Netherlands -Amsterdam, Travel

Cruising the Friesland Canals Pt 2

Each and every city we have visited has had its unique wow factor, the next city to be shared would turn out to be no exception.



This is one of the places I thought was rather picturesque and had a unique attraction in the form of the oldest working planetarium, which was developed in a small house attic.

It all started back in the 1700s by a Dutch wool-comber, clock enthusiast and amateur astronomer, Eise Eisinga. The visit literally took our breath away by the ingenuity of his work.

Franeker planetarium and Les_edited.jpg

This planetarium and museum are in a canal-house, where wool-carder Eise Eisinga decided to build a working model of the solar system on his living room ceiling. What’s especially interesting is that he didn’t have any formal education in astronomy and was an entirely self-taught amateur who managed to create an accurate moving model of the solar system.

Franeker Planetarium ceiling_edited.jpg

He built it between the years of 1774 and 1781 to show people that there would be no reason to panic when a conjunction of planets was due to occur on the 8th of May 1774. Apparently, people believed that the planets were going to collide with each other and cause the Earth to be pulled from its orbit resulting in being incinerated by the sun!

For more information and photographs, see the below links.


Aside from visiting the Eise Eisinga Planetarium, the “city” itself was enjoyable to wander around and admire the architecture to enjoying browsing a few shops.


Leeuwarden from the tower_edited

Left on the above photograph is approximately where we moored.

This is one place where we spent the most time over our two weeks adventure.

Before I mention what we ventured to see our first stop pre-boating Leeuwarden experience was to stay a couple of nights at the Stenden Hotel.

The Stenden Hotel_edited

We have experienced various types of hotels. Though never a hotel like the Stenden. The uniqueness of this hotel is because its part of a hospitality training centre, so all the students and staff were very attentive, to the point of over being over attentive if that is possible. The breakfast was plentiful and delightful with an array of hot and cold products in an inviting modern, relaxing environment. A largish and comfortable room topped off our experience. The location was a short walk into the old centre of Leeuwarden. We walked to town. If wet there is a bus stop outside the hotel. Plus plenty of on-site parking. All this for a very affordable price of around 70-80 euros. It was indeed value for money, and it is fun to experience a hotel with a point of difference.

On our return, we were able to appreciate more of what Leeuwarden had to offer from a boating perspective.

Firstly it was the “feel” of the place, our mooring was beside the park which made our walk around town very picturesque and enjoyable.

Leeuwarden leaning tower_edited

One of the fun experiences that stood out for me was finding that the leaning tower was open unlike on a first visit. Which was brilliant and an opportunity to climb the narrow stone steps to see Leeuwarden from a different perspective.

Pisa’s famous leaning tower, which tilts at an angle of precisely 3.99 degrees, has a Dutch rival. De Oldhove, a church tower in Europe’s new Capital of Culture, totters even more precariously. It began to sag during construction, and the project was abandoned in 1532. The church was demolished in 1596, but the tower remains.

Leeuwarden highlighting languages

Near the De Oldhove was a modern building housing a fun display of hundreds of languages from around the world. Yes, with the Maori language was included.

Arty displays were not only to be seen in the obvious places such as a museum, buildings or an art gallery, we also spotted quite an array of artistic talent on premises and in many other public areas.

Artwork Leeuwarden

It is not only creative in the art sense. Creative thinking abounds when it comes to growing a particular vegetable namely potatoes which the Dutch people love to eat. They have for many years been growing them with a little help from Malta. How? Well, farmers send baby spuds to the Mediterranean island, where they mature before being sent back to Friesland. It sounds bizarre, but then again, this is a place where they moved the sea to build cities.

At the end of our time exploring, we could all certainly understand why the city was awarded the title in 2018 of “The European City of Cultural”.



Our primary focus for stopping into Harlingen was to find the fountain. Which we did. Both the city of Harlingen and the fountain didn’t leave much of an impression on myself. Though my fellow crew mentioned that it did have a few good merits.

What did perk us up after walking around in strong coolish wind was indulging in a large helping of Kibbeling from a street vendor by the seafront. Did I hear you say, “What’s Kibbeling?”. Well, this favourite Dutch snack which was for us a late lunch consists of battered chunks of cod served with mayonnaise in a cardboard tray. Thank goodness there were no chips as the fish alone was plentiful. That was a first, having fish and no chips by the seafront.

We did leave Harlingen with a smile on our faces and our appetites satisfied.

Didn’t manage to read Part One?

Here is the link – Cruising the Friesland Canals – Part One

Next, in Part three I will share a few more cities and a list of suggestions to think about while in the process of hiring a boat.

Cruising the Friesland Canals part2

Franeker Planetarium
Franeker Planetarium -UNESCO
Leeuwardens Street Art Tour
Leeuwardens 6 best Art Galleries

39 thoughts on “Cruising the Friesland Canals Pt 2”

    1. Thanks Deb, it was an amazing trip. It was amazing to see and we were in awe of how he managed to build it in such a small area of his attic!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Liesbet, let me know if you have been to Leeuwarden. Will be interesting to see what you captured. The planetarium was very thought provoking experience.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha. I have! Now I know why some of these places you visited in Friesland look and sound familiar, Suz… πŸ™‚ Leeuwarden had a lot of slanted buildings. For some reason, I didn’t totally remember which places we visited. And, this was only little over a year ago! I guess I’m traveling way too much these days, and too fast as well. Here is the link of my blog post about that long weekend up north we did, leaving from Belgium:

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Liesbet and I will read it when our lives are less hectic. Travelling at the moment. I know exactly what you mean about travelling too much. Here’s to a few longer housesits next year.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Even if it wasn’t working that solar system on the ceiling would be amazing! So very beautiful, I kind of want one for my own now. πŸ˜‰
    And I never knew about the baby potatoes being send to Malta, what a clever thing to do! πŸ˜„

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was Sam. The planetarium was amazing and we have enjoyed reading up more about after our visit. I am thinking even now there are still many people tinkering in their sheds or houses around the world!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We all thought how patient she must have been! I do wonder how much input she had in the development of it. She may have been up there in the loft with him instead of trying to sleep.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Good to hear πŸ™‚ They do require someone to have had boating experience. We did not have to prove this to the company. Though I not sure why anyone would hire one without experience, could be an expensive holiday if an accident happened. As you know its mooring the boat in wind that can cause a few anxious moments if the crew are inexperienced like myself. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Interesting but it’s the same when newbies hire boats in the Whitsundays. It’s incredible to me that they don’t need experience.
            What happens is the company gives them a 2-hour (sometimes more, sometimes less) rundown on the boat, how to sail, anchor, berth, work the 12-volt/electric system, gas, bilges, tides, winds, navigate, doge reefs, understand the Heads, and everything else that goes with cruising. After living up there for years, I’ve seen the outcome too many times of the 2-hour lesson! It’s not pretty and all I can say is the insurance premium must be huge!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, well we could have a lengthy conversation regarding insurance companies. Much research needs to be done before taking on anything that has a potential to be a financial liability.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tracey. I think you should consist a visit. They are quaint places to explore and seem easy to travel between by road and especially by boat. Let me know if you do, love to hear about it.


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