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Muiden to Meppel

After locking out of Muiden we took the buoyed channel behind Flevoland via the Gooimeer and Eemmeer into the river Eem, where we enjoyed a few days at Eemdijk.  We were befriended by Suzanna and George who are involved with the Dutch historic boats association.  They gave us some ideas for good places to stay.  We cycled into Spakenburg where there is a beautiful historic harbour with traditional wooden boats and where the older women wear traditional costume, not just for special occasions but to visit the supermarket too (see photo below).



Traditional costumes at Spakenburg             Traditional wooden boats at Spakenburg

Continuing north we reached the Roggebotsluis (by now very busy with holiday makers) and were surprised at the tiny change in water levels.  We turned up into the Gelderse IJssel and noticed the strong stream of a big river again.  Of course, nowhere to moor on the river but we found a spot in Hattem right in town and nested in for the weekend.  This place is a delight and we made some new Dutch friends here, Diane and Johan, barge "Majestic". 



Cruising the Gooimeer                          Peaceful mooring - Flevoland


Our plan had been to head straight to Friesland via a remote and pretty route but we decided to leave that till later in the summer on our return trip.  We wanted to see Groningen province first, so our new route took us via Meppel (where we found a great water point, 4000 litres delivered in 20 minutes and free) and onto the Drenthe Hoofdvaart Canal.  This lovely but straight canal is also called the "turf route" and crosses a remote sparsely populated agricultural area which is now used as a recreational waterway with many grass bank moorings and excellent facilities. After arriving at Havelte the weather deteriorated and we decided to stay put for a few days.  No point in navigating all day in the rain - a chance to catch up on some jobs for me and work for Chris.



Dark rain clouds threaten.....                 Storks' nest


Park, centre of Hattem                         Mooring place at Hattem, evening sun


This little cat took a liking to us            Cruising up the River IJssel


Supper al fresco again                         Paradise Sluis, Meppel

Drenthe Hoofdvaart canal

A lovely rural purely recreational route between Meppel and Assen running northeast through the peaceful agricultural high part of Netherlands. It was here that van Gogh spent his early life.  Also the WW2 Westerbork Concentration Camp is out in the middle of this beautiful wild area.  The lock and bridgekeepers provide a great friendly service, the small locks being manually operated.  At Venesluis we found an interesting museum of the old days of the "Turf Route" and the cargo ships who worked here, amongst them possibly Esme.  At Deiver there are summer productions of the Shakespeare plays, translated into Dutch but with the characters' names in English. A major event for us was a visit from the former owners Horst Baruth and Adrian, son of Eva and Peter Roethlisberger.  A reunion with their former ship was interesting and emotional for them and we learnt more of her story while making new friends.  We lingered on this lovely route up to Assen and Paterswoldmere to Groningen, enjoying en route many cycling excursions in order to explore the countryside.


Paradijs Sluis, Drenthe Hoofdvaart             Summer flowers in excess!


Three skippers, Horst, Chris and Adrian        Paterswoldmeer, near Groningen


Kamp Westerbork, near Smilde                   Each of 102,000 symbolises a life lost


Groningen                                      Groningen



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