Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Willemstad & Rotterdam

We totally fell in love with our next stop - Willemstad. A beautiful town centre harbour where the moorings, electricity and water are all free, as the town considers that moor income is made for the local businesses by encouraging boaters in and by the non-boater visitors who like to walk around the harbour and watch the boats from the (numerous) waterside cafes and restaurants.

We'd heard that some towns have adopted this approach, but this was the first we'd found. I must say that the strategy seems to work. The harbour was chockablock with boats all rafted together and the nearby shops and eateries were very, very busy too.

The view behind our boat 
The view in front of our boat, when the harbour was pretty empty

From Willemstad it was onto IJsselmonde, just outside Rotterdam for a couple of days, to get caught up with laundry & boring stuff, then on to Rotterdam itself.

More rain as we arrived in Rotterdam but we did get to pass under the rather impressive Erasmus Bridge
Sorry for the poor light in the picture, but that's a pretty accurate representation of the day!

The marina was stayed in the the Defthaven area of Rotterdam was very friendly and the Delfthaven area is beautiful, full of old houses and churches. We moored just up from the Pilgrim Fathers church.

Making the most of a break in the rain, we headed out to explore and found a great "Brown Cafe" called Oude Sluis. A Brown Cafe is probably best described as being similar to a "proper" pub in the UK; one that hasn't been tarted up and Weatherspoon-ed.

They did great food and the barman recommended a beer called Op n Top. It sounded a bit like a novelty lager but the barman assured us it was good, so we went with the recommendation. It was fabulous! Unfortunately, it's brewed by a small brewery called De Molen and isn't widely available yet. But do keep a look out, it's really wonderful.

Emma in Oude Sluis
 View of Delfthaven

Once again, the weather curtailed what we could do in Rotterdam; Stephen made a mad-dash to the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum to see a Rembrandt, Emma and I went for a walk (and got soaked) and then it was on to Delft!

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