The three of us, one visitor included, left Stadskanaal (the town) at 9:50AM on Monday the 21st of August. After negotiating two locks going down we left the Stadskanaal (the canal) and reached the Oosterdiep, leading towards the city of Veendam. The Oosterdiep is a lovely narrow waterway, confronting us with two locks and a load (nearing 25) of low bridges before arriving in the very centre of Veendam. A crew of 4 men, playing leap-frog, helped us – reducing the traveling-time to just 1,5 hours. All four of them are visible here, when we descended the second lock. Note the lift- and swing-bridges in front of us. We had already passed one lock and some 18 bridges at this point.
The Oosterdiep makes a 90° turn to the right. We, however, were lucky and able to moor in a short cul-de-sac – exactly made to measure for our little ship.
Veendam was ab-so-lu-te-ly very pleasant, but we planned to show our guest a bit more than only a few places so we left the next morning, Tuesday, at 11:00AM, planning to reach the attractive city of Groningen that same day. On the way we passed the A.G. Wildervanckkanaal and the Winschoterdiep. When at the end of the latter we informed the canal-centre that the bridge could remain in its ‘road-traffic-position’. Well, a large commercial approached from the opposite direction - we had to wait, of course, and the bridge opened anyway.
After some careful manoeuvring we moored at Grongingen’s Oosterhaven at 4:10PM. As you must have concluded we invested some hours in this day’s trip. More about the city of Groningen can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groningen.
One of the first thing one is supposed to do is visiting the Grote Markt. The most striking building there is the pride of the city, being the Martinitoren. For more about this beauty see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martinitoren.
After arriving at the Grote Markt the large outdoor café of the Drie Gezusters (Three Sisters) proved too tempting not to order some refreshments – possibly containing some alcohol. As you can see a fairground was created in the centre of the large square, creating a genuine cacophony. We drank our drinks anyway.
Whenever visiting Groningen city, don’t skip the interior of the Drie Gezusters. It’s large and wherever one looks a jewel of art-nouveau.
Self-evidently we had a walk around the city. On one side of the Martinikerkhof (Martini-cemetery) the Provinciehuis (Province-house) is...
View from it
...looking towards a small green, giving the view as shown on the right picture. It’s utterly peaceful, though in the very centre of a bustling city.
Two more examples of Groningen’s beauties, the first being ancient buildings and a garden dating from 1625, containing herbs, fruit, roses and more. Note the Martinitoren in the background. The second picture...
...is the façade of the main-building of Groningen’s university, dating from 1614. The university that is, the building dates from 1909. Note the flags of the provinces of Groningen (centre), Friesland (left) and Drenthe.
Of course we visited the avant-garde Groningen Museum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groninger_Museum), a supposed top-attraction. This picture of its east-side was taken when we left the city – thus as seen from the water.
Groningen city was left behind on Thursday the 24th of August at 8:45AM, in order to be on time for the opening bridges – some nine around the city’s centre. We passed the Verbindingskanaal, the Zuider- and Noorderhaven, finally to reach the Reitdiep (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reitdiep_(diep), only in Dutch). On the way we passed the lovely looking village of Garnwerd (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnwerd - in English too, but not worth the trouble…). We still think Garnwerd-bridge and surroundings are worthy of a picture.
Overnight mooring spot…
Our ambitious plan to cruise into Dokkum that day proved to be over-ambitious. We called it a day at 1:20PM, mainly because after 4,5 hours the (male) steerer almost collapsed. (As you’ll understand there’s a bit of exaggeration in this.) Anyway we ended of near a village called Warfhuizen – in front of a bridge with…
…as seen after leaving
…the intriguing name Roodehaansterbrug (Red rooster bridge). The mooring facility is of the type that makes it impossible to enter the bank. That’s no problem for us, as we are 100% self-supporting. To give you viewers an idea of what it looks like we made a second picture after leaving the next morning at 9:35AM.
Zoutkamp (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoutkamp - only interesting in Dutch), close to Friesland but still in the province of Groningen, proved to be another picture-worthy town – well, at least its riverside. The blue ship (ZK) still points back to Zoutkamp’s past as a fishing harbour. During the 60ties of last century the nearby Lauwerszee was closed off from the Waddenzee, causing a removal of the fisherman’s fleet from Zoutkamp to Lauwersoog in 1969.
After exchanging the province of Groningen for Friesland, still on the Reitdiep we witnessed loads of Heck Cattle(??) and Konik (??) ponies, obviously feeding from a vast area that is given back to nature.
One day behind on schedule -for this week, that is- we reached Dokkum at 3:50PM. That was another long day of cruising, 6h15m to be precise. You must realize by now that our physical condition is excellent beyond any doubt. For the interesting town of Dokkum, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokkum.
Tug with Kromhout engine
The next morning, Saturday, we planned to visit Dokkum’s museum (Saint Boniface!). Eventually we did, of course, but our walk towards it was delayed a bit by a just leaving tug, more specific by the sound of its engine. It must have been a Kromhout or perhaps a Gardner. The British boat-builder that built our narrowboat in the past always said, on hearing this kind of sound: ‘listen to the music’. We fully understand him.
Dokkum’s weighhouse is still there – pretty much unaltered.
It’s now a restaurant. (And the cars. They’re everywhere!)
The world-famous Elf(eleven)stedentocht (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfstedentocht) makes a detour to Dokkum and back. (Otherwise it would be a Tien(ten)stedentocht.) See the little map with the Wikipedia article. This is the spot where the competitors get their final stamp (as a prove they have been there) before returning towards the finish in Leeuwarden. Imagine the bustle during the event, as opposed to the tranquil scenery during the summer – and outside the holiday-season.
The last picture showed a well maintained Tjalk. Here’s its bow, with a skate-shaped bench in the background. The skate is a faithful copy of a Friese doorloper (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friese_doorloper - again: Dutch). Name of the boat: de Noarderling (The Northener), weight: 30 tonnes (haha - tun = ton in Dutch).
Entertaining Dokkum was left behind on that same Saturday the 26th at 11:15AM. The plan was to cruise into Leeuwarden that same day via the Dokkumer Ie (Dokkumer Ee if you like). Nearing 2:00PM we passed the bridge at Bartlehiem. Again: worldfamous, at least in The Netherlands. Here the competitors come from the (south-)west, Franeker, from underneath the bridge, turn to the left towards Dokkum and turn back after reaching Dokkum to go to the south, to the finish in Leeuwarden. The sign says Ljouwert, which is Frisian for Leeuwarden.
Between Bartlehiem and Leeuwarden our attention was drawn by this very special house(???), built of straw bales. Would it smell? Is it comfy and well isolated? Can it be insured? Interesting!
The Dokkumer Ee was done in less time than we had anticipated. Our present mooring, in Leeuwarden, was comfortably reached at 3:10PM. We are now on the Noordersingel, close to the Noorderbrug. We hope you enjoyed yourself this time (again?).