Boating in Holland – Weesp, Alphen a.d. Rijn and Gouda


This journey begins – here.

My husband gave me advance notice that we had to leave early the next day. He gets up and makes breakfast and I hold off until the last minute, then rush to get dressed and eat so we can leave in time.

Fortunately our friends on the boat are early risers. They had already been for a walk long before breakfast. We kicked off in good weather and headed for Weesp. Pronounced like waist but with a P at the end. Amazing, when the boat is still, it’s quite warm, but the minute the boat moves, the wind chill factor kicks in and you need an anorak.

The back deck

We tied up in the city of Weesp along the canal. Great location except the facilities block was about 1 kilometre away. We all piled off the boat and went walk-about. First we had soup and sandwiches at a nearby cafe, then we found the VVV (Dutch tourist info) where we got a map. The bloke at the VVV suggested we go to the “gardens”. Mmmmm, not quite gardens, but an interesting spot.

There was an old fort with a draw bridge going back to 1861. A map showed a collection of forts in an arc located around Amsterdam. After

Soccer Cup fever

walking whatever direction looked interesting, we went back to the boat to relax. Some of us had a nap, others read a book and one was pottering around. I had a nap and went for a short run. We trekked off to the showers and came back to make supper. Veg pasta with a big fat salad. And of course the obligatory sun downer drinks on the back deck talking about whatever. It was 21st June – Midsummer – so the sun only went down around 10pm. We went to bed around sundown.

The next day we had no idea where we would end up. My other half was wanting a wild stop. Not my first choice with a group on the boat! But there

Mooring at Alphen aan den Rijn

weren’t exactly any marinas en-route to Gouda. We found a stop next to the side of a road and tied up. A family friend came by to visit us. He took us out for a mini drive and supper. He spoke about life in the Netherlands. I love living in South Africa. Can’t imagine living anywhere else. But I can’t help but be envious of a country that has infinitely less corruption. The Netherlands have long term plans and funds actually get allocated and spent. They are incentivised to make green and healthy choices. Education is a priority and you can see it. I can only hope that one day South Africa will be like that.

Shangri La at wildstop near Uithoorn

We intended to find what we thought was a marina in Alphen aan den Rijn for our next stop. We tied up next to what looked like a French style cafe. It wasn’t. Turns out there were no facilities bar a rubbish bin. But we stayed because we liked the location. We all had a nice hot shower. (There was plenty hot water on the boat from motoring.) We put on our glad rags and headed to the local cafe. Holland was playing the third match of the 2014 Soccer World Cup against Chile. We geared up to watch the game at the cafe and got well and truly caught up in soccer cup fever. Local football fans dressed in bright orange clothes and

off to do laundry in Gouda

accessories filled the cafe. The cafe laid out snacks on the house.

The game began. The first 70 minutes were uneventful. Chile had the upper hand with ball control. They were at the point where they make substitutions . . . . when all of a sudden Holland scored a goal. And a few minutes before the end of the game they promptly scored again. Was lots of fun to be in a country winning such a big game. We went back to the boat and chatted on the deck until late. It’s hard to know when to go to bed as the sun goes down so late.

The following day we had breakfast and walked with our friends to the train station. They were going to Rotterdam and then Paris. We went back to our boat and journeyed on to


Gouda. I don’t know why I expected Gouda to to be a small historical village. It’s actually a really big place. Perhaps because there weren’t too many marinas on the map? We found the only marina in Gouda and tied up. The havenmeester (harbour master) kindly lent us his bicycle so Patrick went looking for a laundrette. I went for a mini run. That evening we both had a long shower and caught up on comms. I made us a humongous salad with falafel for supper.

Another round of friends were joining us shortly. We had to get the linen washed. The marina didn’t have a laundrette but gave us directions to one. We strapped our big blue IKEA “washing bag” to the bicycle and initially I rode it, but my legs were too short for the pedals. My other half took over and rode the bike while I walked behind him. We left our washing at the laundrette and went to explore Gouda. Do you know I actually think Gouda is nicer than Amsterdam. Why? A lot less tourists. Hardly any Coffee Shops. No Red light District.


Gouda also has canals. And windmills. And cheese tastings. It’s full of Dutch people.

Got to Part 3 of this travel blog – here.

For more on other places we have visited, go to the top of this page and open – My Holidays and Trips.

I will be back soon.


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