HOLLAND in Springtime 2010, to SCOTLAND 57:29.73N, 4:14.7W
Restless of Auckland
Roland and Consie Lennox-King
Tue 25 May 2010 09:59
It is now the end of May and we have had a couple of hot days, is spring here at last? We have been in Holland for a month, we left New Zealand in early March and spent 3 weeks in Hong Kong with our young: Gilbert, Olivia and James now live together in a village house in Sai Kung, with 3 dogs and 2 cats. There is a riding school nearby, and Olivia rides ex-racehorse Orlando once a week, so for the moment, there are quite a lot of animals in their lives. Roland and James raced in the China Sea Race on 'Mandrake' and came 4th.
Olivia is finishing her 2 year training at Lovells, James has had a huge promotion to Project Manager at Meinhardt, and Gilbert and his business partner Ben are working hard in their new company, Energenz, helping companies to reduce their power bills. Their boat Trident is improving every week, and the engine room is almost finished, engine and propellor installed, head installed, fuel and water tanks fitted, fibreglassing of saloon and head being completed. We had a few working bees on the boat to speed up progress.
We left Hong Kong for Holland, arriving while the tulips were blooming, and cousin Mariette took Consie to the Keukenhof to see hundreds of varieties of tulips. We stayed with cousin Maurits and his wife Mariette in Wassenaar while Roland commuted to the Orange boatyard to get Restless ready for the water. He painted the deck and antifouled Restless, as well as doing other maintenance jobs. Maurits is a keen fisherman, and took us in his boat to Leiden and the Kaag, motoring along the canals past picture postcard scenery. Restless went into the water on 27 April, the masts went in 3 May, morning temperatures were still around 4-5'C. Feyona and Andre arrived in Holland on 28 April, after a successful exhibition in New York, SOFA, where Feyona exhibited and sold one of her sculptures. We were in Holland for Dutch Queen Beatrix's birthday when the whole country was dressed in Orange. From the moment Feyona arrived we went to different art galleries, the Mauritshuis, Leiden's Stedelijk museum, the Cobra gallery, Frans Hals museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Maurits and friends Ben Gerda and Annabel took us to Kroller Muller, with its huge collection of sculptures and art, including a roomful of 120 van Goghs, overwhelming! They also invited us home for a traditional Dutch pannenkoeken dinner.
On 8 May we left Zaandam, where Restless had been at the boatyard for the winter, and motored along the North Sea Canal , past windmills and flat flat farmland to Haarlem, where we met up with cousins Willem and Eileen, their children Jason and Una, and another cousin, Wiesje, We had a few lovely days together, walking around the churches and ancient cobbled streets and market. We cycled around the streets, feeling like real Dutch people, who learn to ride when they can walk and seem to be able to do anything on a bicycle. We motored back through narrow canals and locks to Amsterdam, where we stayed 4 days at the convenient Aeolus marina while we walked around the streets of Amsterdam, the flower market, canals, art galleries, antique shops, and red light district. We went to the Oude Kerk, where we saw Consie's burgomaster ancestor's arms/weapons, from 1750s in the stained glass windows. We went to the Rijksmuseum and saw Rembrandt's famous "Nachtwacht" but missed other galleries because of long queues.
From Amsterdam we motored out on to the Markermeer with Feyona and Andre on board, and sailed to Monnickendam, a very picturesque harbour, where Maurits, Ben, Gerda and Annabel drove to meet us for a daysail followed by a lovely dinner together. We sailed on to Hoorn, another picturesque harbour, from where the ships sailed to the Dutch East Indies in the 1600s, bringing home spices that changed the taste of food for ever. In mid-May we sailed to Enkhuizen, where cousins and friends drove to meet us on different days to come for a sail on the Ijselmeer amongst hundred year-old Dutch sailing botters. We spent a day in the Zuiderzee museum, a wonderful open-air museum with ancient buildings and people demonstrating the crafts of Holland from past years, smoking herring and eels (delicious haring and paaling). We have had a wonderful month in Holland, eating nieuwe haring, smoked sausage, uitsmijter, bitterbollen, oliebollen, kroketten, speculaas, dropjes, hagelslag, beschuit, ontbijtkoek, poffertjes, vla, stroopwafels, Dutch cheese, Dutch apple pie and other specialties, followed by famous Dutch koffie and chocolate. Oh, I forgot the Heineken, Amstel and other well-known beers. There is a good reason why most people's idea of a Dutchman is a jolly fat man, like our beloved Papa.
It was time for Andre and Feyona to return to Sydney on 23rd May, and Maurits and Mariette drove to Enkhuizen to collect us; we went to cousin Cornelie's 50th birthday, a chance to meet up with her children, Emma, Vincent and Evelijn and other family members. It was also a chance to join in another family tradition of making up songs for a special occasion, and we sang 3 songs together in Dutch, written by her many brothers and sisters. The next day we met up with our aunt Loes, and cousins Wiesje, Debora, Gerard and Hannah on the way to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. It has been such a wonderful time, meeting up with Dutch cousins Consie had not seen for many years. Several have promised to come to New Zealand and Australia in the next few years.
Our Scottish friend Keir arrived on the 23rd, and together we are planning to sail across from Holland to Scotland in the next few days, when the wind is right. The weather is at last starting to warm up, and we are hoping for a wonderful summer in Scotland and western Ireland, before we head south to France, Spain, and Portugal in early September. In the meantime we have a few miles to cover. Gilbert may be joining us for a few days in June, and James and Olivia in early September. We are going to the Clyde Cruising Club Centennial Cruise, where we hope to meet up with many friends.