We encountered three toll bridges en route to Leeuwarden. This was new. Altena Bridge was €5, next was Burdaard - €3.50 and coming into Leeuwarden we had to cough up €6.50 at Eebrug. They have a sort of fishing rod with a clog at the end which they throw in your direction and you place your money in the shoe.
The mooring in Leeuwarden was fabulous. Right on the banks of the Prinsentuin which is a lovely
Bridge keeper collecting toll money in a blue clog
park right next to the happenings and goings on in town but still peaceful. That was until yet another festival started.
There was a Jazz festival and the very next day they had an Uit Markt. The Dutch sure know how to celebrate. Anything will do. In two weeks they were having a pampoen (pumpkin) festival in Leeuwarden.
My husband managed to find another physiotherapist thanks to the kind people at the VVV in Leeuwarden. We got up early to get there in time. This guy did much the same as the last except he put strapping on to hold his body in place. I wanted to do a spot of shopping but
Prinsentuin in Leeuwarden
nothing happens on a Saturday until 10am so I waited for my other half and then we went exploring. We had something to eat at Bagels and Beans. They cater for alternative foodies like us.
Shopping in the Netherlands is cash or a Dutch credit card. Only big chains like H and M or The Body Shop accept other credit cards. The Netherlands are under pressure from the European Union to revise their policy on "foreign" credit cards such as Visa etc as it is viewed as anti-competitive. The marina and ablution facilities at Leeuwarden are paid for at an automatic machine,
Toilets in Leeuwarden
which thank God, accepts all cards. But no cash! It gives instructions in a choice of Dutch, German or English. You type in boat size, amount of people and add a bit of extra money for electricity or to use the facilities.
The more time I spent in The Netherlands the more I liked the people. They are straight talking, down to earth, wholesome and fun loving. We would speak Afrikaans and they loved it. They are well aware of their role in the history of South Africa and many had travelled there. It's not unusual for them to make conversation with you and if you ask for help or advice they fall over themselves to provide it.
Hans came onto our boat and pointed out scenic routes on our map, the lorry driver let us follow him all the way to Groningen and another crowd took on a grumpy a bridge keeper for us.
Their mantra is 'No problem'
Washing machines and dryer in Leeuwarden
or "It's not a problem." Whatever you ask, nothing is ever a problem.
One of my best things to do is sit at a cafe and watch bicycles with multiple people, children and pets stacked on them, along with scooters, disabled people in mobility vehicles and pedestrians all vying to move past each other. No helmets. No health and safety procedures. Just plain common sense.
Trying to cross a road is terrifying. They come flying at you from all angles. Pavement, road, pedestrian lane or bike lane or
Waterside eatery Leeuwarden
even a combination of them. No problem to these people. Everyone is all over the place. But somehow, no-one gets hurt. They swerve, slow down, say a quick 'Sorry' and move on again. No swearing or road rage. Nothing! It's amazing.
Since we're not meat eaters, we were limited in what traditional foods we could eat. Dutch people LOVE frites (French fries) with mayonnaise.
Pancakes, savoury or sweet are also firm favourites with the locals. Stamp pot, if you can find it is yummy. It's potatoes plus a veggie such as beans, boiled and mashed, with pepper and maybe butter. Dutch people LOVE, LOVE
Shangri La bathroom
coffee. They do serve Italian style coffees but we like koffie verkeerd (coffee wrong) a milky coffee but definitely NOT a latte. Coffee and Appel gebak (apple bake) go together and each establishment prides itself on their version. It's apple, baked with sugar and cinnamon, in pastry. Often served with slag room (beaten cream).
Belgian beers abound, along with Heineken and Amstel. We like the dark, nutty ones such as Duvel, Afflingem, Leffe and Westmalle. My other half will not eat licorice. I am mad about it. I found gelatin free versions in the health shops and gorged myself on it.