After a prolonged and delightful stay in Grou harbor, we decided to go to Leeuwarden again. The city of Leeuwarden will be European Capital of Culture in 2018 and there is a thought that it would like to become independent of Friesland.
The journey started on the Princes Margretkanal, dodging the commercial barges. We saw one so heavily laden that the water was lapping around its gunwales. We stopped for lunch at Warten, just because it’s a lovely place and dawdled over coffee and books, forgetting that we needed to ‘beat the bridges’ to hit our target. By the time we’d diverted to pick up more diesel we came up against a brick wall, or rather bridge which wa closed for the two hour tea break. This happens to bridges especially on busy commuter routes. They won’t lift the bridge between 4 and 6pm, because that means stopping the traffic. In a typically British way, we had a think, accompanied by tea and biscuits.
New plan: turn round and either moor at a Marrekrite or make for Wergea, a not-too-distant small town. The water was a bit rough around the Marrekrite – see this delightful ‘toy’ boat being towed by a tug.
So we went for the town. Finding a mooring was harder than it should have been and included getting temporarily stuck in a narrow bit of water as we went through a Yacht Haven. Because our boat doesn’t have bow thrusters, it’s not as manoeuvrable as some and because it does have bilge keels, it can get stuck in shallow water, or if there is vegetation on the bottom. It was all worth it in the end. We just got through the tiny bridge, ten minutes before the bridge operator went home and moored in a rural idyll for the night.
Next day, off I went to get bread for breakfast, but everywhere was shut. There were also several children with their Dads, getting stuck into a day’s fishing. Then the penny dropped. Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter, is a public holiday in The NL and despite having been caught out by this before, we’d forgotten.
Off for another attempt to get to Leeuwarden. A much bigger sailing boat passed us and disappeared into the distance, but ‘slow and steady wins the race’ and we caught up with him at the bridges. He’d done the waiting and we went straight through. He didn’t seem t hold it against us though.
Leewarden at last! In holiday mood, with the biggest Flower Festival in The Netherlands in full swing, five minutes from our mooring. They love their bloomen.
Bought some strawberries from a street stall and enjoyed them with the first ice cream of the year.
I think summer is here. And we’re enjoying Leeuwarden where even the underside of the lifting bridge is decorated.