After the drama of yesterday, I was looking forward to a much more peaceful day today. We woke up in our lovely apartment, and wandered through the streets of Monnickendam to Jane’s house.
We had a relaxing morning, and then headed out to hire a boat to sail around the canals. It was a lovely day. We opted for the comfortable boat, which was painted a very pretty blue, and had nice padded seat cushions. Phil was installed as the driver, and after a short training session (in Dutch) we were off. We first had to negotiate out of the dock and down a fairly narrow canal under some low bridges. This was all rather hair-raising, as the boat owners were watching us, and had just told us we were not to scratch the boat. We careened down the canal, veering a little wildly, as the boat didn’t respond quite as expected, and there were constant corrections and over-corrections.
Once we had left the village, the canals were much wider, and we all relaxed. Phil got the hang of the steering, the sun was out. It was just bliss.
It was quite peaceful, just sailing along, in the sunshine, with the cows watching over us.
We sailed on for an hour or so, and then we decided to stop at a local café for some lunch. This involved mooring and tying up the boat. Phil was getting pretty confident about general sailing, but the docking was a little stressful, and not helped by lots of onlookers who were standing on the dock watching as we attempted to turn and moor without scratching the paintwork…. We did eventually manage to tie up, and disembark, with no scratches or bumps and noone fell in, so I felt that was a successful outcome.
We sat outside and had some sandwiches and homemade lemonade
There were chickens and ducklings walking around the gardens, obviously enjoying the crumbs.
and then after a lovely lunch, we headed back to the boat. We still had a large audience as we set off, but we managed to turn around and sail off without too many crises.
We headed into a large lake next, so the girls all had a go at sailing.
I was so relaxed I even allowed a photo of me to be taken..
We sailed on through Monnickendam, and past some very pretty houses, and then into another larger lake where you could swim off the boat. We wanted to dock at the jetty but it was taken, so we ended up just stopping near some reeds and tied up onto some reeds. The girls were a little cautious but eventually they jumped in and had a swim. My girls were treading water like mad, and then Jolanda jumped in and stood up. It wasn’t very deep at all!
They had a short swim, and then they wanted to get back into the boat. This proved a little challenging, and I did have a vision of us having to sail back with them trailing behind the boat holding onto a rope. However, we did eventually manage to get them both in. Then Jolanda just jumped in, quite nimbly!
After the swim, we headed back into the village, and the very narrow canals. Phil was much more confident now, so it was all going very well, and we pulled up at the dock quite easily. There was someone from the boat dock tying us up, but unfortunately we didn’t stop quite in time, and we hit the end of the jetty with a bit of a bump. The owners didn’t look very impressed, and there was a small mark on the boat. We were a bit concerned about our deposit, but the boat staff came out and wiped the boat with some cleaner and the mark rubbed off so we were ok.
We sat at the canal-side, and enjoyed some ice-creams, and then headed back to Jane’s home.
Jane needed to visit the supermarket, and for some reason I find foreign supermarkets really fascinating, so I went along for a nosy around. All the same stuff we have at home, and yet, somehow different.
After our trip to the supermarket, and dinner in the garden, Jane took the girls to the stables to meet Ulo, Jolanda’s horse.
Molly and Katie both had a ride on the horse, and helped with brushing him.