We left Fryslan for a 6 week tour of the northern and less well-known bits, partly to avoid the crowds and also to see more of this amazing place. We’ve found that places which are only mentioned in the guide books as ‘has rubbish disposal and moorings’ are often more interesting than those which have 5 star reviews. Maybe this just means we want something different from most people and to be fair, we do have more time, so we can afford the luxury of ‘wasting’ a day or two. Our experience has been that the more remote and less well-equipped, the better.
We did enjoy Bloksjil,
but only stayed for 24 hours. It’s got a large harbour basin and plenty of old buildings, which are beautiful, winding streets and it’s bristling with restaurants, cafes and bars. A pity then, that when we were there, we’d decided to lay off the booze for a while.
After that we went to Genemuiden. Not intentionally. We were aiming for Zwartesluis, but Genemuiden came first and it looked interesting, with a little harbour full of working boats.
To get there- an exhilarating trip across the Zwartsemeer – a shallow meer.
You might think that shallow equals safe, but that’s not so. In shallow water, you risk going aground, which is no fun at all, especially if there’s no one else around to tow you off the sandbank or reed bed. Fortunately, the water is well charted here, so as long as you watch the depth gauge and stick to the buoyed channel, all should be well.
It was exhilarating though, as it was windy and the water got kicked up quite a bit.
There were hundreds of swans and geese – many, many more than I’ve ever seen in the UK.
Genemuiden’s main attraction is the Tapis Museum. It’s all about carpets.
Not a particularly popular attraction – we were the only customers that afternoon and Herman, the very enthusiastic guide gave us his full attention. It was fascinating, especially as we had to piece the narrative together with Herman’s few words of English and our very limited Dutch vocabulary. It’s amazing how much you can convey with pictures, mime and gestures.
The carpets are now manufactured on the adjoining industrial estate and exported world wide, but the museum tells you the whole history of carpet making, with demonstrations. I’m glad I never had to endure the earsplitting noise of a loom in my working day. They’re very proud of the carpet they made for the Queen’s visit. She went on a 2 km walkabout and the whole route was carpeted. In orange, of course! Although they are a lot less hysterical about their Royals than many in the UK are about our’s, they do love them. There’s even a carpet which is a portrait of the King and Queen.
We did go to Zwartesluis one afternoon, but it wasn’t very interesting. The best thing was the ferry. It cost us 1E each. The alternately sunny and rainy weather made us feel as if we were on a Scottish island.
Beginnings and endings are important and a bad one of either can colour your whole impression of a place or event. We almost ruined our opinion of Genemuiden as we left. Very pleased with ourselves to have taken on water and left our mooring without mishap as it was very windy. We’d travelled along the river for about 10 minutes when Dave said, ‘Shall we go back and get the bikes?’
They were still chained to a lampost in the harbour.