Mind the gap! A steady hand on the tiller was needed to steer this French cruise boat down the Schinkel.
A constant source of free entertainment is available from our Amsterdam balcony as we watch the bridge on the Overtoomsesluis open, stopping road traffic to let the boats pass.
The Schinkel, the canal below us, is the busiest working canal in Amsterdam. On weekdays there is a regular parade of barges, ferrying sand dredged from the harbour to places inland where it is more useful for building and land reclamation.
It’s only a few metres deep, and generally calm and flat, but oh, there are some impressive feats of helmsmanship on show. And there’s always something going on down there. Continue reading
The barge, ‘Holland’, and its intrepid crew getting ready for a great day’s riding.
As I’m going to be chained to a desk and a computer for the next few weeks, I’ll take the chance to look back on some of the highlights of the travel year to date.
Our time in Holland started with a great little trip by barge and bike though the classic Dutch countryside…
For forty years, the grimy little barge Germa carried sand around Dutch canals. Then someone decided that carrying tourists would be more fun, and perhaps more lucrative too. So in the 1960s Germa was given a total makeover, with guest cabins built inside and a coat of cheerful paint outside. They changed Germa’s name too, to the more appealing Holland.
Now proud skipper John and cycling guide Marcel lead people on leisurely canal cruises, along the way taking their guests on bikes, to pedal round those Dutch icons – tulips, clogs, windmills and cheese. Continue reading
The day on a Dutch barge begins early.
Holland is mainly made out of water and cycle paths, so a barge and bike tour is an excellent introduction to life below sea level. The Utracks organisation has organised the Tulip Tour experience for us. Continue reading