Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Spakenburg


We left Elburg in the late morning after having cycled into town to snipe a free internet connection from a local coffee shop. We enjoyed the town and seeing the entrepreneurship of the small community. There is broad-spread reference to the Euro Crisis and to a slump in the economy. These may very well be happening, but the Dutch seem to have a know-how for handling such things. The smaller towns and villages are thriving by making it easier and more pleasant for tourists and boaters to linger just a bit longer. 

Shortly after our arrival in Spakenburg, the harbour master arrived in his dinghy with his leather cash pouch and ready change. We paid for our mooring sticker, and along with it, we received a google earth map of the town indicating water, laundry, toilets and garbage containers. He also gave us a coupon for a free tourist bag from the local tourist office. 

Back onboard in the late afternoon, we watched a parade of old fishing boats called "botters" as they motored and sailed past on their way to an evening sail on the lake. In the fleet were more than thirty of these old wooden boats shaped like large wooden shoes with leeboards. Most of them date from a century to a century-and-a-half ago. These botters with their brown sails once dominated the fishing industry on the Zuider Zee, but today these well-preserved relics hold positions of honour in the old harbours and add to the air of authenticity and character.

On a much smaller scale, we came across hundreds of swans on our way to Spakenburg. It was lovely watching a mother swan teaching her tiny fluff balls to stay clear of sk├╗tsjes.

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