2015 European waterway cruise – Netherlands – Alkmaar to Amsterdam
We made a reasonably early start from Alkmaar, for the usual reason – to make sure we found a berth in Amsterdam.
The route was along the Noord Hollansche Kanaal, across the Alkmaarder Meer, down the Zaan, through Zaanstad, into the Noordzeekanaal which becomes the River Ij, and into Sixhaven.
|Passing through Zaanstad|
It was busy boating day with 3 fixed bridges, 7 beweeg (opening) bridges and 1 lock.
Most of the opening bridges cooperated and
opened as we arrived, but had a long wait at Julianabrug as they seemed to wait for commercial traffic to arrive before opening up.
We also had a wait at Wilhelminasluis while a huge barge came in behind us.
We had been reading horror stories about previous boaters getting into trouble with the Water Police for not following the rules, or not keeping watch on the correct VHF Channel in the busy Amsterdam area, so I made sure we behaved perfectly.
|Spoorbrug in Zaanstad|
Arriving at Sixhaven just after three pm, it was already chaos.
The Havenmeester found a very good berth for us, right inside near the office, and handy for the ablutions and amenities.
The weather was not particularly conducive to boating the next day and the boats were piling in.
By Friday evening the harbour was completely gridlocked, and there was no way we were going anywhere.
|Sharing Wilhelminasluis with a barge|
Good thing we had planned to stay here a few days anyway.
There have been some improvements in Sixhaven since we were here last year –
a brand new ablution block with excellent showers.
Usually showers operate with a coin or disc and you get a set time for your money.
These showers used the Jachthavenbetaalkaart and so you pay for as long as you use.
|Well blocked in at Sixhaven!|
Fresh water is also supplied in 100 L shots using this card.
Walstroom (electricity) is included in the berthing cost.
We have been to Amsterdam a few times before, including once last year on Shangri La, so there was nothing we particularly wanted to see.
We did a huge shop up at our favourite organic shop – Marqt.
|New ablution block in Sixhaven|
We love the amount of organic produce available in Netherlands.
There are several other stores that stock healthy and/or vegan products – Eko-Plaza, De Tuinen, and even the local cheapo supermarket Albert Heijn stocks lots of organic
Oh that we had such good supermarkets in South Africa!
|Dining in the Dark – Ctaste|
The other most interesting thing we did was to eat at C-Taste.
Here, you eat an entire meal completely in the dark – and I mean dark!
We had the vegetarian brunch.
It was a most amazing experience – meant to encourage you to taste, feel and talk about your food.
The waiter guides you to your table, and brings the courses.
Fortunately he talks a lot so you know what is happening. Great fun as well!
Afterwards we were given the details of what we’d eaten, and found we’d been
pretty accurate in our tasting.
Our next stop would be Utrecht, and we would need an early start. Unlikely in our present berth.
So on the Monday morning, when some boats were leaving, we managed to move to a box mooring near the harbour entrance.
Result – early departure on Tuesday.
Next – Amsterdam-Rijn canal and Vecht to Utrecht