We arrived Amsterdam, caught a train to Grou, spent one night in the hotel and the next morning launched Compagnon and moved to the marina. It’s always a little bit of culture shock to arrive in the Netherlands from the Caribbean. In Grenada it was hot and humid and everything was on island time. Most everyone is friendly and outgoing and the custom there is that you always start a conversation with good morning, how are you then take the time to actually listen before you start any business that you might have. When we arrived in the Netherlands it was cool, everything is on schedule and the whole country is clean and tidy. While some have labeled the Dutch as unfriendly we think that’s just not so. Perhaps reserved would be appropriate but we’ve found that people are quite friendly and helpful when you engage them.
Just a couple of days after we launched we welcomed Tony and Hazel who we had cruised with in the Caribbean when they owned S.V. Longbow. After a nice afternoon in Grou we planned our departure for the next morning. Best laid plans… in the morning Mike did his usual check the engine oil before departure and found coolant in the oil. That is not good. We called the mechanic out who said we had to get a new head gasket and it would take a couple of weeks to get parts, then a week to do the job. Well, Tony and Hazel were only visiting for a week. Plan B… We toured by train which was great fun. We even rented a sailboat and toured the national park by Grou. It was sad to see Tony and Hazel leave but their week came to an end.
Compagnon was towed to the work dock and the new head gasket was installed. With everything back in working order we headed out and spent some time enjoying the national park and toured Friesland. We stopped in places we’d been and loved before and found some new to us amazing villages. We spent quite a bit of time in Leeuwarden, a spot that has long been a favorite but also found Dokkum a great place to visit. We were moored right under a working windmill and when the wind was right they would turn it into the wind and grind flour. They welcomed visitors and it was fascinating to see how it operated and the ingenious way they control the mechanism. We bought some flour from the mill and Robin cooked with it. It didn’t take long to realize the flour was meant for pancakes…
We enjoyed visits from Kim and David as well as Jessamine Lewis. Compagnon took us to some lovely spots and performed well and our 90 days quickly passed. We hauled Compagnon and left her in the same place as last year and headed to Leeuwarden for the night then Amsterdam for our flight to London. It was another wonderful summer in the Netherlands.