Friday, March 20, 2009

Lunch and a canal boat ride

This week has been mostly sunny and warmer. That meant that John and our dock neighbor Andrew Smith (no relation) could finally tackle a job that our harbor master lined up for them: cleaning and doing the bottom paint on a six-meter canal boat that has a slip here. In order to paint the bottom, of course, you have to get the boat out of the water, and that meant taking it to a marina on the other side of the river IJ that has a TraveLift, Jachthaven Twellegea.

Twellegea is in the Nieuwendam neighborhood, which turns out to be quite charming. Nieuwendam, we learned, was an independent community until after World War I. It had its own shipbuilding industries that competed successfully against those in Amsterdam, and many of the old buildings and houses have been preserved. We considered spending the winter there, but opted for the central Amsterdam marina. Staying in Twellegea would have been an entirely different experience. Instead of walking to the supermarket, we would have had to make the rounds of the baker, butcher, and green grocer, and we probably would have gotten to know more of the local people.

In just the few days they were there, John and Andrew became regulars for lunch at a little café that another dock neighbor told them about. Café ‘t Sluisje sits on the dike next to a little lock (sluisje) and has a dock and terrace. Andrew took his dog with him, and Rusty was welcome in the café too, a common thing here. It all sounded so gezellig, so we made plans for me to go with them on the day that they put the boat back in the water. We would have lunch and then bring the boat back across the IJ and through the canals to Westerdok.

Yesterday was the day. After morning clouds, the sun came out, and it was a beautiful day for our little adventure.

Café 't SluisjeCafé 't Sluisje is pretty typically Dutch and very historic. There were three dogs in the restaurant while we were there: Andrew's dog Rusty, the owner's dachshund puppy, and someone's German shepherd.

MontelbaanstorenMontelbaanstoren, an old city guard tower. As John took this photo, he pondered how many other shots he's taken of it.

John on PrinzengrachtJohn did most of the driving. This is probably in Prinzengracht.

Bikes on a bridge in AmsterdamJust some bikes chained to a bridge. Actually, this bridge is more sparsely populated than many.

Andrew Smith with Round Lutheran Church in backgroundOur friend Andrew Smith with the Round Lutheran Church in the background.

Shirlee passing by Hotel BrouwerMe. I had John take this photo because five years ago, we visited Amsterdam with friends and stayed in the hotel (Hotel Brouwer) that's behind me. We wished then that we could be drinking bubbly on a boat touring the canals—and now we were.

MunttorenApproaching the Munttoren on the Singel. This is another old guard tower. It's the one right by the famous floating flower market.

Statues of Liberty by MunttorenWe don't know why these people were dressed as the Statue of Liberty on the bridge by the Munttoren, but as we approached, we yelled "New York" to them, and they turned and waved.

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