Schagen - Purmerend

Pretty Schagen was left on Monday the 8th of July at 2:20PM. We cruised for less than 2 hours on the Kanaal Stolpen-Schagen and the Noordhollandsch Kanaal and moored in front of the Burgervlotbrug, close to Burgerbrug. The spot was not the best one we’ve ever found, but the combination of wind, the 9 energy turbines, an ominous sky and the light-effect, created by a descending sun, make for a spectacular picture.

The first picture was a view to the north, as this one is from the bridge to the south. Yes, we know, it’s unsurprisingly and utterly Dutch. We love it anyway.

This composition of clouds, partly grey and partly still illuminated by the setting sun made us think of, for instance, paintings created by painters from De Haagse School (1850 – 1900). See https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haagse_School_(schilderkunst) – best in Dutch.

The next morning, Tuesday, we left at 9:26AM and ended up in Alkmaar already at 11:45AM. Lucky us, the harbourmaster allowed us to remain at the ‘reporting-pontoon’, providing we reversed back up to the sturdy dolphin that marked the space for a small ferry-boat. We duly did. The name of the quay? Bierkade (‘Beer-quay’).

The previous picture shows a drawbridge, being the entrance of a canal, leading towards Alkmaar’s centre. We were offered a choice to enter this canal in reverse, as our little ship’s length is too much for turning inside. All boats have to ‘look’ towards the bridge, thus being capable of leaving quickly in case of an emergency. (We have the same arrangement in Amersfoort, at our winter-mooring.) Entering in reverse is not the problem; unable to ‘see’ the satellite by our satellite-finder (the south is to the left of the picture, the view blocked by the trees and buildings) made us choose for the wide canal. A peculiarity yet: the cruiser ‘Vosta’ in the foreground is owned by a family-member we hadn’t seen for, we think, over 50 years!

One might think there are probably no longer big commercial vessels on the Noordhollandsch Kanaal. We’re passed here by one, however – even named ‘Tesco’! (This for the ones that are familiar with supermarket-chains in the UK.) The above mentioned ferry-boat is moored behind us, respectfully waiting for the passing giant.

Ferry catching system

The ferry boat does not use ropes or anything similar, no it approaches the landing-stage ever so carefully and catches itself as shown by this little video. While gently maintaining the forward gear the passengers can leave or enter smoothly.

  • Snidsen from the east

    The view, as seen from the rear of our little ship, of one of the numberless charming alleys – named ‘Fnidsen’, once the most important shopping-street of Alkmaar. Interesting information about this name is to be found, again, in Wikipedia’s page https://nl.wikipedia.

  • Snidsen from the west

    org/wiki/Fnidsen. Only in Dutch, so perhaps Google Translate offers a solution for the most curious among you. The second picture is the view from Fnidsen towards our ship which is partly visible – as if to prove that we didn’t lie about our position for almost three days.

One of the first things to do in Alkmaar is visiting its centre with everything cheese-related to be found. Here our lovely dog and his mistress are amused (well, she is) by seeing this touristy device, offering the opportunity to put one's head through the holes where one normally finds a face - and make a picture. We choose to forgo this unique possibility to make ourselves looking foolish.

The temptation to sit outside a pub and watch an all-male crew to prepare for the chees-show that evening was not lost at us – not at all! The dog prevents us from going to the show itself – too crowded. This was good enough for us, though. The cheeses are placed onto (clean?) mats, it is true, but the men roll the (heavy) cheeses to each other, touching the paving stones as well. Well, the cheeses are all protected by a thin layer of plastic nowadays.

Just a random look through within charming Alkmaar.

  • Orphan house

    This stylish orphanage was built in 1818 in neoclassical style after Alkmaar's master carpenter(!) Willem Hamer. Hamer = hammer, very appropriate for a carpenter. Having said that, during...

  • Rooms Catholijk

    ...(or just after) the Napoleonic era one had to choose a family name – so one’s profession was an obvious choice. Hamer was born in Amsterdam and Alkmaar’s city architect for many years.

The Krom Elleboogsteeg (‘Bent Elbow Alley’), dating from 1676, made us think of Vermeer’s ‘The Little Street’, as far as the gate and alley are concerned.

We enjoyed Alkmaar, where we had never been before, immensely – not in the last place because of a birthday-celebration on the 11th. Friday the 12th, however, we left this new favourite of ours at 2:09PM, not 100% sure where we’d end up that day. It appeared to be De Woude – a place fairly new to us. Not completely new, though, as our female half seemed to remember that her parents almost 80 years ago, then living on a houseboat, moved house on a regular basis because of her father’s profession and lived in this area once (at Knollendam/Wormerveer to be exact). Her older sister (1940) confirmed that later on; she made her first shaky steps there. At De Woude we were welcomed by an obvious permanent little community, headed by a man that looked/behaved like the chairman of an outlaw motorcycle club, say Satudarah, No Surrender or Hells Angels. They all proved to be very friendly, by the way. The dog did not fall in the water…

Saturday the 13th we left at 10:34, after having replaced the pansies, that had almost ceased blossoming, by pink coloured geraniums. We decided to make a sort of detour on the way to our destination, being Purmerend. That detour gave us the opportunity to cruise the pretty Knollendammer Vaart, raised above the surrounding land, with a view onto the polder landscape on either side. We still think it’s a miracle to keep the polders dry and even make a decent living from them.

Purmerend, here we are! On the way we had reasonable weather, sometimes even sunny. While mooring, the rain poured down. After finishing the mooring-job, the dry weather came back again. That was really good timing of the weather gods! Anyway, we switched off the engine at 12:56PM and had a very nice afternoon in Purmerend’s lively centre.

The last picture was taken from a bridge. This bridge can be passed and immediately after it, on starboard, there’s a long stretch of water where visiting boats can moor. We’re glad we called it a day before passing the bridge, as the waterway as seen here was loaded with boat yesterday – there was no room for us.

A funny anecdote to end with. One of the several systems to pay for mooring as well as shore-power is called ‘aanuit’, literally translated ‘onoff’. Yesterday we heard it named A A Nuit – ‘AA’ like when talking about the Automobile Association and Nuit like the French word for night. That was a sort of hilarious!

This week’s statistics.

Engine ran during 8 hours and 18 minutes (8.3 hours) – Monday 1,6 hours, Tuesday 2,3 hours, Friday 2 hours, Saturday 2,4 hours. Not that much indeed.

Generator this week: 3,1 hours.

Weather: mixed, fortunately not too hot.

Hope to see you next week again!