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Leeuwarden is the capital of Friesland. It's a city with a rich history. You will find a nice big VVV (tourist info) at the south end of the old city where you can get a free map with all the must-sees.
|Oldehove leaning tower|
We went to Oldehove leaning tower which has free access. Apparently on a clear day you can see the Friesian Islands. The tower is 1.68 metres off true so you can easily see that it leans. I'm a claustrophobe. The stairs up to the top were dark and full of people so I gave that a miss.
Boomsma's Distileerderij do a guided tour, but it's closed Sundays and Mondays, so we never got to do that. There's also Grote Kerk, Prinsen Tuin and various museums to Friesian history and culture that you can explore. Even just walking along the canal/moat is great. Every town or city seems to have a Pannekoek Schip where you can eat Dutch pancakes. They love their pancakes savoury or sweet. You can even buy take-out pancakes at the supermarkets.
And every town or city has church bells that chime long complicated tunes. As we were leaving Leeuwarden we passed a free standing bell statue come artwork that played a tune with the varying bells. Yet another thing the Dutch love to do is erect statues or artworks all over. The theme with Leeuwarden was the resistance movement. In Appingedam they had statues of people kissing. We saw a massive metallic mural right next to one of the canals. Next to the motorways, even under the bridges in Groningen, you will spot art, both classical and contemporary.
We left Leeuwarden and overnighted at a public space in Pik Meer. I LOVE middle of nowhere spots. Nothing but the sounds of water slapping against the boat, ducks and perhaps people on their boats. It is so tranquil and peaceful. Only thing is you need your own source of power for warm water and light. And you can't eat out or shop.
Friesland is a mecca for boats and water-sports. If you include all the waterways, it's the largest province in The Netherlands. Excluding the waterways, it drops to third place. There is a LOT of water in Friesland. Naturally there are myriad water related festivals and events in the region. We just missed the Sneek Week or as
it's pronounced locally "snake vake".
|Dutch barge passing through Vrouepoortbrug|
Heaps of boats gather in Sneek town and on the Sneek Meer (meer is lake in English). The Dutch were great explorers and in Sneek you can visit another museum dedicated to the history of their early seafarers. Apparently many of the exhibits in the museums were found when they pumped water out of the Zuider Zee. It was popular with the old ships but today in it's place are fresh water lakes and reclaimed land.
The usual old buildings in the distinct Dutch style of architecture can be found as well as the Kerk (church). Sneek prides it's self on being a premier shopping place. We saw lots of unique boutiques with everything from the mundane to quirky. One thing we hadn't seen anywhere else was the model train museum next to the station. A local enthusiast had acquired trains and layouts and decided create a shrine for enthusiast. My other half is an N-Gauge model train aficionado so that was a MUST for us. The architecture in Friesland can at times be a little Scandinavian with high pitched roofs and wooden cladding.
|Friesland lilies the flag emblem|
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|The Captain having supper in Sneek|
Labels: Friesland, Leeuwarden