Our Barge, Odysseus

Saturday, August 25, 2007


This place was a total surprise! When we were in Haarlem, we visited a beer festival (summer is festival time for everything!) and one of the brewers suggested we visit Amersfoort. It's at the end of the 18km Eem River and, he said, not many boats visit. That's for us! What we found, besides the Dias Latinos, a two-day latin music festival, was a brand new transient dock with all the necessities (electricity, water, showers and welcoming personnel) and a town with an amazing juxtaposition of the new and the old.
On the walk into town from the transient dock, you see this

Much of the 12th and 13th century wall surrounding the old city still exists. This particular gate, one of the three that are still standing, was built in the 1400's.

But just a couple of blocks away are these modern office buildings and city hall.

City Hall

As for Dias Latinos, this was Amersfoort's 11th annual Latin Music Festival and it drew bands from South and Central America, Cuba and even a mariachi band from Mexico City. We felt right at home! We pulled in on Saturday just as it was getting going and got lost in the 50,000 or so people attending. There were several outdoor stages scattered around the center of the old city and there's nothing quite like salsa dancing to a Cuban band in a 13th century town square. The music lasted until well after midnight and then started up again Sunday about noon and ran 'til 10pm. We had a blast!

Meanwhile, we'd gotten a call from our friends John and Patti Hardman. They had finished up their cruise in France and would have a couple of days free to spend time with us before they headed back to Texas. We arranged to meet back in Amsterdam on Friday or Saturday. The weather forecast wasn't great so we headed back up the river as there were a couple of towns just a bicycle ride away we wanted to visit.

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