Weesp, Muiden & the Ijsselmeer

Richard, the friendly electrician from Amsterdam fixed our GPS and we made it safely out off our tight spot in Sixhaven and onto the Amsterdam-Rhine-Canal. After 10 kms we turned into the "Small Weesp" to the town “Weesp" and the Vecht River.

For a while now we had our little box of coins ready to pay our dues at lift bridges. But so far there had been no charge. So we were excited when on the lift bridge in the centre of Weesp the bridge keeper dangled the wooden clog from above to receive the gold coin toll. Well deserved too, as the bridge operators were kept very busy with boats coming and going on yet another hot summer's day. Luckily there are moorings all along town and we managed to find an ideal spot after turning onto the Vecht river.

Weesp is a beautiful little town with cafes and restaurants all along the water’s edge and a top rating ice cream salon (try the “black cookie” flavour!). With school holidays now in full swing and the unusual heat there was a long queue in front of Neli’s ice cream salon - a good opportunity for a chat with the locals. Almost every Dutch person we met has either a relative in Australia or daughter/ son who has travelled to Oz. A Dutch lady, licking her ice-cream cone, commented:  “we are getting more Australian here this summer, because for the first time in my life we now have water restrictions”.  

Just down from our mooring are two windmills. That's all what is left from the original 12 mills which busily ground the grain for 60 local jenever and beer distilleries in 17th century. Of course, the jenever was not all drunk by Dutch people but exported to far off countries by the East India Company. Another claim to fame of Weesp is that the cocoa and chocolate producing “Van Houten” company originated here.

The Vecht River which passes through town flows a few kilometres north at Muiden into the “Marken”- or “Ijsselmeer". Austin and I cycled from Weesp to Muiden where a lock helps control the flow of the river. The difference of water level is minimal. As a matter of fact, the Ijsselmeer is often higher than the Vecht which means that the water flows upstream. We liked our excursion to Muiden and the romantic Muidenslot, a 14th century Castle, lovingly restored.

When we got distinguished visitors from Australia, our neighbours from Freshwater Glen and Sandra, we decided to cruise with them via Muiden and the Ijsselmeer back to Amsterdam. It was a perfect day and the Ijsselmeer showed itself from it’s best side. After squeezing once more into a tight spot at Sixhaven Marina, almost taking another’s boat hung out laundry with us, we tied up and headed to the city.

Sandra and Glen were just a little shell shocked facing the crowds moving through the city. We managed to find a relatively quiet spot on the gracht for dinner, then strolled through the old town including the Red Light District. Glen and Sandra have been doing a grande tour through Europe, but the eye opening scenery of Amsterdam by night they hadn’t quite come across yet. 

Away from the bustle in Amsterdam we are now leisurely cruising down the gently winding Vecht past lovely homes with lush gardens full of colourful hortensias, geraniums and flowering bushes. The peaceful scenery stands in stark contrast to the meaning of the name “Vecht”, meaning “Fight”, which probably originates from times when this river was part of a border and defence line.

Apart from a short stay on a green mooring with “aromatic" country air and flies to go with it, we found a lovely mooring at Vreeland just in front of a lift bridge. Here we met up with our lovely Aussie friends Reg and Sandra who left their boat “La Dolce Vita” near Münster, Germany, and drove all the way here to see us. We felt very honoured and it was lovely catching up with them.

© Austin Robinson 2019