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.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

11th - 18th April 2015. Debbie joins us at the Bergen Bos. We move south in Holland to Zaanse Schans, Aalsmeer, Keukenhof and Avifauna.


Debbie joined us by bus at our mooring near the Bergen Bos, and we hired her a smart bike for an expedition through the wooded dunes.


With Debbie at the helm, Shannon took over the map-reading.


At Zaanse Schans, we moored in among these windmills. There is only room for one boat here. so we were lucky to find it free.


We looked round De Zoeker windmill, which is still used to crush peanuts to make oil.
We were delayed for two hours in Wormerveer by the police, because of this boat, which was threatening to sink. We heard later that foul play was suspected, and explosives were involved. The man had been killed and his partner was injured too. The body tent can be seen near to the bows of the boat, behind the police launch.

From Zaandam we went along the North Sea Canal, then turned south to skirt Amsterdam. A big barge is over on the other side, well away from us.
We came to one lift bridge which was closed for the two hours of rush hour, but we managed to squeeze under the slightly higher fixed span to its left. 1.88 metres is now our record low bridge!


An early start to get to Aalsmeer Flower auction soon after 7am. We came here on 19th May last year.

On to one of our favourite moorings on an island on the Kager Plassen lake, and an impressive sunset.



On Thursday we went on to visit Keukenhof, where Van Gogh was created out of hyacinths.


The bulb fields behind Keukenhof were the best ones we have seen this year. The tulips seem to be later than last year.

Dogs are allowed at Keukenhof, but not in the pavilions, such as the orchid display area. No-one official noticed Shannon, hiding in the rucksack!



Tulips come with all sorts of frilly petals.


Hyacinths and daffodils created lovely displays.


Most of the tulips in the outside beds are the smaller varieties this year.


The narcissi and tulips go well together.

From the Kager plassen, we bypassed Leiden, going through Leiderdorp, then left on to the Does waterway to moor at Hoogemade. This waterway only opened for the season yesterday. The skating sculpture is on the bridge there.

Vogelpark Avifauna, at Alphen a/d Rijn, is as impressive as ever. We were last here, at this bird park, about a year ago. This time we saw the pelicans being fed. There was great competition to see who caught each fish.


It felt strange to have a lori sitting on my head!


Debbie's lori was really greedy, not letting any others share.


Andy's lori thought his ear tasted good!
This parrot was one of a flock, which circled the arena to start the main display. He is enjoying the treat, which was the reward for his part in the display.


The free flying eagle was quite a contrast to the smaller birds.


The orange egret lookalikes flew in for the finale, while a crested crane joined in too.

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