Meppel town square

Part 2 of this journey can be found – here. Or read from the beginning – on this link.

After cleaning the brimstone or lava off the deck from the fireworks the night before, we headed back to Zwartsluis from Zwolle to resume our repairs. The bloke managing the bridges into Zwolle overslept and a group of about 16 boats waited around over half an hour to get out. A gaggle of boats made a mass exodus from Zwolle, all heading in different directions along the canal networks.

My husband had bought a new VHF radio in Zwolle. Apparently it’s easier and cheaper to buy a new one than reprogramme ATIS numbers from the previous owner. ATIS = Automatic Transmission Identification System, an EU requirement on inland waterways. Yip, I’m leaving all the complicated stuff to my better half. I

General purpose gloves

prefer ‘cheesing’ (curling in English) the ropes and making tea.

Zwartsluis is becoming a  bit like home now. We know the back roads, even met a South African girl married to a Dutch guy. I was happy to take a walk into town and do the washing while my other half set about fitting his new VHF. Not quite as easy as he thought. He bought the exact same make, but once out the box, it was a completely different shape to the last one. At one point I found him staring blankly after he had cut a pile of wood away from his instrument consul only to discover his original

Short jetty with half ladder in Meppel

plan wasn’t going to work. Time for a lunch and tea break. It all worked out in the end. He glued a new piece of wood back into the hole and added a new fascia. There’s a lot more to boating than swanking about with a drink in your hand.

We said – Goobye or Tot Ziens – to the folk at Zwartsulis and headed off toward Meppel. We referred to the Wateralmanak – all in Dutch – which we ‘sort of’ understand and our other handy guide – Inland Waterways of the Netherlands by L. Busby and D. Broad. Local maps, which are easily found in many shops, are also a source of information.

Meppel wasn’t a long trip and had few bridges. The harbour master was a hands-on guy so we were shown an appropriate berth and moored in mild wind. I reckon boating is a bit like ballroom dancing.

Spped of 7.7 kilometres an hour

One of you needs to know what to do, and the other needs to know how to do what they are told. My husband tells me what to do, and I try to do it. Unfortunately he tends to speak in ‘boat-ese’ which drives me bonkers. Especially when we are battling to tie up. I have to translate ‘starboard stern rope’ or ‘for’d back spring’ in seconds. Why don’t boat lovers just speak English?

We made sure we got to Meppel by lunch time to ensure we got a mooring. Strange jetty in Meppel. A really short one. We put down a half ladder that we found on the boat – and leapt off! Literally.

Meppel printers museum

Meppel is a lovely place to stop. Lots of historical buildings, a really helpful VVV (Tourist Info), a marine shop, stacks of other shops and a lovely marina that curled through the old town.

Clearly lots of other people thought so too. That part of the marina was full. But then we did arrive the day before the Meppel Thursday Festival. One Thursday a month the folk in Meppel celebrate something. And have a big fat street market.

This month the theme was fashion and culture. There were loads of retail and clothing shops with specials on tables outside their shops. We loved the market where people spread their un-used

Working mill and museum in Meppel

possessions on the streets to sell them off. We bought 6 ramekins, a cereal container and a salad bowl, all for €4.

We went to visit the working mill, which is run by volunteers. Entrance is free and it’s open when the windmill turns. They showed us how it worked. We understood about 50% of what they said. Two Dutch girls helped translate what we didn’t get.

Happy campers next to the marina in Meppel

They don’t clean away spider webs becasue spiders eat the bugs that normally attack the flour. We left with a bag of freshly ground whole wheat flour for €1.

Inland Waterways also mentioned a printing museum – Drukkerijmuseum Meppel. They were closed when we went past. Admission was around €3.

People selling unwanted goods in Meppel

The shore power in Meppel was 10 amps as opposed to 6 amps in Zwolle. Which meant our kettle only took 10 minutes to boil and not 20 minutes. But the meter ran out fast. We started using our generator to heat the shower water and kettle. We were getting more comfortable with the workings of our boat. It was starting to feel like home.

Go to Part 4 – by clicking here.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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