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Netherlands Waterway cruise – Utrecht

Shangri La in Utrecht

Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th August 2014

The trip from Breukelen had been quite short, so we were tied up in Utrecht by just after 1 pm.

Like most of the public moorings in the big towns or cities the facilities are just adequate.

Here the toilets and showers were located in a small boating equipment shop near the end of the quay.

Restaurants on the Oudegracht

Of course a shop is only open from 08.00 to 18.00.
So we had to make sure we used them when they were open.

We walked up to the town centre and found the Tourist Info or VVV as it is in Dutch and found out what was happening.

Utrecht is rather like any big city – loads of people and shops.

Utrecht Oudegracht

Its most fascinating feature is it’s split level design along the central canal, or Oudegracht.

In older days, the buildings along the canal were being flooded very often, so they built a second level and raised everything up.

Since the Dutch have got the water management under control they havereopened the lower buildings which now house restaurants all along the canal.

Bridge over Oudegracht

Makes for a very busy touristy vibe, especially on a sunny day.

Private and tourist trip boats are continually moving up and down the canal.

One of the main attractions is the Domkerk and attached Domtoring, from which you can get an apparently spectacular view of
the town – only it was under renovation so we couldn’t go up.

Old loco at Railway Museum

There are a few museums there – of particular interest are the clock museum and the railway museum.

We are not generally into museums, and they tend to be expensive.

I did go to the railway museum – Euro 16 !

Railway Museum

It was very interesting with some really
well restored old locomotives, but I had been under the impression there was a model railway there as well – which there wasn’t.

On the Oudegracht

Of course, loads of beautiful old buildings abound throughout the city.

Gerry and Judy arrived by train in the afternoon.
We met them at the station and got them settled in on board.

We had done a big shop up at our favourite supermarket – Albert Hein – (where they have a good range of reasonably priced – ok – cheap – Organic Wine) so we had a pleasant evening meal on board.

Approaching 1 of the 19 low bridges on Oudegracht

That’s the one thing we love about having our own boat – being vegetarian/heading vegan, we are always disappointed when we eat at restaurants – so eating aboard is always preferable.

I must note that our new crew have done several boating holidays before, both power and sail, so it was great to have them aboard.

Tunnel on the Oudegracht

The following morning we set out towards Vianen, our next planned stop.

Before arriving at Utrecht, I had gathered that we could not get through the bridges in the city centre, and assumed we would have to go back along the Vecht and rejoin the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal to reach our destination.

Another tunnel on the Oudegracht

However, a chat with the harbour master indicated that we could go through the 19 bridges along the Oudegracht.

Fortunately, the lowest was the first, so a test would tell.

Once again we lowered everything we could, and approached the first bridge with some trepidation.

Karen and Judy on the foredeck

We slithered through with about 15 cm clearance at the side windscreens!

It was a wonderful experience – gliding ever so slowly along the Oudegracht, through the city centre.

It was made easier by the fact that it was quite early so there we very few other boats about.

Once clear of the city centre, and after several more bridges, we entered the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal.

Next week – from here to Vianen.

By the way, for Karen’s take on our various holidays, see her blog – Green Point Greenie

Stats: Very little distance and loads of bridges!

(I will include all the details with the next post.)

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