Boating in Holland

Music festival Kaag Eiland

We went back to the pub at 21.30pm and found the place heaving with Team Orange supporters. Not a spare bit of space. But they were all smoking inside the pub which was a surprise. I cannot bear second-hand smoke so we decided to watch the game through the window. And got chatting to locals in a mix of English, Afrikaans and Dutch. People back home often ask if

Dutch and Afrikaans are the same. The Dutch were the first European settlers in South Africa. The Portuguese got there first but did not settle. Yes. And No. Highbrow newspapers are impossible to understand. If we read coloquial

Kaag Muziekfestival

Dutch we can
mostly understand it. I will give a few examples with the Dutch word first and the the Afrikaans word second. Rice = rijst/rys. You = jouw/jou. New = nu/nuwe. But then other words are completely different. Kitchen = keuken/kombuis. Hospital = ziekenhuis/hospitaal. Chicken = kip/hoender. Lemon = citroen/suurlemoen. Peanuts = pindas/grondbone. But also, it’s the way the Dutch people pronounce their words. Leg = is spelled as – been – in both Dutch and Afrikaans.

Amenities Kaag Eiland

The Dutch
say it as bain or bayn. In Afrikaans it’s said as bee-in. We get by with a combo of all three languages. Luckily almost every Dutch person I have met speaks English – but also – they are willing to speak English.

The game started at 22.00pm. It was emotionally draining. Costa Rica and The Netherlands ended the game with goal-less draw. They went on to rounds of 15 minutes each way. Still no result. Finally they had penalty shoot outs and The Netherlands saved two goals. Much cause for celebration and our new friend bought us a round of drinks. Our new best friend did say that although Netherlands won, he felt it wasn’t actually a victory as they hadn’t WON the game through

Laundrette Kaag Eiland

play. We stayed until 01.30am and then snuck away for some much needed sleep.

Kaag Eiland have an annual music festival and the following day was festival day. I have to be honest, most small towns in Holland are peaceful and I wasn’t expecting the festival to be all that. How wrong was I? They set up bands all over Kaag Eiland at various pubs, eateries and under stalls. We listened to some blistering blues and solid good old fashioned rock. They had a bit of jazz, swing and pop going on too. We bought a Heineken and some frites from one of the foodie stands. Kaag Eiland is a gorgoeus place. Postcard perfect. Who knew?

Shangri La moored in Kaag Eiland

After wandering around the island taking in various bands we ended up back near our marina where a band was doing covers of 80’s numbers from the likes of Robert Palmer and Hall and Oates. The heavens opened and we all scrambled to boogie under an awning. This is why I love the boating scene. In front of me were three ladies dressed in designer duds worth a small fortune. I could see

Hooking up to shore power or Walstroom in Kaag Eiland

the labels on their handbags sitting on the table. I know what they paid for those bags. Next to them/us were the complete opposite folk. Hippy bohemian “couldn’t give a shit” type people who live on their ramshackled boats. We all danced in the rain together and had a ball.

Our next destination was Haarlem. There were 11 bridges to pass in total. Our boat would not go under all of them. Also, some of the bridges only opened at fixed times as they were on busy roads/train tracks. We had to factor all this into our journey. We decided to bring down the radar

Coin operated fresh water Kaag Eiland

arch and awnings to help us make better progress. We did 22 kilometres in 3 hours. The speed limit is 9 kilometres an hour but there is always time lost waiting at the bridges.

Haarlem is immediately different to the places we just came from such as Delft and Leiden. It has a bohemian laid back vibe. Blokes walk around in long shorts and pony tails. None of the formal designer scene you get in Amsterdam. Lots of seriously old, slightly decayed buildings but without the twee hanging floral baskets with geraniums one finds in other areas. It also has a large industrial outer area. I have to say as a Capetonian, I LOVED Haarlem. But then I prefer Glasgow to Edinburgh which most people don’t understand.

After tying up in Haarlem, we went for a walk to the main

Approaching Haarlem

square which every Dutch city/village has. And had a beer. We managed an early night. Well a not too late night, I should say. We tend to stay up far too late. The next morning we got up and went to find IKEA in heavy rain. We should have caught the
bus or train but we try to walk as much as we can – when we can. It’s impossible to exercise on the boat.

Haarlem station

We had an early lunch at IKEA and stocked up on Swedish knäckebröd, Swedish beers, a few other items and walked back in the unrelenting rain. Next stop was the VVV to find out more about what to do in Haarlem. They had a walking tour but same deal as in Leiden – only in Dutch. We bought their booklet with the tour route and info for only €.50. Bargain!

Our next group of friends were arriving later that afternoon. They caught the Eurostar from London to Brussels and then to Amsterdam. There had been a power failure and a few of the train services had been cancelled. Luckily not theirs, but their trip was delayed. We met them at Haarlem Centraal Station, walked back to our boat and

Side street in Haarlem

had supper together inside the boat. Amenities at Haarlem were OK but not well serviced. I prefer not to find pubic hair in the basin.

Our travels continue – here.

Read my husband’s take on our boating holidays in his blog – Waterway Wanderer.

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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