Friday 29th March 2019
Yesterday arrived in Holland at Dordrecht. With wild camping being illegal, and not wanting a fine, we are using marinas, aires and campsites. This marina here was EUR14.50 with electric, showers, toilets and a waterfront location. Very secure and peaceful. We manoeuvred into a waterside pitch.
We deployed the bikes and the Os-car for the dogs and then wandered around Dordrecht. Dordrecht looks out over the busiest peice of water in Europe: it is where the Rhein and Meuse exit. A light lunch in town.
A cow on top of a chimney? A dutch BBQ? Although we suspect a more erudite meaning (Apollo and Europa – some of Stephen Fry’s Mythos audio book sunk in!), as this was over the library.
Dordrecht had been the major shipping city, before Rotterdam. In fact, the first Dutch city to be granted a city charter. All goods had to be stored here and pay taxes. The locals are known as Sheep’s heads, as a cunning farmer dressed a sheep in human clothing, walked it between two people through the city gates to avoid a tax … unfortunately it baaa’d just then and they are caught!
We didn’t go in, but this is the Hof, court of justice, where the States of Holland first convened.
1119: Biesbosch National Park
Saturday 30th March
So peaceful a spot, we decided to stay another day, so I climbed the tower to the Marina control to hand over another EUR14.50. Whilst there, we established from the timetable that the ferry across to the Biesbosch National Park wasn’t running yet. Ho hum, the bikes were ready. We were ready. And CO2 were ready, so we’d just do a shorter bike ride. As we got to the ferry crossing, one was just coming in. What luck. We jumped on and had a bike ride around the National Park. No pix as it was as flat as a pancake. A lot of geese! You are still very conscious of industry … power pylons, wind sails and the odd factory chimney in the distance. Give that the Netherlands is the third most densely populated country in Europe after Monaco and Malta, this is not surprising.
Sunday 31st March
Another visit to the marina master’s ivory tower to pay for a 4th night! We cycled to Dordrecht again and caught the hour long water bus (with dogs, bikes and Os-car, the dog trailer) to Rotterdam. Our bums are just getting used to the bike saddles after an absence of about a year! After a beautiful day yesterday it was blistering cold today. We were just on the point of ditching the bikes thinking it would be warmer walking – fast, when the sun finally came out. Biking around such a major city was a synch. Clearly defined cycle paths and we got to see more of the city that we would have otherwise.
I’d cleverly ordered the Holland Pass … museum card and we tried to redeem this at the Euromast (high tower with a lift) but no, I was told to go to the Central Station. No, you used to be able to collect it there, but no longer. There are ONLY only in 5 points in Amsterdam! Telecon and email correspondence with Holland Pass and hope we get a refund. Note to self … read the small print!!!
Some interesting modern architecture … post war Rotterdam was the one place they allowed modern architecture to flourish and it still is. P&O Britannia was in for two days. A couple told us it was a short cruise … Rotterdam and then Guernsey.
Witte Hus – this Art Deco 1898 sky scraper was one of the tallest in Europe for a long time at 148ft. Constructed form iron and steel, it has two thick interior walls. It survived WW2 bombing.
Kubuswoningen, Cube Houses, the cube is tilted 45deg, and rests on a hexagonal pylon. There are 38 apartments, whilst they 100square metres, 25% is unusable due to the walls and the angled ceilings.
The Markthal has 228 apartments as well as office space, with a huge daily food market in the middle. The outward facing apartments had balconies, and seemed much more desirable than the cube houses. Opened in 2014 it has a stupendous painted roof depicting fruit and vegetables.
James nibbled the samples all the way round the market!
We cycled onto Delftshaven, which was also fairly unscathed from WW2. Ancient warehouses are now restaurants antique and bookshops. We stopped outside the church where the Dutch Pilgrim Fathers set off for the new world. The leaky Speedwell boat barely made it to Britain, where they transferred to the Mayflower.