we negotiated 16 locks, 47 opening road bridges and 11 opening railway bridges as we travelled along the canals and the Ijsselmeer and Markermeer.
On our final day tomorrow we have just had the short motor to Orange Nautical Services where Whileaway is to be accommodated until the spring.
It has been an interesting summer with first (sea) visits to NE France, Belgium and the Netherlands. NE France presented new navigational challenges with the extensive sandy foreshores and bays but also revealed some very interesting and characterful towns off the beaten track. Belgium was a little disappointing with generally bland flatted coastal resorts - and much rain(!): the Netherlands through the Standing Mast route has been a revelation with so many attractive and historical buildings in villages, towns.and regional cities.
The weather has been variable but the last 10 days of high pressure and sunshine ends the season on a good note!
Now we have to plan for 2016 ...................