The Standing Mast Route

The standing mast route leads through a system of canals in the Netherlands that are acccessible for sailboats with a standing mast. We entered the channels of the Netherlands in Vlissingen. We got to Vlissingen late at night and the current was pushing us away from our destination. It seemed like the sea didn’t want us to leave into the canals. Only when we decided to go really close to the shore, where the current was weaker did we manage to make any progress.
Next morning we started our adventure in the Dutch canals, calling our first bridge and asking them to open. There were many more to come and the difficulty is really to pronounce the bridges’ names right, so that they don’t open a bridge on the other side of the country. We felt like entering another universe, when we got into the canals. There were no more waves, we didn’t have to care so much about favourable weather and the landscape changed completely from sealike to landlike, with cows walking along the sides of the canals and people living along the canals. While we liked the change, we were also a bit sad to leave the sea and all the adventures we lived on it behind us. Wherever possible, we stopped to discover some historic towns on the way to Leiden. For example in Middelburg we stopped at a quai which looked much more like it was for ferries, but nobody cared. We went to discover the town and its ice-shops (with my sweet boys Bernie and Mark, icecream was involved in every place we went to). From Middelburg we went on to Goes, Willemstad, Dordrecht, Gouda and then on to our final destination Leiden. In Gouda we were greeted by our Dutch friends Mona-Lisa, Frankyboy and Matsomat! They did a good job in finding us in this confusing system of canals and even made a welcome-banner for us. After that little riverside rendez-vous, we slept in front of the railway bridge in Gouda and started our last day of canal-boating towards Leiden. The way through the canals was absolutely beautiful and gave us a really good introduction to our new life in the Netherlands.

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