Almere - Zeewolde

Still in Almere we spotted the first swifts/martins/swallows this year, playing around our little ship. This one preferred to sit on top of our anchor-light for a while. ‘One single swallow does not bring summer yet’ is a Dutch proverb. We sincerely hope this one does – as there has been not a lot of summery days this year. (Our camera focused on the trees in the background. Apart from the fact that one must be quick we have no idea whatsoever how to change the, fully automatic, focus.)

After overstaying one night (no-one checks) we left Almere’s Noorderplassen on Thursday the 11th of May at 9:30AM and re-entered the Hoge Vaart. As someone pointed out later to us the light was very bright that day. This picture, made around 10:00AM, with a stunning view from the canal across the Noorderplassen towards Almere-Stad, proves this point.

Half an hour later we passed Almere’s single houseboat-community, most of them being converted historic ships and adequately named (‘Vertrouwen’, ‘Anna Cornelia’) too.

We planned to visit De Groene Kathedraal (see and moored right in front of it at 11:12AM. We had noticed a road close to the opposite bank but no assumption beforehand of its loudness. Sometimes one must suffer a little bit…

De Groene Kathedraal as seen from the air. © Siebe Swart. Without an aerial view it’s too difficult to show what it is all about. We were moored at the pontoon that is just visible in the left-lower-corner of the picture.

The ‘positive’ cathedral as seen at ground level from the outside.

  • Light

    The ‘positive’ cathedral as seen on the inside. The shape...

  • Shadow

    ...of the cathedral is based on Reims’s cathedral in France.

The ‘negative’ cathedral, on the inside as well. One really needs a bird’s view to appreciate it all.

  • Looking left

    The (fairly recently formed) province of Flevoland offers a load of cycle-paths – and some exercise is good for people of all ages,...

  • Looking right

    ...especially ours! So we unfolded our bikes and started exploring the area. As one can see spring offers loads of new leaves and flowers alike.

A buzzard (we think) posed patiently for us, offering an opportunity not to be missed. The well-known bird of prey seems to try to understand what prey the agricultural machinery can create for him/her. Lazy animal? (Or maybe: economical!)

Flevoland, the former Zuiderzee/IJsselmeer surely, is as flat as a pancake. This, of course, offers the possibility of creating green energy by erecting huge windmills – not being the old fashioned flour-producing ones. In the centre of this picture some seven in-line are visible, creating a strange effect when looking at them.

  • Dead straight

    The cultivated fields are looking like this. Amazing! Light and shadow again play a prominent part. From a distance we noticed a monument(?) in the middle of a huge cultivated field. Curious as we are we walked towards it, expecting it to be a spot where, after reclaiming the land, a wreck of a WWII airplane was discovered.

  • Puzzling monument

    On approach we determined the on top erected thing to be a sort of boat(?). One of us climbed the little elevation, braving the knee-high grass and flowers. Alas, no explanation whatsoever – and there was not a soul available to explain. It must be of some value though, since a thrifty Dutch farmer obviously respects this piece of soil.

With the second picture we already stated the light on this day was bright. Well, only a few minutes before 9:00PM this picture was made, making full use of the evening light. The result is great, we think, and the passing eight a bonus. (As seen from the rear of our ship.)

The noise of the road next to the opposite bank made our decision to leave an easy one. We started the engine at 10:35AM on Friday the 15th of May to cruise to?? We’ll see… On the way, around noon, we noticed a mini-flock of lovely ponies, seemingly escaped from a meadow, as this is a public space with a cycle-path. Naughty animals! And entirely adorable at the same time. No harm done, Flevoland is a biker- and horse/pony-friendly province. Someone, no doubt, will have collected them all later that day.

We decided to enter a side-canal (Groenewoudse Tocht), thus cruising towards Zeewolde. According to our map a detour through Zeewolde is possible; at the end (for us that is) the Hoge Vaart can be rejoined again. Our map also suggested some 5 or 6 possibilities to moor near/in Zeewolde. A local boater explained to us that the through-route is still under construction and that we are forced to turn if we want to rejoin the Hoge Vaart. So a unique fact happened to us: we do have a map that is not behind, but ahead of the facts!! The only space we found in Zeewolde is the one as shown by this picture. We switched off the engine at 13:00PM. The space almost seems to be made especially for us.

  • Not exactly

    Our backside (‘kont’) sticks out almost two meters.

  • Almost

    The front of the boat is not too far away from where a ‘bang’ would be inevitable.

The last time we topped up, rather: refilled, our voluminous water-tank was on the 25th of April in Huizen. Yesterday, the 13th of May (that is over 2,5 weeks later) we discovered a hose in the backyard of the adjacent house. We approached the owner of the ho(u)se and asked him whether he was prepared to connect his hose to ours and let us take in the water we needed – a reasonable fee being part of the deal. The hoses were indeed joined after which our temporary neighbour opened his tap. It took about two hours(!) to refill. Water-wise speaking we are safe again for at least the coming two weeks.

Also yesterday we decided to have a walk into the centre of Zeewolde, for sightseeing, a cup of coffee somewhere and to do some shopping. Our photo-camera was with us but we did not see anything interesting enough to share with you. Having said that the red blossoming chestnut trees in the park looked lovely, making it worth to take a picture after all.

While creating our weekly blog this floating ‘something’ was passing us. In the past we’ve seen the most ingenious floating constructions – the Henley Regatta springs to mind. Admittedly this one is in the same league – although having an outboard engine which is prohibited in Henley. It’s easy to put it away, though, making it an outstanding floating something for any event. (We have always wondered: what about a toilet when nature calls?? An evergreen-subject among boaters, by the way.) See you soon, we hope.