I am going to dispense a little bit of advice to wannabe boaters. Not that I am an expert, but I have done a few boat trips now.
|A Canal in Holland|
1. One week is never enough. You hardly get going, and before you know it, you have to return the boat. You also lose a day as you don’t get seven full days and nights. A fortnight is best.
2. Most canals boat holidays don’t require boating experience but it does help. Manoeuvring a boat in tides and wind is not easily done. For a sailing holiday, consider doing a boating course. You can do a 6 - 8 week competent crew course which will give you the basics.
3. For the person handling the boat, you need to know that a boat doesn’t drive like a car. Rather go slowly and get a feel for the wind and the currents and work with them to move the boat. We have seen people with no clue heading off full throttle and bashing boats. Less is more with a boat.
|Mooring in Steenwijk|
4. Rather plan a shorter distance and enjoy the trip than travel further and have to travel at speed to return the boat in time.
5. Try to travel in a loop, rather than there-and-back, to vary the scenery.
6. You need to be aware that boating usually is done in the countryside and you can’t always pop into a 24 hour superstore or pharmacy on a whim.
7. Boats are compact. Space is limited. Pack as little as you can get away with.
|Toll bridge on the canal|
8. The perception that boating is elegant and luxurious is a complete myth. You will have much less water than you are used to. You will bump your head and shins moving about in the cabin. Don’t even think about wearing heels.
9. Boat loos take some getting used to. They don’t have regular flush systems.
10. Pack working gloves to handle ropes. Garden gloves will do. Use heavy duty hand cream every night to soothe dry chapped hands. Also pack a sunhat and maximum factor sun cream.
We self-catered on our hire boat which brought costs down. Most towns had a supermarket and we would buy their own-brand foods which were even cheaper than our own-brand foods back home.
|Mooring in Urk|
If we were lucky to find one, we would shop at a LIDL or an ALDI. The prices at ALDI are excellent. A 750 ml bottle of French red wine was €2.29; a 120gr tub of walnuts was €1.79; sliced pumpernickel bread 500gr was €0.35 and 125gr punnet of raspberries cost €1.79.
|Mooring in Zwolle|
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Go to - My Holidays and Trips - at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on - this link.
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