Ship Ahoy!

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It has been several weeks since my last post as I have been busy fulfilling another item on my bucket list…. Amsterdam.

Well over a year ago, four of us decided to plan a trip to Amsterdam. Life temporarily got in the way, but in August we realized our goal. To make the trip even more fun, we chose to rent a houseboat instead of  hotel rooms. This is a normal practice in the city of canals. So back in January, I found a web site called Bookahouseboat.com . There are quite literally 1000’s of houseboats available for rent in this city. The first question we are always asked is, ” Who is going to drive it?” The boat does not move. It is simply a floating hotel minus room service.

Booking a houseboat, sight unseen, can be a little disconcerting even for the most adventurous; so, add to that fact that we are four senior women and you have an interesting situation. We are all seasoned travelers, so we are accustomed to a variety of accommodations from luxury hotels to smaller B&B’s, but nothing could have prepared us for our boat. We had of course seen interior pictures, but nothing above deck. I think we all had in our mind that we were renting something like this….

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When in reality we had actually rented the huge green freighter at the top of the page. Yes, the “Everdeen”, built in 1928 and used to haul sand and gravel up and down the canals, became our home away from home. It was tethered to another huge freighter on the Amstel River in an excellent location beside the famous Magere Brug better known as the “Skinny Bridge”.

After flying all night and arriving at 6:30am in Amsterdam having had no sleep, we were very anxious to check into our accommodations and put our feet up. Unfortunately, our check in time was 12:00 noon, so we stowed our baggage in lockers at the train station and went for breakfast. After eating, no one felt like wandering aimlessly, so we called our contact number and asked if we could move into the boat sooner.  He was very kind and said he would call the cleaning lady and give us permission to wait on the deck until she was finished.

With some difficulty, we found a cab to hold the four of us and our luggage. It was no more than a 5 minute drive. I would love to have had a picture of our faces when we first set eyes on “our boat”. Someone finally said, “What have we done?” Like the blind leading the blind, single file we pulled our suitcases over the gang plank.

There were four chairs on the tiny deck with a gas fire pit in the middle. Sounds lovely, right? I need to mention that the deck is on a 45 degree tilt. I quickly learned to brace my chair legs against the edge of the fire pit lest I sail across the deck, over the open edge,

20180827_182231 and into the water. And there we waited contemplating our situation until the cleaning lady finished.

She finally gave us the okay to come inside. Once through the door, there was a narrow stairway to navigate down to the living quarters. The interior was exactly as we had seen in the advertisement; it was very spacious, clean, and bright.

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However, the main reason we had chosen this boat was because it had two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

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We found the first bedroom easily. The second was going to be a bit of a challenge especially after a glass or two of wine.

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The second bedroom was located in the stern of our ship. As the picture demonstrates, one must make a precarious walk along the narrow, railing-less footpath to reach said bedroom complete with its own toilet and claw-footed bathtub. Needless to say, we decided to use the pull out couch in the living room instead.

The initial shock gradually wore off and we looked at the bright side of our rental. Less than half a block away was a great little pub that became our local. Around the corner was a nice little grocery store where we stocked up on breakfast essentials and all the wine we could carry. The tram stop was only two bridges away and restaurants were plentiful in every direction. But best of all, there was always something happening on the busy waterway by our boat.

The morning we were leaving our “old girl” was bittersweet. She had grown on us all with her quirks and groans and loose, squeaky floorboards. We all miss her and would go back in a heartbeat. Sometimes in life you have to throw caution to the wind and just take a chance.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

P.S. More to come on our adventure.

 

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