Edam and Volendam
We could see from the map that the town of Edam was not far from Purmerend, and with fine weather continuing, decided we could treat ourselves to a day off. Navigating by water was not possible for Neo Vita, so we took a bus. We passed through Edam (saving it for later in the day) and continued onto Volendam.
For a time Volendam attracted artists, particularly those who were on the verge of a new style, which was not yet widely accepted in Europe. It had been a fishing village until the dyke that created the IJsselmeer was constructed in 1932, and we are told, blithley that the fisherman turned to other work at that time (I suspect this hides a lot of hurt that must have been felt at the time).
The museum was very comprehensive, and had many displays of culture associated with fishing and the traditional lifestyle.
The most extraordinary part of the displays was a room which held the murals and art works of an artist who had created all of his works using cigar bands. While each kind of cigar band is different in detail, they have a similar background colour that can be used to make a larger, tonal picture. This guy used about 11 million of them. Apparently, he did not smoke them all. It was incredible, the detail and the effort. Only a couple of photos, that cover only a few percent of full display. In the second picture below, everything is covered with a decoupage of cigar bands – clogs, picture frames, bottles, furniture. I guess you have to find something to do during the long, cold winters.
Saw a fascinating video of old Volendam with everyone skating along the frozen streets on giant clogs, with blades attached! After a little shopping, and some local fish and chips, washed down with a beer in the bright sunshine, we briefly visited a small cheese factory. Cheese is of course an important aspect of the Dutch culture, and it is almost certain that this was one of the cargoes that Catharina Elisabeth would have carried during her working life.
There were a couple of other villages we wanted to visit, but short of time we took off to nearby Edam, of cheese fame.
Edam was much smaller and quieter than Volendam with several smaller canals,
and pretty canalside houses throughout.
We bought some cheese from a touristy shop, still at what we considered ridiculously low prices, and wandered through the town. Time running out, we bussed back to Neo Vita in Purmerend ready for the next day.
Passing by on the way to Amersfort
Leaving Veesp we passed our first fee-paying bridge. The guy holds out a fishing line with a painted wooden clog attached to the end, and swings it out for you to put your money in. Got it first time.
As Crew has already mentioned, Helm had not planned such an exposed route, (Veesp – Muider – Eem River) but while the journey lasted for several hours, it was not too bad. (Open water vs Amsterdam: no real competition.) When we saw a fleet of yachts right in our path, we navigated our way through them comfortably.
Amersfoort is a lovely place, with an old stone portal (the Koppelgate) and a series of small canals circling the old town.
While we were strolling through the old town the most beautiful hurdy gurdy came past . One guy rides a bike that is attached to it, and another holds out a tin to collect money.
We’ve come across a few ferries now. They were included in our waterways training but I didn’t expect to see one. Some are run by underwater cables, and you wait for the ferry guy to see you and drop his cables down so you can safely cruise over them. And heaps of dredgers, and cable-laying platforms – it’s comforting to know we are using our training – but we have to be really observant, reading and interpreting all of the signs that line the canals/rivers. We have used both the phone and the VHF radio to contact traffic control to open bridges and locks.
It’s really bizarre to see a huge 60m+ commercial peniche cruise past in the river, and then realise there is also a tiny boat with half a dozen rowers practicing, and a man having a swim alongside our moored boat. Shared waterways indeed!
If you look closely you will see a massive dredger platform above filling a commercial peniche with sand. The peniche is probably 3 times our size.
Helm has been looking for a chandlery to stock up on spare ropes/fenders and new gas canisters for the life jackets. We cruised all day from Amersfoort to Harderwijk, but the harbour was under major construction, so we pushed on the next morning to Elburg, where we have found what we wanted and will stay for several days as a huge festival of old boats and competitions between neighbouring towns is about to get underway.