Amsterdam/Born - Reunited

After a 6 am arrival in Amsterdam, we headed straight into the city centre in our Ford Fiesta hire car. In a very Dutch way bikes came at us from everywhere. They seemed to toy with our indecisiveness in finding a suitable parking space.

The weather was a drizzly 16 degrees but once we had managed to work ourselves through the bicycle ballet at intersections and found a car park, we enjoyed stretching our ‘jet-cramped' legs and ambling through the streets of Amsterdam. 

Soon enough we decided on a new phone and internet card while a cloud of distinct Amsterdam smoke coming from the “koffie shop” next door added to our jet-lag haze. Therefore we really have no idea if the data we purchased will be sufficient or over the top! The good thing is that for an extra 5 euro we will be able to use the cards in Italy, Germany and wherever else the wind will blow us in Europe. 

Two double shots of coffee later, purchased at a "real coffee shop", we were on our way to Born to reunite with the “Freshwater". It seemed longer than two years ago that we started our last boating season and yet, as soon as we saw the "Juliana Canal" and laid eyes on the first commercial barge and pleasure boats gliding by, we knew we were back!

Seeing the Freshwater was bitter-sweet. In spite of currently being stored in a large shed with her “bottom” perfectly anti-fouled, the Freshwater looked a bit worse for wear. Since we abandoned her in 2016 she had weathered two major storms and Dutch winters whilst exposed to the elements in dry dock. Her previously leaky canopy now hangs in shreds and she is covered with dust and grime. Scattered tools indicated that some work was still to be done. Can’t wait to meet with the shipyard owner and find out what’s going on! 

After a good meal and sleep at Hub Notermans B&B in Guttecoven, we met up with the "Kiwi Rose" crew, Max and Lucy, in the quaint village of Thorn, drowning our sorrow in a rather large glass of Dutch beer. We felt bad whining about our “minor” boat problems as the resilient and fun loving Lucy and Max have experienced quite a few boat problems of their own in the last 2 years and have not lost their sense of humour yet!

While waiting for the return of shipyard owner Guido from Holidays we explored neighbouring Sittard and discovered a beautiful basilica, the first church to be named a “basilica minor” in the Netherlands. The weather warmed up to 29 degrees C and we enjoyed sitting at a cafe of the towns market square in the warm Northern Hemisphere sun. 

Two days after our arrival we met with Guido and he assured us that all would be done by the time we get back from Italy on 7/6. Now we are still eagerly waiting for news from our sailmaker regarding our new canopy.

In the meantime we are having a big reunion with our mateys Jan and Bill (having driven all the way from Toul), Lucy and Max, and Jayne and Peter from Perth. 

Watch out idyllic Guttecoven!!!

© Austin Robinson 2019