Monthly Archives: August 2016

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ― Anita Desai

MEDEMBLIK, then ENKHUISEN

Friday-Tuesday, July 29-August 3

Having gone bow-in through silty mud to rest at our mooring in Hindeloopen we now were backing out without the least bit of noticeable resistance (possibly our keel plowed a trench on the way in?). In this Disney-movie-set-of-a-town we had savored our time spent biking, walking, training (as in locomotives), and being with friends while meeting new ones.

Craving one last anchorage before we headed to Enkhuizen, we opted for a cove off a nature reserve, one our friend Thijs had suggested. We crossed the IJselmeer watching the depth as most of this large lake averages between 10-12 feet, a bit disconcerting when JUANONA draws six-and-a-half feet.

Our approach to our anchoring spot took us through three fleets of racing boats. We managed to snap some photos on the downwind leg of the race with colorful spinnakers puffed out like rounded bellies as the boats screamed through the water.

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Later we discovered we had landed next door to a Regatta Center hosting the World Championship of the “29er” class of boats. [If you want more info on those, please google as I’m completely ignorant of them except to know it takes two people–typically young and very fit (du-uh)–to sail one boat… the boats aren’t huge… they are fast… and, I’d love to be on one, as a passenger….]

As we entered the cove we slowly inched our way forward passing red-buoy markers, touching bottom once, until reaching a comfortable depth for anchoring.  Here we breathed a sigh of contentment as we gazed around, mentally sending thanks to Thijs for his recommendation of this pastoral anchorage.

For four days we stayed on the hook, rowing into the public dock for walks into town, scrubbing and waxing JUANONA’s hull and deck, and simply relishing being our own little island surrounded by nature. We even enjoyed hearing the thunder booms from an incoming storm, one of the few we’ve experienced this entire summer.

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Yesterday we pulled up anchor to sail the 10 miles to Enkhuizen where JUANONA will stay while we head home for a bit.

Our 2016 summer cruising may be coming to an abbreviated end, but with so many rich memories. Being in more populated regions than last summer, we saw numerous museums and other really fascinating cultural sites; and, of course, the wildness of Norway’s coastline and islands and the tamed beauty of the Netherlands captivated us.

Yet, the most memorable times involved the wonderful folk with whom we’ve had the pleasure of sharing time, even if only for a little while.

Paul and John, two Brits who were cycling to Prague and whom we met at Haarlem’s windmill demonstration
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Haarlem’s Downtown Coffee manager-owners Linda and Daren who kindly helped us register our Museumkaarts (unfortunately, no photo but may be possible in the near future)
Our guide at the Corrie Ten Boom Museum, who was a child here during WWII, and just radiated warmth and love
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Tara at a great hostel-inn, HELLO I AM LOCAL, where we hung out using their wifi while sipping coffee and beer at their cafe
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The wild and crazy crew we met in Amsterdam at the Liberation Day trivia quiz:  a German Couple, Ilse and Werner, and three, thirty-year-old locals who had grown up together, Erik, Ditske and Koen
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Fellow sailors, Henk and Kiki, whom we met tied along Hoorn’s town wall and who continue to send us helpful advice for navigating these Dutch waters (as well as later meeting his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren cruising at Vlieland when we were prepping for our Norway passage) and one of our wonderful nephews, Rudy
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Another fellow sailor, Thijs, his wife Deborah and young daughter Tika, whom we initially met in Hoorn and had the good fortune to meet up again in Hindeloopen
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Our “Belgium Family”–Ta, Koen, Seppe, Frieke, and Wannes–who made the trek over to see us along with Rudy
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The guys from Norway’s Rescue Organization, Redningsselskapet, docked behind us at our first port of call in Norway (Egersund) who gave Max a diesel additive (again, a missed opportunity for a photo)
Skudneshavn rafting neighbors on our third night in Norway:  two Norwegian lads, Lars and Oddbjoern, and two Brits, Judy and James
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A surreal, serendipitous meeting of a fellow Mainer, Paul, who later hosted us in his hometown, Stavanger
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There but for the kindness of strangers:  the guy who helped us fill up with diesel in Skudneshavn, using his credit card in case ours wouldn’t work
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The lovely Dutch couple who, along with us, were the only other non-Norwegians in the tour of the Barony Rosendal

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Marit and Even, a Norwegian cruising couple with whom we wish we had been able to share an anchorage
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And, because of Marit we met Irene in Bergen and had a delightful coffee break discussing her project resulting in a book, WORD BY WORD, ROW BY ROW
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Two lovely, wonderful people, Elisabeth and Gunnar of Os, who treated us like lifelong friends
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And, because of them we met Vibeke, who along with her husband Peter, runs a successful art gallery on the island of Lepsoy

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Hildegunn, our bus driver on the island of Sotra, who drove us to Televag when she knew we had to wait several hours for the next bus
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Dag, to whom we regrettably had to turn down his invite for coffee at his home but said we hope to change that to a ‘yes’ if back next summer
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Eoin from Ireland who also happens to be the OCC Port Captain in Stavanger and who made my tummy ache from laughing so much
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Max’s Norwegian Family–Oddbjoern, Bjoern, Sylvie, Antonia, and Kelly–who gave us a magical experience and a true appreciation for Max having family in Norway
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And, those we met upon our return to the Netherlands and, unfortunately, lack photographs:
Nick, our friendly neighbor at Vlieland Marina… Danielle and Henk who helped us with our lines docking at Hindeloopen (and gave the good advice of rev it up to get through the mud)… Kitty and Paul with whom we had fascinating conversations as well as plenty of laughs… Lena and Henk with whom we spent a wonderful evening soaking up their knowledge of cruising the Danish and Swedish coastlines… and, fellow OCCer, Peter, who graciously drove an hour to meet us today before we fly back to the states.

I’m not religious but I do appreciate what the universe may provide, and for all the human reasons above, we definitely feel ‘blessed’.

Thank you to all who made our 2016 summer aboard JUANONA so absolutely special.

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FYI:  The reason we’re stopping our cruising so early is due to a visa regulation. As non-residents we are juggling two restrictions dictated by the EU and Schengen, the latter being a treaty signed by the EU and Scandinavia.

In the UK US citizens are allowed to visit up to six months at a time. To reset the visa, you can do so by simply exiting the UK and then returning. This six-month visa allowance (and the ease to reset it) was one of the primary reasons for our staying in England these past two winters.

All Schengen countries (Scandinavia and all EU countries with the exception of the UK) restrict visitors to a total of three months out of six. Once you’ve spent a cumulative 90 days you must leave the Schengen area for three months before you can return for another three months (90 cumulative days). For long-term visitors, such as cruisers, the three-month restriction doesn’t allow a lot of time for slow traveling by boat, or for finding a place to winter aboard. However, it’s not as if the good ole’ US of A makes it easy for visitors either, so fair is fair.

On the other hand,  JUANONA isn’t affected by the Schengen treaty. And, she can stay for up to 18 months in the EU without paying the value-added-tax (V.A.T.). That V.A.T. exclusion can be reset by simply documenting entering the waters of a non-EU country. Thankfully, Norway isn’t in the EU, which is why these past two summers made it extremely easy to reset the tax exclusion. (Brexit will add an interesting twist to how non-UK cruisers and boats will be treated.) 

Anyhow, that’s what we juggle when determining where, when, and how long we cruise in certain areas over here. Now that I’ve tangled your mind up with that bureaucratic rope, I’ll stop nattering on.

 

Friesian Cruising (or “Frysan” cruising as the Frisians would say)

 FYI:  The parentheses state the place name spelt in the Frisian dialect, which even most Dutch outside of this area don’t understand.

VLIELAND

Friday-Thursday, July 15-21

We were back in familiar territory when we landed on Vlieland, one of the five Friesian Islands with the North Sea on one side and the Wadderzee on the other. We found a berth at the marina immediately, which was against all odds considering most summer boaters anchor outside the entrance, sometimes for several days, in hopes of replacing an exiting boat. The usual drill of cleaning bodies, boat, and clothes occurred along with a walk into the one-street town and a chance to sit on a wide open beach.

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Another reason we were lucky to get in was finding ourselves with two friendly neighbors, port- and starboard-side-to. We struck up a conversation with Nick, a Dutch sailor awaiting his family’s arrival; and, over the several days we stayed in the marina we had a pleasant time discussing boating and life in general.

Wanting to anchor out again, we left on Monday to head just to the west of the marina entrance. Calm waters and warm temperatures made for a smooth transition from berth to anchoring. Noticing that some boats used the sign of a black buoy raised at their bow to indicate they were anchored during the day (at night we use our anchor light locate atop our mast), we improvised with my sacrificing a black t’shirt over a round fender. It made for a humorous ‘buoy’.

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yet, it worked like a charm :)

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Over the next few days we caught up on some tasks and watched boats come and go. With Max reading the RIDDLE OF THE SAND based on this area of shoals created by wind and tide, we dinghyed close to one sandbar where the boats on the horizon appeared to be sitting on that sandbar.

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Wednesday we awoke to a forecasted wind of 20 knots causing us to now and then check our position relative to other boats and the channel. With high winds against the strong current flowing around this island, our chart plotter drew a picture of our twirling around.

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Thursday morning we set off on a rising tide to make the 20-mile trek across the Wadderzee and through the dyke to Hindeloopen, a small town on the east side of the Ijsselmeer, Netherlands’ large lake, which use to be the Zuiderzee (South Sea). The North Sea pushing itself over sandy land barriers caused this Zuiderzee to form, and after a major flood in 1916, the dream of reclaiming land and stopping the devastating floods became more of a reality. Between 1927 and 1932 the Zuiderzee was sealed off by the Afsluitdijk (Barrier Dyke) which allowed land to be reclaimed.

It was this dyke we had exited in mid-June and now we retraced our steps only to screech to a halt once we saw the line-up of boats. To enter the IJsselmeer requires first a bridge opening then transiting through a lock, each with their own waiting area. What a zoo! It was quite something to jockey for position, either rafting alongside a fellow boater who had arrived earlier or freewheeling around in the waiting area.

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Good practice, though, for how to spot an optimal rafting opportunity (which we did waiting for the bridge to open) and how to mill around while avoiding other milling-around boats (which is what we did waiting for the lock to open). Finally, our turn came for squeezing into the lock where you instantly make acquaintances as everyone holds onto everyone else’s boat to help out.

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In speaking with other boaters they said the crowds are primarily due to it being close to turn-over time for charters as well as being high season for summer vacations. A nice tidbit to stash away for planning future cruising.

HINDELOOPEN (HYLPEN)

Thursday-Monday, July 21-25

Pulling into Hindeloopen we were greeted by Danielle and Henk, a Dutch couple who had heard about an American boat coming into a slip next to them. When we started to slowly move into the slip Danielle all of a sudden said ‘you’ll need to gun it to get in’. Rightly so as we plowed through soft, silty mud the last ten feet coming to an easy stop. One of the easiest and calmest docking experiences we’ve had this summer. Nothing like planning on going gently aground.

And, what a treat to be here! Not only due to feeling we were sitting in the epitome of a quaint Dutch town, a perfect movie set for a Disney film,

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but also because we were hoping to have a reunion with our friends whom we had met last May when moored along side Hoorn’s town wall:  Thijs, Deborah, and Tika.

And, we happily did! Resulting in taking a biking trip to the next town north, Warkum (Workum). With perfect cycling weather, the five of us met at the marina office to pick up bikes. It’s also where I took a snapshot of Tika’s marvelous silver sneakers:

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Then we were off for the day, led by our Dutch friends who took us along the route through polders (reclaimed land now farmed) and past old markers indicating town lines no doubt established many centuries ago. And, how we enjoyed being out and about! I think the smiles are an accurate reflection of our spirtis :)

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A lovely cafe along the canal made for the perfect al fresco lunch

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included a much-needed lesson in how to pronounce some Dutch words thanks to Tika’s prompting.

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This was followed by a designated stop at the Jopie Huisman Museum, a local artist born in this Friesian town.

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Jopie Huisman (1922-2000) isn’t an artist I had heard of, but that’s not surprising considering my lack of background in art. What is surprising, though, is not having heard of this particular artist. What a wonderful gift Deborah, a talented artist herself, Thijs, and Tika gave us by bringing us to this museum. Eleven, small gallery rooms encapsulated the life of this Friesian artist, and by room two I couldn’t help but smile and wish I had had a chance to know such a human being.

Both Max and I were really moved by this artist’s art and philosophy. Reputedly he never sold any of his painting but gave some away to those he felt deserved them. He made enough of income from collecting and selling rags and metal to support his painting. By gazing at his work, though, one feels he so easily could have sold them. Just look at this amazingly detailed replicas of the Frisian ‘uniform’ of striped-blue overalls (1975).

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Jopie believed the tools and dress of one’s daily life become imbued with that person’s spirit; and in his paintings, he tenderly depicted the most mundane items with care and dignity. One was a pair of women’s wool undershirt and stockings (1983). Out of respect for this women’s knitting, he counted each stitch to ensure he accurately reflected the amount of work required to produce these garments.

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Interestingly, the museum also held and displayed many of the actual items Jopie painted, this woman’s undergarments being one of them.

Some would call these still life paintings, but for Jopie, they were anything but ‘still’ life. And, as we wandered through this small museum, beautifully laid out, we were seduced by the artist’s skill and devotion to the person who wore those overalls or held that doll (1976).

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(Just a side note, Deborah, who herself is a very talented artist, told us her grandmother had had a similar doll, one made during the depression resulting in stones used for heads. On Sundays Deborah was allowed to play with it and now she has the very same doll for Tika.)

Jopie would always credit the individual whose items he was painting by including the owner’s name in each work’s title. He felt most at home with the hard-working locals, those described as ‘without status’ by our audio guides.

Jopie didn’t only paint man-made items. Some of his earlier and later works depict the landscapes in wonderful colors and simple lines such as this one from 1993.

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as well as portraits. This is one of his father painted in 1951 right after Jopie’s mother died, a woman loved dearly by both men. Jopie later recounted that this was the exact way his father stood for many minutes, trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife.

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At the end of our tour I was left with the feeling of how I wish I could have sat in the presence of this man, watching him work or just listening to his conversations.

Back on our bikes we headed for a beverage break in the main square, followed by a grocery stop, and the sighting of some unusual tents

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before returning home to Hindeloopen. A wonderful day spent with wonderful friends.

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With biking in our system Max and I decided to do another day of touring on Sunday. Deciding on a counterclockwise route we followed the dyke south to Stavoren, the tip of a peninsula, then cut east to Mirns and north back to Hindeloopen. More opportunities presented themselves for ‘here-we-are-in-Holland’ shots, with Max managing to capture a perfect illustration of just how it looks along these canals.

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LEEUWARDEN (LJOUVERT) & FRANEKER (FRENJENTSJER)

Tuesday & Thursday, July 26 & 28

With a 1-km walk to the train station (really a platform, shelter and ticket machine), we hopped the train for a 45-minute ride to Leeuwarden, the capital of the Friesian province we’ve been wandering through.

Now a large city with modern buildings there was an area featuring historical structures, one being the Oldehove, a tower built in 1529. After 30-feet of construction the building started a very noticeble tilt. They decided to continue building in spite of the leaning, finishing it off at roughly 130 feet in1533.

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Two museums interested us, one being just across this plaza from the leaning tower of Leeuwarden. The Kerimiekmuseum Princesshof (Princesshof National Museum of Ceramics) was housed in the small palace of Marie Louis, dowager Princess of Orange, who purchased her home in 1731.

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Much beloved during her life, Marie Louise, called Marijke Meu or Aunt Mary, began collecting ceramics, which later became the foundation of this museum. Now, it includes an impressive array of eastern and western vases, pots, cups and saucers, platters and sculpted figures.

We couldn’t help but think of our ceramist friend Rebecca Esty wondering what she would think of this historical perspective. She also could have enlightened us on the importance of various glazes, etc., which would have enriched our viewing.

The next museum, the Fries Museum, a modern structure opened in 2013, required two days of touring (multiple visits is one of the benefits of holding a Museumkaart), which we realized after finding the exhibits much more interesting than originally anticipated.

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What was so appealing about the curating was the use of over 100 artifacts to tell the story of the area’s history. For instance, there was a large room with four different display areas, each one holding 15-30 items with detailed explanations available in a self-guided tour booklet.

At first glance both of us thought ‘ho-hum, here we go…’ only to be drawn into the individual stories per artifact.

For instance…

They believe they found proof of honor killing when a knife with a silver coins attached was discovered:  revenge was exacted in the biblical sense, including a murder-for-a-murder; if revenge occurred, the weapon would be left at the scene along with some silver coins to compensate for taking revenge.

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Another artifact showcased pages from a book written by a minister, Francis Haverschmidt (1835-1894), in the mid-1800s. Wanting to teach the fundamentalists that the Bible shouldn’t be taken literally, Haverschmidt penned a make-believe story about Frisian culture. The book was supposed to be discovered as an ancient text, so he aged the paper and fabricated an ‘ancient’ Frisian language involving runic script.

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He planned for the tale to reveal itself as a practical joke while being read, using this as a lesson for his parishioners not to take everything literally. However, Haverschmidt was such a good writer just the opposite happened:  it was taken as genuine after attracting a lot of attention. Since the joke had gone too far, Hamerschmidt felt it was best to remain silent, and it wasn’t until 2004 that a researcher reconstructed the chain of events and uncovered the truth.

History told through regional artifacts made for a fascinating walk through this room, which easily took us almost two hours. So, we ended up returning on Thursday to view the WWII exhibit.  Another exhibit was a brief glimpse of a local’s life:  Gertrud Margarete Zelle, better known as “Sun” in Malaysian or Mata Hari, the seductress who was shot for treason during WWI.

I also couldn’t help but take a photo of an exhibit featuring the history of knitting, with some interesting lanterns dangling over one of the wide staircases. Made me think of Irene whom we met in Bergen this summer and her lovely book, WORD BY WORD, ROW BY ROW.

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But, before we returned to our second day of touring the Fries Museum we took the morning train to Frankeker (Frenjentsjer), a small Frisian town, where the world’s oldest working planetarium exits.

The genius who created this planetarium and the beauty in which he did so means you don’t need to know astronomy or even be interested in that science to appreciate his work.

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Named for the man who constructed it, this planetarium was carefully and exactingly created by Eise Eisinga (1744 – 1828), a woolcomber by trade and a mathematician by hobby.

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Beginning in 1774 and completed seven years later, Eisinga transformed his living room (and sleeping area as can be seen by the curtained, cupboard bed chamber) into a solar system. For over 235 years visitors have been coming come to gaze at this work, mesmerized, as were we, by the slowly ticking of the dials as planets accurately revolved around the sun and the sun and moon phases kept actual time with nature. Even Kings were impressed by this humble tradesman’s work:  after King Wilhelm I’s visit in 1817, he later purchased and donated it to the country.

Eisinga left a detailed handbook explaining how it all operated; and, above the living room we saw the behind-the-scences mechanisms controlling the wonder below. 10,000 hand-made nails formed the cogs…

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What I also enjoyed was the reason why he created his planetarium:  it was to counter the 1774 doomsday prediction caused by planets colliding. And, that was the impetus for this marvelous work of art. Furthermore, very few adjustments need to be made it is that perfectly tuned to the universe. Hard to imagine in this day of planned obsolescence.

Another stop in Leeuwarden and the Fries Museum ended our day of touring.

HINDELOOPEN (HYLPEN)

Friday, July 29

The next morning we left Hindeloopen to cross back to the other side of the Ijsselmeer where we’d be ending our summer cruise. But, before I leave this blog, I want to let you know, once again, the best reasons for traveling are the wonderful folk we’ve been meeting.

In addition to our friends Thijs, Deborah and Tkia, we met Kitty & Paul with whom we had several wonderful conversations covering topics as diverse as the widow of the Shah of Iran to artificial intelligence and singularity; and, Lena and Henk who spent over an hour with us identifying highlights of cruising in Denmark and Sweden (augmented by some amazing photos Lena had taken). We only wish we had had more time with all of the above. Fortunately, they all reside in the Netherlands, which means reunions could take place.

AND, two more lovely reminders of just how much we enjoyed are stay in Friesland:

Deborah’s drawing of Hindeloopen

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and Tika’s excellent instruction to aid my trying to speak Dutch.

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Now, to practice. Just wish I had my teachers to correct me :)

Next… an early end to summer cruising.