These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Monday, 21 April 2014

14th - 19th April. To the North Sea at Katwijk, blue pottery at Delft, through the outskirts of Rotterdam and up the river Rotte to Rottemeren.

In Holland there are houseboats everywhere, in a variety of different designs. The windmills are all marked on our charts and are a useful way of checking where we are.


It is cherry blossom time, which brings back happy memories of Japan.

We cruised up to within half a mile of the North Sea at Katwijk, mooring opposite the marina there.
A dam at the end keeps this lagoon from flowing on into the sea.

Having cycled to the beach, we found miles of sand. It was very quiet here.


However, the North Sea rollers were quite impressive.


Shannon has taken to the bike basket like a duck to water, enjoying watching the scenery.



These houseboats were both a contrast to ones seen earlier.

Some of the lift bridges are very attractive. This is in Rijnsburg. So far only one bridge has had to be lifted for us, as The Puzzler is low enough to go under them.


The barges are getting bigger!


Many of the waterside properties are very stylish.


This lock in Leidschendam is our first on the Dutch waterways.


These sculptures are beside the lock. More research is needed to find out about them!


The cherry blossom in Leidschendam comes in different colours!
On southwards to Delft, home of the famous blue pottery. This is a typical scene, with the waterway lined by two narrow streets. These streets are shared by cars, bicycles and pedestrians and can be hazardous!


In Delft it was market day, with at least fifty stalls in the market square in front of the town hall.
At the other end of the market square is the Nieuwe Kerk of Delft. This church was first built in 1393, but was burnt down in 1536, then destroyed in 1654 by the "Delft Thunderclap", as a gunpowder depot exploded. It was rebuilt in 1655 as it is today.
There are bicycles parked everywhere!
Inside the Nieuwe Kerk can be seen the Mausoleum of William of Orange, who was murdered in 1584. The mausoleum is made up of a variety of precious metals and stones, and is well worth a visit.
This great bluestone slab covers the entrance steps which lead down into the Royal Crypt. Since 1584 most members of the Dutch Royal family have been interred here.

Throughout the market could be heard organ music, and we eventually found the source of it.

While we were moored in Delft, this working barge found this quite a tight corner.

On leaving Delft we passed this container ship being loaded. He followed us along the canal for quite a long way, but did not catch up with us.


As we sail along the canals, all the landscape stretches away below us.
At Lagebergsebos we saw our first proper hill since arriving in The Netherlands. On it is a ski slope and sledging area.
We took a smaller canal to go round the outskirts of Rotterdam. Size of canals is mainly governed by bridge heights, rather than width, and we can manage a height of just over two metres, with the chimney and flagpole down. We ended up on the River Rotte, which led us to Rottemeren, this lovely lake which has very good woods and parks for dog walking.


We even found a farm animal centre, where Shannon was allowed in too.

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