After a pleasant stay in Smilde for three days, a visit from family included, we left on Monday the 17th of July 2017 at 9:45AM. The first lock we had to deal with was the Veenesluis around noon. Its setting is just too pretty for keeping it away from all you faithful followers.
We planned to stop at Dieverbrug but skipped the first (nice enough looking) possibility, as it wasn’t for free and we are 100% self-supporting. That was above the Dieversluis – see hereunder. The second opportunity, below the lock and recommended by the lock-keeper, was fully occupied. So we passed another lift bridge, visible here in the background, and moored at 2:25PM – still close to Dieverbrug.
Back to the Dieversluis, situated only several hundred meters back from where we were moored for the night. This picture shows the lock, the not-for-free mooring-spaces above the lock, the information-centre on the right-hand side (inside the black building, visible between the tree-trunks), in short: the pretty and interesting surrounding of this lock. We even did not yet mention the inviting café/restaurant that is visible on the left-hand side. Our special interest this time is the device that is visible around 3 o’clock, left from the inside-tree on the right-hand side – see the next set of two pictures.
Niveaumeting (level measuring)
All locks of the Drentsche Hoofdvaart -the waterway we were cruising on last week- have this device installed, up- as well as down-stream of it. The water-level in each pond is automatically checked this way. ‘Niet aanmeren’ is meant to avoid…
Niet aanmeren (no mooring)
…wrecking the device by a careless boater, throwing a rope or using a boat-hook. Therefore: don’t touch! Next to each lock a back-pump installation starts working as soon as the ‘niveaumeting’ indicates a level that’s too low. See the next short (27 seconds) video.
Taking care of the water-level
The pumphouse is situated next to the lock and dates from 1925. That’s a respectable age – and it still works! Most of the time anyway, according to the lock-keeper. Manipulation by the latter is possible, if needed. The information-centre we mentioned with the third picture is better visible here, this time at the right-hand side.
We visited Diever by bicycle on the 17th as well, it proved to be an attractive village, the weather was gorgeous and we were lucky that a market was being held. However, the next morning, Tuesday the 18th, we left at 10:40AM and stopped after just 1 hour and 2 minutes at Uffelte (see picture), planning to explore its surrounding by bicycle again. But our plan fell apart because one of the four tires we need to go our together by bike was plain flat… We discovered a ruptured air valve, an irreparable type of leak. No bike-shop in or near Uffelte, forcing us to postpone our plan to discover a beautiful part of Drenthe.
Our Uffelte-space was situated opposite a thatcher firm, exposing two prominent features. First there’s the almost antique little freight vehicle as an advertisement for the firm’s activities. Then, when looking at the combined living/business-building, the roof is partly tiled, partly sheeted. No thatched roof at all! (The butcher doesn’t eat meat.)
Thatched roofs – apart from the thatcher’s house
To make things even funnier this video shows nice thatched roofs on either side of the tiled/sheeted roof of the thatcher. We sincerely hope his neighbours have both been the thatcher’s customers.
We found a bike-shop in Havelte, not far from Uffelte. So we left the next morning, 19 July, already at 8:45AM and moored at Havelte 9:52AM. We walked immediately towards the bike-shop, Vredenburg Tweewielers, and hoped them to be able to fix our crippled bike at the shortest possible notice. That would be around 5:00PM, the Vredenburg-employee told us. Disappointment came all over us – no exploring beautiful Drenthe. But… no problem, he offered us a ‘borrow-bike’. For free! This picture shows the (red) one. It even has the word ‘LEENfiets’ on it. (We forgot to take a picture of the Havelte-spot. A comforting thought: there was not a lot difference when comparing to Dieverbrug and Uffelte.)
When at primary school every child in The Netherlands learns about the Hunebedden (multiple form of Hunebed) in the province of Drenthe. Us too – some years back we must admit. We never had seen a hunebed in its actual state, so now was the time: we were near to some and both of us surely had a bike in working order. Hunebed D53 was entirely demolished by the Germans during WWII because they planned to construct an airfield on that spot. The smaller D54 was spared because it was buried under…
…sand and thus kept away from the German eyes. The hunebedden date from some 5.000 years back and are part of the Funnelbeaker Culture (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funnelbeaker_culture). There’s a lot more to tell about it, self-evidently. The ones among you that are eager to know more, see https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunebed (Dutch), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmen, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmen or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamber_tomb.
There’s some lovely scenery to be seen on the way towards/from the hunnebedden. This hidden little lake all of a sudden showed up next to ‘our’ bike track. Utterley restful, that’s what it is.
Suddenly there was a meadow next to the bike-track. What about this herd of horned female cows and their offspring? No bull, all female and children. We really love this sort of scenery. Do you notice the narrowness of the bike-track? We managed to not collide with oncoming traffic.
A rare rail-track swing-bridge
On we went on Thursday the 13th of Juy 2017, also related to a planned visit to Zwolle’s hospital. (No, nothing too serious, thank you.) Departure time 8:52AM, planning to end up in Hoogeveen, on the Hoogeveensche Vaart – which is quite a distance. An interesting feature during this part of the cruise was passing the double-tracked railway line Leeuwarden-Meppel. A low-leveled swing-bridge has to be opened to let a boat pass. Officially the bridge opens 2 times every hour, at .25 and .56 (.50 during the week-end) minutes, providing the train-schedule permits. We approached the bridge around 9:50 at a distance, saw another boat waiting, revved up and hoped to get there at 9:56. Then the bridge swung open, the other boat passed. To our disappointment (well, not that much) the traffic light showed red when we were very close and the bridge closed again. Bad luck we thought, half an hour waiting-time. To our pleasant surprise, however, the traffic light showed green within a few minutes and the bridge opened again. This is what it looks like after passing the bridge. Note the absence of electricity-cables overhead the bridge. The pantographs lose contact with the electricity-cable for a brief moment.
The third lock now in this week’s weblog, being Paradijssluis (‘Paradise Lock’), also the last one on the Drentsche Hoofdvaart. This lock is absolutely true to its name – it looks like a little paradise. The lock-keeper on duty, visible on top of the portside downstream gate, confirmed to us that he permanently lives in the cottage next to the lock. Lucky bastard! (And a keen gardener too.)
We passed Meppel, to enter the Meppelerdiep. Well, that’s a change of scene, one might say. A picture here of the activities at Meppel/the Meppelerdiep. It almost gives a Rotterdam-like feeling.
Just before we’d make the left-hand turn towards Hoogeveen we had a phone-call from Zwolle’s Isala-hospital (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG7PzsZyi2c – it’s a futuristic gem of a building, no kidding) which made us change our plans instantly into travelling towards Zwolle instead of Hoogeveen. On the way we again passed Zwartsluis. This row of beautiful flowering Hortensias attracted our attention. Another keen gardener, no doubt.
Because our daughter’s dog, a lovely Australian Shepherd (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Shepherd), is with us since yesterday for a fortnight and in Zwolle a ladder has to be climbed when leaving our little ship, we rang the harbourmaster in Hasselt (15 kilometers, almost 10 miles, from Zwolle) to ask whether there was room for us for over a week. His answer was ‘yes’. So here we are, since last Thursday, the 20th of July 2017, 1:30PM in between a Tjalk and what was described fondly in the UK as a ‘gin palace’. The harbourmaster offered us box 2 almost directly behind the entrance on the right hand (starboard) side and we duly went in – in reverse. Due to the length of our ship we are protruding considerably, but hey, who cares? This was it for now. Bye bye.