Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sail 2010 Amsterdam: Day 2

My last post was Day 1 of Sail 2010 here in The Netherlands, starting first in IJmuiden on the west coast and ending up in Amsterdam on the east coast. Here's the map again (click to enlarge):

You may recall that we decided to spend our entire first day in IJmuiden and NOT take the time and energy to also go into Amsterdam, 24 km away. We saved that for the next day, Friday, 20 August. And that's what this post is about.

Part of our package deal from the Holiday Inn was a round-trip fast-flying ferry from IJmuiden to Amsterdam on the North Sea Canal:

At speeds up to 65 kph, it took only half an hour each way. What a way to go! There was no way we would drive into Amsterdam and try to find a reasonable parking spot, as though it would even be possible!

The fast-flying ferry dropped us off at the dock behind Amsterdam's central train station, right in the middle of all the action. Since we wanted to see all the tall ships in one "swell foop," we were in the right place at the right time. The only disappointment was that once again, as in IJmuiden, the sails were not unfurled. However, by seeing only the skeletons, we probably saw more of what was really there. And by coming in off the water, instead of through town, we avoided some of the crowd.
They say at least 1.3 million people visited over the weekend.

Some of the crowd. HA! The crowd on the water was almost as bad. I wonder how many near-accidents were avoided that weekend!

Can you tell how totally mesmerized I am by the masts and sails and ropes and flags of boats! And see what a beautiful day it was!

As Astrid would say, we were "short of eyes" to see everything in front of us that day.
And, sad but true, I am now also short of my Tilley hat that blew off in a gust of wind and landed on the top of a sight-seeing tourist boat while we were standing on a bridge over it. If I had been thinking, I would have taken a picture of it. Thank God it was at the end of the day when I no longer needed its protection from the sun. I had to laugh about it...a memory I'll not soon forget. Someone got a good hat, unless it's still floating somewhere on the IJ river there in Amsterdam.

One of the goals for Day 2, after walking up and down the riverside to see all the sights, was to mosey on over to the Prinsengracht (the outer canal of Amsterdam's 4 in city center) where at 1 p.m. would start the Pieremachocheltocht (even the organisation isn't sure what the word means--a parade of carnavalesque floating creations open to anyone.)

As we left Centraal Station on foot, we started passing everything that had been familiar to me for the two years when Donica and I had lived half of every month in Amsterdam. Happy memories in image....

The Centraal Station alone is an architectural masterpiece. At Dom Square Madame Tussaud overlooks all the tourists who gawk at the mimes. The pedestrian streets are lined with myriad shops selling their wares. The restaurants and cafés...would you eat in a café where you saw a cat napping on one of the tables?

By the time we got to the Prinsengracht canal, just 2-3 blocks from our old apartment, we found a cozy spot in an abandoned boat where we had a perfect vantage point for this crazy carnival of "anything that floats." It was the one thing Astrid was so eager to share with me. One by one they came:

First came the Inspection boat of the BBA (BinnenwaterBeheerAmsterdam), followed by the Police and the Fire Brigade. Yes, especially in fun, on the water, you need control.

Then came the fun:

Yes, that would be the Flintstones.

The lower left boat was run by a car engine...and revved up to make the sound of a sports car as it came by.
The bottom right image was run by a tractor's engine, turning paddle wheels!

Does college frat-house humor ever change from age to age or differ from country to country?
I guess not!

It didn't take long...maybe an hour and not as many "floats" as I expected, but it was totally worth the fun. Here's a YouTube that puts it in motion:

At the end of this "carnival on the canal," it was time to take the fast-flying ferry back to IJmuiden to pick up our car and drive the 94 km (59 miles) home. But one last thing:

As almost an after-thought, Astrid mentioned that her father was cremated at the cemetery in Driehuis just 2 km from our parked car. I didn't have to say much to convince her I wanted to see the place, even though his ashes had been spread over the North Sea via airplane. His father before him had been a captain of a Merchant Navy ship...before, during and after WW the sea was in his blood.
He died in 1981 when Astrid was 27.

And so, as we started our trip at the North Sea, we also ended it there in memory of Dré Wijdekop.
May he rest in peace.

That, my friends, was Sail 2010 Amsterdam. Enough excitement to last a couple of weeks...which it did, since we rested at home the entire next weekend. You can see why I made 2 posts of it!

Oh...and lest I forget, today is my turn again at Vision and Verb...on Always Looking Up and Mercury Retrograde. :)


  1. Thank you for allowing me to travel along with you! I truly admire your photography and zest for life. And I am quite taken with the wind mills and water towers. Can't wait for the "show and tell" posts on them. I'll stay tuned. Thank you for all your diligence.

  2. I love these urban scenes, Ginnie. They are so full of life, and through your photos I can almost hear the street noise, the sound of the boats, the laughter and music. Wonderful!!

    The parade of floats was hilarious - it is said that while humour changes and matures as children grow up, potty humour never leaves us.

    I was intrigued by a little mention of once living half-time in Amsterdam. You've had a previous Dutch life?

  3. Looking at your ship skeletons, I thought of how much I love trees in winter, bare of their leaves, just in their bones. And knowing you as I do, I understand why you would love to see all that rigging. Delicious details!

    That flotilla of everything but the kitchen sink (or was there one?) is hilarious! Who could possibly stay home when there are such sights to be seen? It makes you think of what might float, just to join that parade.

    I really love Astrid's saying "short of eyes." It reminds me of a Rumi poem I read recently, with these lines:

    . . . I am bewildered by the magnificence
    of your beauty
    and wish to see you
    with a hundred eyes . . .

    How very special and important that you were able to visit the cemetery where Astrid's father was cremated. Wow, he passed when she was so young! Peter's age now.

  4. I like travelling with fast-flying ferry, in Greece they call it "flying dolphins" and it is a correct name for me:) The port scenes are amazing

  5. Looking at these wonderful pictures again shows we had a few wonderful days, the day in Amsterdam was wonderful, I was glad we could take the free city ferry in Amsterdam to see the boats from close and move around some faster than walking.
    The Pieremachocheltocht, that was fun, to see all the humour and fun, to have our lunch on that boat and a grand view.
    Going to the cemetery was good, I had never been back since and to see it again with more mature eyes, I now can say, yes it is good, may he rest in peace, the peace he deserves.
    Thank you MLS for this wonderful birthday gift, another wonderful memory added.

  6. Margaret: You're a sweetheart for stopping by and commenting. Thank you kindly!

    Deborah: This was a very fun series for me, as you can imagine. There was so much to Astrid says, we were "short of eyes." And yes, you are right: potty humor never leaves us! Sad but true. :D More on the previous Dutch life in an e-mail....

    Ruth: Yes, we like the same thing when it comes down to the bare bones of a situation, sister. I love it.

    As far as I know, there was no kitchen sink...just the bathroom toilet! I'm surprised no one has come up with that because it would bring a great laugh.

    Astrid's "short of eyes" is just one of many Dutch expressions that tickles me to no end. I laugh every day over such things. They make my world go 'round. :)

    And yes, I felt a connection to Astrid's past by going to the cemetery. She WAS young...and so was he.

    Ola: Those fast ferries save so much time. What would we do without them! Thanks for stopping by again.

    Astrid: We have so many wonderful memories of those two days, mijn vrouw. We are constantly seeing things through each other's eyes, as it should be. I am glad I could share the cemetery with you, as a time of remembrance, even though I never met your dad. It was good for us both. Happy Birthday. It was a gift to and for both of us!

  7. Amazing festival. I love the tall ships, I find them so fascinating! I would really love to do this someday.

  8. I adore that saying "short of eyes"! I'm constantly finding myself in that state but never had a term for it!! Tell Astrid thank you for such a clever phrase!

    While I love the tall ships, the small crazy pleasure crafts capture my heart and tickle my funny bone for sure! What a crack up!

  9. sensory overload! but wow! too many things too see in one day.

  10. I can understand “short of eyes” as I felt it too when we were in Oslo. What a fun time you had in Amsterdam and we can see it through all your pictures. When I came back I had over 600 posts to read so I am slowly going through them. I read each one of yours. We had to go to Tennessee to help daughter no. 2 move in and next week we go to Savannah, so I don’t know when I’ll be finished reading posts and by then there will be more - but I love reading them and would not want to miss any of yours. We were in the Amsterdam airport on Sunday Aug 22 for 2 hours. I thought about calling you but I did not have your tel. no. I did buy some good chocolate and some of the liquor I can only find in Holland and I use it in my jams (but I had to place it in my suitcase at the international arrival here in Atl. – the worst airport it is for international arrivals.) I like your picture of the 3 crew guys in their orange tee-shirts.

  11. Lovely post as usual, and great pics!! And finally you take a weekend to relax... What a great report with so much info!!!

  12. When I visited this web writeup dealing with a Travel Advisory Warning about Naples Italy, I figured Ginnie Hart fans really should review this!

  13. A feast for the eyes! You were so wise, and so was Holiday Inn for offering it, to ferry into A'dam instead of trying to find parking.

    The collage of the mast skeletons is superb! I hope at least some of those ships will come to San Francisco's tall ship brigade.

    This parade reminds me of the Gay Parade we chanced upon when we visited A'dam in summer of '09. The atmosphere exuded unbridled joy in every direction.

    That boat that looks like a giant "klomp" cracks me up.

    The video was a super treat to watch! I enjoyed listening to the interview with the recycling boaters.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your Tilly hat; I can see why Astrid was so upset. They are such a great company. I wonder if they will send you a discount coupon if you send them the links to the posts where you praised them. You are giving them free advertising :-)

  14. Dear Ginnie, to be honest, you have photos and details here for more than 10 posts.
    I tell you why;
    I was not there. Have never seen what you so wonderfully have captured with your camera and told in your own words.
    And, in my age, I need time to take into my mind what you have experienced and as well go back behind the scenes to study further.

    We have photos and memories from our visit to Holland August 2009, not yet posted. And from Turkey.
    I even have waiting until now posting from our previous tours to Latin America - every time I create these posts - It's along memory lane...
    Have you seen my Travel Blog?
    (sorry it's written in Norwegian)

    This Fall we will go to France in Week 40 and to Austin Week 49. Besides we believe, to Germany a weekend in end of October (Leander 1 year)

    Tor and Anna

  15. Loved the boat pictures - definitely some creativity and fun there.