Leeuwarden (Ljouwert) – Offingawier (Offenwier)

For several reasons the city of Leeuwarden (Ljouwert) was only visited briefly on Sunday and left behind on Monday the 28th of August at 12:25PM, after having said goodbye to our visitor. We planned to use a free mooring this time, as the length of our little ship (18 meters – 60 feet) results consequently in high mooring fees– when fees are due, typically in towns and cities. A collaboration, called Marrekrite exists in the province of Friesland (https://www.marrekrite.frl/varen/ - it’s possible to download a folder in English), offering free moorings. All the Marrekrite-spaces are easily recognizable by a sign as visible here. Most of the time the maximum allowed period to stay is 3 days.

We stopped at 2:50PM at the first of three Marrekrite-spaces opposite a village called Hempens (Himpens) on a wide water.

The weather had been gorgeous for a longer period - just for the period we’ve had visitors, lucky us! That changed on Wednesday the 30st of August, after the weather-forecast on Tuesday already informed the Dutch population that the next day would be ‘the end of summer’. Well, right they were. It was a horrible day weather-wise speaking, with high winds and loads of rain.

  • Sunrise

    Autumn gradually kicks in, resulting in this type of sunrise (29-08-2017)...

  • Sunset

    …and this type of sunset (31-08-2017), both still opposite of Hempens/Himpens.

We left Hempens/Himpens on Friday the 1st of September (yes, we overstayed 1 day – shame on us) – having hand-cleaned, using rigid brushes, most of our dirty roof when weather conditions allowed for it. The engine was started at 9:50AM. To give you an idea of the interesting/funny/unpronounceable names of the waters we passed on the way, here we go: Langdeel (start), Wergeaster Feart, Eagumer Djip, Kromsleatsrak, Koldykster Rak, Pomprak, Neare Galle and Wide Galle. We must admit we’d completely fail in a quiz. One can take pictures wherever one looks, it’s all so pretty! Take this meadow, containing a flock of sheep and Leeuwarden (Ljouwert) in the background.

When approaching our next planned destination we passed a long row of houseboats, all very well protected and maintained, each with a considerable piece of land (not visible here). One always thinks ‘I’d like to live here’, then realizing that it’s sometimes quite remotely situated. Items like reachability, transport, help, shopping etc. spring to mind.

How lucky can one be? We reached Grouw (Grou) at a moment that the extremely popular quay in the centre of this lovely village was unoccupied over a length of some 35 meters (over 115 feet). The name of this water, by the way, is Riochte Grou. Arriving with us at the same time was a second ship. That one moored first and moved backwards as much as possible, thus creating just enough space for us. Our little ship was skillfully moved into the available gap – by the female part of the two of us, that is. The engine was switched off at 11:50AM. We are back on our ‘normal’ pace, in this case two hours of cruising.

This is normal in Friesland. Old sailing barges passing, this time next to our mooring space in Grouw. This is, see the ‘G’, unmistakable the Grou-skûtsje. Skûtsje is the Frisian word for Dutch schuitje – English (little) barge, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skûtsje. There’s an annual competition, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skûtsjesilen. Very traditional! We have seen loads of Dutch-built ships abroad, giving the impression that The Netherlands got rid mostly of its immense fleet. Well, we concluded that the fleet of all types of ships/boats is still immense! (And the Dutch have kept the nicest ones for themselves.)

Unlike Leeuwarden (Ljouwert) we had a walk in Grou(w). This is the village’s old church, Sint-Pieterkerk, in Frisian Sint-Pitertsjerke (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_church_of_Grou), though more informative in Dutch or Frisian) dating back to the first halve of the 13th century.

  • Streetviews…

    Just randomly taken.

  • …of pretty Grou(w)

    Commenting superfluous.

  • More streetviews…

    People obviously still live in seemingly utter peace…

  • …of enchanting Grou(w)

    …far from the bustling cities we tend to consider ‘the norm’.

After the described enjoyable walk and having taken in all the (drinking)water we could we, reluctantly, left Grou(w) on Saturday. When on the wide, busy (mainly pleasure boats – loads of them) Prinses Margrietkanaal we passed the motorway A32 (aquaduct) and the railway Leeuwarden (Ljouwert)-Zwolle (viaduct), situated next to each other. The railway-bridge opens regularly, to make it possible for ships with (a) high mast(s) to continue cruising. We find it fascinating that this swingbridge-system as part of a busy railway works flawlessly.

Around 1:50PM we entered the large Sneekermeer (Snitser Mar). There’s sailing activity all over the place. Obviously a skûtsjesilen-contest was going on. Disciplined as we are we continued cruising on the right-hand side of the buoyed waterway.

At 2:10PM we found a mooring space -again at a free Marrekrite-spot- on the lake Grutte Potten, close to Offingawier (Offenwier), next to the Houkesleat, the latter leading into Sneek (Snits). When looking real hard some buildings of Sneek (Snits) are visible in the far background.

The last picture for this week, being the view from our little ship towards Sneek (Snits) yesterday, Saturday, at 8:46PM. Peaceful, on the water as well as above it. Tomorrow, Monday, we’ll enter Sneek (Snits) to pick the train back to Leeuwarden (Ljouwert) in order to pick up a rented car for a few days (the renting, not the picking up). Bye bye for now.