Our Barge, Odysseus

Monday, June 16, 2008

There and Away, June 1 - 7

A Museum Excursion

We picked up our friends Aaron and Betsy at a nearby train station Sunday morning and headed to the center of the country, in between the towns of Appledoorn and Arnhem, to the Hoge Veluwe National Park, home of the Kroller-Muller Museum. We didn't manage to get there last year and this is probably our last opportunity as we plan to leave the dock tomorrow.
The park was purchased by a wealthy industrialist and his wife in 1914. He wanted hunting grounds and she, an art collector, wanted a museum site. They turned the whole thing over to the state in the 1930's. The collection contains works by Picasso, Renoir and Manet along with many others but the highlight is over 270 Van Goghs, more than the Van Gogh in Amsterdam. The day started out rainy but turned nice in the afternoon and we had a great stroll around the beautiful grounds.
Betsy is a photographer with all the fancy equipment and she was taking pictures for me. Some of them are great, I promise! Unfortunately, the silicon gods intervened and I was unable to access them so no pictures. Hopefully later I'll be able to get some copies and add them. Until then, onward!

On Our Way

It sure was hard to get out of town!

First, the car had to be returned. I set off for the National Car Rental office near the airport with my bus tickets back to Kudlestaart in hand. After turning over the keys I asked the nice lady where I could catch the 140 bus to Alsmeer for the connection to Kudlestaart. "You can't," she said, "the bus drivers are on strike!" After a brisk hour and a half walk I returned to the boat.
Next was to pay the yard bill. We ended up having to replace both batteries and the charger, plus have a new outside gear shift installed, resulting in a pretty hefty yard bill. I made sure before the work started that I' be able to pay with a credit card as I didn't want to have to come up with that much cash. The yard had a new card reader. Wouldn't work. They hauled out the old one. Wouldn't work either. By now I'm close to panic; we may have to come up with the cash after all and that will take some time because of ATM daily withdrawal limits. Haul out the third card reader. Success!! We can leave after all. The water tank topped up and groceries loaded, we said goodbye to the good folks at Kempers and threw off the lines at 12:45. As the first part of this years trip would retrace our steps from last year, we planned our first nights stop in about the same place; the Aarkanal. We were tied up by a little after 4 but the difference from last year was the temperature. It was baking hot!

To Utrecht

After the night staked to the bank in the Aarkanal, it was off down the Gouwe toward Gouda. We could really tell the difference in the time of year. Last year when we traveled this area it was July and August and there was alot of traffic on the canals. This year it's early June and it's only us and the retirees. We negotiated the two sluices around Gouda without much delay. This time we only stopped for lunch in Haastrecht (the site of last years broken bridge incident) and then headed off to spend the night in Oudewater.
This was the medieval town where you could get weighed and receive an official document that you were not a witch. We didn't bother to weigh ourselves.

The next morning it was off to one of our favorite stops last year, Utrecht, about 5 hours down the Hollandsche Ijssel.

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