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September 2013 - USA, Germany, Netherlands

Netherlands | North Holland | Groningen | Standing mast route

Sepember 24, 2013

Hi Family and Friends, We left Delfzijl, NL early Mon and enter into the canal in light fog. The first lock and bridge was just .5nm from Neptunus Marina so we never got far from shore or lost in the fog:-) This section of the canal to Groningen is mostly farmland with lots of cows, sheep and horses. Very green and very pretty. We only passed through one small village before arriving in Groningen. The canals completely circle the Old Town. These canals use to be the moat beneath the walled city of the 1400's. The walls are gone but the canals keep the city enclosed in a circle.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Groningen | JH Oosterhaven | Artemis tied alongside

We tied alongside a small harbor JH Oosterhaven and were in a great location for exploring the city.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Groningen | St. Anthony Gasthuis - old court house

We followed the city walking tour on our bikes. Groningen is a University town with over 25,000 students walking and riding bikes. Very few cars are allowed in the city so everyone is on foot or bike. Bike parks and bike racks are everywhere. We visited several Hospices. These old compounds for the sick are now clusters of 25-30 individual houses with beautiful interconnecting courtyard gardens. You enter the hospice/compound through what appears to be an ordinary door from the street.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Groningen | University of Groningen

In 1614 the second university in Netherlands was established in Groningen in former monastery building. Lots of shopping, restaurants, businesses on narrow cobbled streets in Hanseatic buildings from Medieval times. Beautifully restored, gorgeous brick work and flowers and trees everywhere. St. Joseph's Cathedral is quite magnificent. We rode around for over 3 hours loving every minute exploring this spectacular city!

Netherlands | North Holland | Groningen | Hospice courtyard gardens

Tuesday we visited two museums. We purchased Museum Cards that will give us free entrances into over 400 Netherlands Museums.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Groningen | Groninger Museum

The first being the Groninger Museum. We were told to visit more for the unusual Gaudi type designed pavilions than the exhibits. The "F... 2" exhibit included 37 contemporary Chinese artists whose work contemplates and questions the current sociological, environmental, legal and political climate in China today. It was rather disturbing and the original exhibit was quickly censored in China. The collection of Groningen art collector Veendorp emphasizing works of Dutch painters of late 19th and 20th C. was interesting. The new exhibit opening last weekend displayed archaeological findings from the Wadden area of the North Sea bordering The Frisan provinces along the sea.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Groningen | City Hall

We went to the Vismarket and Grote Market for lunch. Nicely prepared fried fish filet and bread from the bakery next door. Then we visited the Nautical Museum. It is housed in a medieval Gothic merchant house/brewery and is said to be one of the best maritime museums in the country. We rode along the canal where we'll pass tomorrow aboard Artemis and stopped for a visit at the beautiful Renaissance style garden laid out in 1625. Gorgeous roses and sculptured hedges.

Tomorrow we'll travel the canal passing through at least 26 bridges and 3 locks before reaching Dokkum, NL. It fun just relaxing, being a tourist, not really worrying about the weather or what time the tide will change:-) Hope all is well. Love Sally and Al

Baltic Sea | Germany | Kiel | British Kiel Yacht Club | Artemis moored outer T

Sepember 21, 2013

Hi Everyone, We are slowly adjusting to the 8 hour time change from Chicago to Germany. It's been over a week but not quite there yet. The weather has been windy and rainy. We stayed at British Kiel Yacht Club until Tuesday. The weather on the North Sea has been wild with 45+ knot winds and raging seas. We decided to move into the Kiel canal and go to Rendsburg where we stopped in April. We knew there was good shopping and things to do while we waited for better weather. We got our bikes out and road around town. We cover more ground on bikes than on foot:-)

Wednesday we continued through the Kiel Canal and exited the locks on the Elbe River. We spent a couple of nights in Cuxhaven, Germany. Friday at 2 AM we left Cuxhaven with the tide heading 94nm for Borkum one of the Frisian islands. We had a bad weather forecast so we ended up sailing close hulled with 2+ meter seas:-( Even with the seas trying to stop the boat we were sailing over 7 kts with the tide. We used our engine sailing when tide was against us as we wanted daylight when we arrived. We moored at Borkum just before dark tired and sore! No electricity so had to get the genset going and no wi-fi.

Netherlands | North Holland | Delfzijl | Standing mast route | One of many bands playing

So this morning after talking to the harbor master we decided to take the tidal stream up the Ems River to Delfzijl, Netherlands and enter the Standing Mast Route. We are at Neptunus Marina with free wi-fi and electricity! Realizing today was Saturday and no shops are open on Sunday we went into town to buy a Dutch sim card for phone and internet. Not only is Delfzijl a quaint little town, they were having a Music Festival today. Twelve different groups performed in different outdoor locations around the small downtown area. Some strolled through the streets performing. Then tonight they had a free concert with six marching bands from towns in the area performed their "half time" type numbers. Great fun and a beautiful clear night.

Netherlands | North Holland | Standing Mast Route | Delfzijl

We are planning on crossing North Holland on the Standing Mast Route canals from Delfzijl to Harlingen. This section of the canal is 74 miles and has 49 op ening bridges, three locks and two open sluices. We'll pass from Delfzijl through Groningen, Zoutkamp, Lauwersmeer, Dokkum, Leeuwarden, and Harlingen. We may also do the next section of the canal from Leeuwarden to Lemmer via the Frisian lakes. This section is only 35m and has 19 opening bridges, 1 lock and 1 sluice passing through Grouw, Sneek, coming into Ijsselmeer near Amsterdam at Lemmer. We may need to squeak through in a few places as our keel draws 2 meters but we met a Swiss boat in Cuxhaven that had just passed through last week. He said the shallowest areas around Dokkum were recently dredged and he had no problems. He also gave us some ideas of which towns to spend time in, where we can moor alongside town walls and various marinas along the way. We are in no hurry and we don't have to plan our days around weather and tides while in the canals. So we hope to get some fun exploring done over the next few weeks. Hope all is well and you are enjoying a nice weekend. Love an d God bless Sally and Al

Sepember 11, 2013

Hi Everyone, We had a whirlwind trip home to the USA. Great time with our kids and grandkids. Our 5 grandbabies change so quickly and Justin and Chris are due again Jan. 30th. So hard to say good-bye. We had good flights and bus connections to Kiel. We are now back aboard Artemis. We'll spend the next month cruising the Netherlands and heading back to England for six months of winter. Home again mid December to late February. Very tired after our travels and time changes so all for now. Love Sally and Al


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