MONDAY 11 JULY
There was no sleep in this morning as before we sailed we went on a canal boat tour of Amsterdam. We were to be ready to depart at 8.15am after a wonderful breakfast.
The best way to see Amsterdam is from the water. About a third of The Netherlands is below sea level, so managing water is a major part of their infrastructure. It was great to see the wonderful facades on such a nice day.
I was surprised at how old these buildings are. Quite a few are a bit lopsided where they have subsided into the spongy soil.
Of course there are lots of lovely old bridges as well.
Many people live in houseboats. We saw people sitting out on their decks enjoying a leisurely breakfast. What a life.
The many modes of transport available.
Another stunning bridge, although this one is fairly modern.
This bridge is only just wide enough for the barge.
There are bicycles wherever you look and the most amazing parking lots for them. Apparently they are always being stolen and they regularly have to clean lots of them out of the canals.
We started our sailing just before lunch on the Amsterdam Rhine Canal, which took us to the Rhine River. The countryside is flat but really pretty.
We traversed our first lock.
How it works is that the water level in the lock is lowered to the same as the canal, they open the doors and the boats going downstream sail out.
We, along with several other boats sail in.
They close the door behind us and fill it up with water to the higher level. Then they open the front door and we sail out and continue on our way. This is one of the bigger locks we went through. Most will be only wide enough for one boat, and some are quite a tight squeeze. We go through 14 all up.
After a while we made a turn and were on the Rhine River. The river is really busy with cargo boats. They carry all sorts of things – oil, coal, stones, dirt, shipping containers, you name it.
We enjoyed the afternoon lazing on the sundeck, watching the world go by.
After our six course dinner we went back up onto the sundeck to see this glorious sunset. Yes, could definitely get used to this.
We sail through the night tonight.