Looking back with fond memories I am starting part three with the delightful Dokkum.
What we enjoyed most about this city was its terrific architecture and pretty canals with a few interesting shops to explore and purchase a small item or two to remember the area.
Before entering many of the cities and Dokkum being one of those, an entrance fee to the area is collected via a dangling clog. Uniquely Dutch!
What Dokkum it did have that others did not have in their city was a clock that chimed at 9.50 p.m. This was a reminder of the time when the Dokkum town ramparts, also known as the bulwarks, were closed. It was a form of a warning to the locals and those boaties that the gates of Hanspoort, Halvemaanspoort, Woudpoort and Aalsumerpoort were due to close in 10 minutes. To honour this tradition, the Dokkum town clocks chime at precisely 9:50 PM.
Then there are the musical bells, what a treat that was to listen to as we were capturing night photographs around the town. As I am unable to load up videos on my blog, head on over to my Instagram link to listen to the bells. If you happen to be in Dokkum on a Friday, the town carillonneur plays the carillon every Friday, from 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
The link is a featured video on FaceBook [Globalhousesitterx2], head on over to listen to the bell ringing: Bell Ringing in Dokkum
Not forgetting the iconic windmills. The best treat of all.
The place we moored was a cosy water sports village located between Leeuwarden and Drachten in the middle of the Alde Feanen National Park, a vast lowland marshland area, very popular with nature and water sports enthusiasts.
Arriving late afternoon we in the Friesland nature area, our visit meant an early evening walk. The next day we had the opportunity to visit the museum at the visitors’ centre “Geraakt. De Laatste Vlucht van Lancaster R5682”. It was very humbling to read the story of a few young men that tragically lost their lives in WW2. For more information: WW2 Lancaster bombers remembered
We had really no intention of staying in “Nature” for a night, due to the unpleasant relationship with the local mosquitoes. Well, three out of four of us did. Majority rules! Then there was the weather report that would overrule any mosquito issue.
A storm was approaching which we had an inkling of by just sticking our heads outside, with the howling wind and menacing clouds supporting the gloomy weather forecast.
This was another memorable place that we did not stay in though enjoyed exploring. What captured our attention pre-visit and on arriving was the collection of artwork in a paddock. Such an excellent way to showcase art, I did find a big difference in the standard that was being displayed. Which to be fair art really is a very personal preference!
Unfortunately, it became too difficult to view the art when the wind and showers became more persistent. From there we set off to explore the smallest city of all the 11. Hard to believe that it was given the status of “city” in the 1400’s and the population is around 700. Beautiful homes to admire as well as a windmill. What’s not to like?
The last of our cities to berth “Danielle” is situated between two lakes.
It was a Saturday afternoon, and similar to most places Sundays are slow with most businesses closed. There was one which we frequented twice. A cafe/takeaway, where we indulged in a snow freeze on a chilly afternoon. One of us had a craving, and it would have been rude not to join in. None of us regretted that decision that afternoon.
Later on, the next day saw us heading back to where we started, firstly, we had one last stop to take down the fountain in Stravron. Our first and last day were very similar in weather, both slightly wet and windy. This time I had opted out on that excursion and dealt with the packing, it did mean I had more time to wander around later at the marina taking those last reflective shots.
Some tips to ponder if hiring a boat to cruise the canals:
- CHECK that every component of the boat is in working order. Be thorough and try not to have the company representative rush you through that process.
- Take photographs before and after your trip. A safeguard if you do have an accident. By the way, we do this when hiring a car.
- Make sure that the basics are on board especially when you are first starting out nowhere near a supermarket. For example toilet paper and matches.
- A must we feel is to have an experienced skipper. This can not be emphasised enough. The company will just take your word for it that you do have experience. They, of course, will not lose out due to their insurance policies. The hiree will be the loser if an accident occurs.
- Be flexible in your route, due to weather conditions you will need to change your schedule. For example, if a storm is imminent, the boat needs to be in a sheltered position if you want any sleep.
- Negotiate with the company for items that you think should be included in the price.
- Have a list of items that are included at no extra cost in writing. Keep a paper trail of all correspondence.
- Know the rules of the waterways BEFORE you hire a boat.
- Practice those knots and keep increasing your speed. Speed matters when mooring and the wind is blowing.
- Join the local coastguard you will gain a wealth of knowledge.
To be realistic, you won’t remember everything that needs to be done or looked at as we didn’t, and luckily they were not issues that marred our enjoyment on the boat trip.
It is a unique part of the world that exceeded our expectations, as there was more than green paddocks to view as we cruised from one city to the next. Then there were the cities themselves which had each of us exclaiming it’s merits for one reason or another.
All in all, it was a brilliant boating adventure enjoyed with good friends.
If you missed Part One and Two, you might like to check the below links: