Au revoir, the first lines and auwie

So it was an early morning. A final breakfast in bed for Megan, and for Peggy in the wheel house.

And yes I did play the Bye Bye MP3, creating chuckles. .
Side note…..As a horn I bought a 2 * 20 Watt MP3 player, so I have different sounds for different occasions.  A selection of sounds are available by request . Just as it is fun to play the sweeper MP3 in the morning in the marina…

Quickly a stop at the store, where Megan bought all the Stoop wafels, and a bunch of jars of Mustard to take home.  Yes Tom you will get a jar of Zaandam Mustard, prepared in the local original mill along the canal and a big bag of Dutch Licorice.  We made the trek to the Railway station  with all 4 suitcases, and hopped on the train to the airport to catch the Thalys to Paris.  There was the usual rush to get in, and to make things more complicated there were some travellers who did not had a pre-assigned seat so they sat on the fold out seat in the small entrance way, and yes their luggage was nearly blocking the entrance.  So I just showed it back to them so everybody could just get in, but it was packed.


Back to the barge, to meet Lindy, who was going to start the “hatch art”.  Last year Deb decided we needed to spruce up the big hatch on the barge with some more art.  So together with Lindy they came up with ……..Jan boot kleur vb-3.jpg

The hatch has to be cleaned and the drawing started, unfortunately the cloud cover vanished, as you can imagine the steel deck became hot enough to fry an egg on it.  We placed the white sun screen cover over it and Lindy kept on drawing.  After 4 hours of work , she had to go home, to finish on a later day.


In the mean time I was finishing up my switch panel with covers, but boy is it hard to properly route the wood for the hinges.   Luckily Roy will use this as a template and make a really good looking one.

This way the switches are out of sight, and divided in two groups, a general daily use group like, 24V lights, USB wall chargers,  fresh water, bilge pumps, apero alarm  etc, and the second group is cruising.  Thus the Victron Venus, navigation lights etc. Once the panels are opened there will be a form where I can slide the Ipad in for navigation etc.



And even though I wrote the safety instructions, it does not mean I always follow them ( since “I am Invincible” as the villain in one of the James Bond movies shouts out).  I did stubbed my little toe against the front deck hatch. Did not seemed

too bad,  an hour later I put on sucks and shoes to walk Lindy back to the railway station, get back and unveil the my foot and voila…a nice  auwie.


Sunday …Beach, Paint and Tapas

The sun was bright and early, the carillion ( church bells) kept playing it would be a great day to go cruising……..nope…it was going to be the beach ……

So I drove Peggy and Megan to Wijk aan Zee and was told I could pick them up 4 hours later.  Megan took Peggy to the seashell, so she could hear distant sounds.  I dashed back and started the 2nd layer op pain on the port side.



Also did some more cleanup, worked on the switch control panel, and picked up the girls.

After some rest they wanted to go eat Tapa’s .  It was quickly calculated that the all you can eat is cheaper than a la carte.  With English Menu’s Megan and Peggy ordered the first round of tapa’s.  Megan absolutely wanted to make pictures of every dish…..but…she was so hungry that once most was gone she realized the dishes were empty and no photo’s

When Peggy mentioned ketchup, Megan needed to remind Peggy that the dips for the Patatas was NOT Ketchup!And that service is more relaxed, no need to rush dinner


Megan also captured my looks when Peggy asked for Ketchup again.


.  For dessert Megan wanted Creme Brulee, but there were two what to do ……well I took away that choice and ordered both .


When the bill came, there was the ‘fight’ over who would be paying, and I also checked the bill…   I did waved the waitress down and did thanked her for also including my imaginary friend on the bill ( 4 persons unlimited Tapa’s) .  But since my imaginary friend had not eaten we should not have to pay for him plus she forgot to charge for some drinks.  She felt quite embarrassed, and told we should not pay for the forgotten drinks . …a nice bonus, so she earned a 5 Euro tip……….Tips in holland are very generous IF a customer rounds it of to the full Euro. !

Walking back we saw that Daniel just pulled up to deliver the circle saw I needed. Introductions were made and Daniel grabbed quickly a beer from the fridge.   In the mean time Peggy got quite relaxed…    and NO Daniel is NOT rubbing her feet



Albert Cuyp and Van Gogh

Again this Friday was going to be a nice day, NO rain…so UN-dutch.  Around 7 Megan started stirring herself and took her shower.  I did turned the Kabola on, but it was not starting.  Jumped in the engine room and let the air out of the diesel fuel line and it started up.  We will see if it keeps acting up.   We had to be up early to catch the Zaan Ferry which leaves every 2 hours, and takes a 45 minute ferry ride to the Central Station in Amsterdam.


Enjoying coffee and the view on the way to Amsterdam.


Arrived at Central Station and bikes everywhere







The fish advertizes the BIG win in the National lotto…21 million

Arrived at Central Station Amsterdam and bikes everywhere.  Then the tram to the Albert Cuyp Straat, the longest year round open market. I also bought 2 more tubes of Gin Mayonaise !!

Took the tram to the Rijks Museum and as usual there were a few street musicians playing classical music.  Walked to the Van Gogh Museum and found out that tickets are only available on line or at the vending machine.  the next available slot was a few hours away , so the girls opted for the next day.

rijks1.JPG rijks2.JPGSince they still wanted to see the Anne Frank house, we walked to buss 354. and waited and waited and the bus was showing to arrive the next minute.  Some people were asking what was going on and then we saw the flash message ..some busses and trams were rerouted because of an accident……..that reminded me of last week when  Deb and her 2 friends went to the Anne Frank and Van Gogh went and arriving at the Central Station they found out there was a fire ( which later was a truck driving into the building of a national newspaper ) and thus NO trams or Busses driving.  Peggy decided not to wait and opted to venture out on herself.  SO after a discussion with Maegan we decided to take the tram towards the Central station and form one point take another line to the Anne Frank House.  The App 9292 seemed a bit delayed when these emergencies occur.   At the Leidse Plein we opted to walk the rest to the Wester kerk.  By that time we needed a drink and some food….but Megan did not opted for her favorite place..FeBo



The Dam square beckoned us, and it was on the way to the red light district.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While on the ferry another passenger told us that today they were celebrating the birthday of the Dali Lama on the Dam we saw some of the set up.  Naturally there was some kind of protest going on, some street performers . like this one making a bubble show.






Megan opted fora shrimp croquette, while watching the National Monument.







Strolled the red light district, and Megan saw all the variety which was presented during lunch hour.  Then the Kalverstraat, the busiest shopping street in Amsterdam, and a few McDonalds, but the menu is quite different.  Maddie and Kathlyn Ly would be in . heaven…NO not because of the burgers, BUT because McDonalds is selling French Macaroons !!!


A busy street like the Kalverstraat does have its hidden treasures, like the Begijn hof.  An oasis of peace and quite space.  Hee the old nuns and widowed affluent ladies spend their last years.



Delft also has a few of these hofjes.  After that the train, and again uploading the transport card with more Euro’s and a Nap






I better have warm water, or………….and Delft

So it is a bright and sunny morning, just around 8:45 I saw Ron’s van drive over the pedestrian walkway bridge, so I quickly pressed the Senseo to make coffee for him.  Walked out, past the sleeping beauties, with a small serving tray and stood on the front deck!   He made a big smile, and admitted that this had never happened to him.  We chatted a but, and I found out he used to barge in France on his own Spits, which he later converted to his floating home just in front of the marina.

IMG_3169.JPGAfter his coffee Ron went into the barge, walked passed the sleeping beauties and……………..went into the back roef and fitted the small brass ring in the coupling which was missing according to him yesterday.  Hopped in the main engine room and turned thekabola on, it started sucking air, and voila…………….in the heating chamber….Perfect.  So when the sleeping beauties wake up, I was told that 8 am would be their wake up time since there would be a 9 am departure and “There BETTER BE hot water”.  There is piping hot water, and mr sandman is stil very much present, or just jetlag denial.


Once up we will go to the railway station, re-up their public transport cards, take the train to Den Haag, use the tram to the beach and boardwalk, and the Kurhaus, which is has new owners.  The new ownership is showing unfortunately.  The Kurhaus used to be one of the pinnacles in service, now the average restaurant is their equal…sad.  From there we take Tram 1 to Delft, along the Vliet, to the stop aan de schiekade where I hired Delft Canal Hopper to take us around like I did with Deb, Sara and Cathy.    A view from the canals.  and we will eat at spijshuis de Dis.

So finally around 9:45 I was able to wake up Megan by serving her coffee in bed and after 30 minutes she took her shower.  Peg did not took the shower !!!!



Off to the railway station when Megan remarked to Peg, you DO have your public transport card with you don’t you ?   uhhhh . back to the barge, to pick up her card and her hat. Added 40 Euro’s to the cards and off we went to Den Haag.   Sat on top of an intercity with a great view.

In Den Haag we stepped onto tram 19, where we were packed like sardines, luckily some left at Madurodam, Holland on a scale 1:25 and the boy with his finger in the dike .  Which never happened but ah well. Got of at the Kurhaus, and we had some patat Oorlog as typical Boardwalk food.  Peg was still hungry, so we sat down of lunch.   Beers for me, Goat cheese salad for Megan and Apple pancake for Peg.

IMG_3171.JPGAnd off to Tram 1 to Delft.  In the tram I called Matthijs from the canal hopper, stating we were on our way and needed a picknick basket ( which was suppose to be lunch  !!!) so I had to call Huszar for food, while discussing food, the word brownie was mentioned and Megan shaked her head, YES legal weed brownies, which was overheard by 3 girls sitting in front of us. That made them giggle a lot, turn around and say they usually taste like shit!

At the stop in Delft it was a short walk to the boat, where Matthijs was waiting already . Huszar had a nice little crate filled with a light white wine, glasses, cheese, brownies ….without the weed which Americans stuff in it..veggie chips, fruit, and water. Matthijs again did a great job showing Delft from below.  And I let him stop at the Fish Market to let us off, for a quick stroll on the Thursday market. Yes they saw the BIG wooden shoe, so here it is….


We did stop at Wapen van Oranje, for some more refreshments, and strolled over to the Beesten Markt, to Spijshuis de Dis.   Because it was such great weather we sat outside, which Megan soooooooo adored is soooooo lovely.  The specials were Halibut and Duck Breast,  so Megan went for the halibut and I went for the breast, Peggy went for the beer braised beef.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Since the Duck Breast was not perfect, and Jan the chef was not there, I was not in the mood to discuss it to much and together with the waiter we decided that giving Megan a Genever tasting would make up for it.  After Hushing Peggy a few times and reading her the riot act, about patience with food and plates NOT being cleared the moment you put the last bite in your mouth dessert came.   Gosh I should have worn a raincoat or protective gear, these girls were going to war over it.


Walking back to the Railway station Megan decided to play a Big slot machine standing in front of the Railway Station and she hit a Jack Pot…a tourist map of Delft.



We took the train to Amsterdam Sloterdijk where we needed to change trains to Zaandam.  Pretty much all 2nd class seats were taken so when we entered the silent 1st class part I just sat down and to quickly meet Mr Sandman.  In Sloterdijk we exited the train, but forgot to check the balance on the public transport cards.  Mine gets up-charged automatic, the ones the girls have not. And you need a balance of 20 Euro’s to enter a train platform.  Because Sloterdijk has two different tracks crossing each other  we had to change track , which means check out and check in .  Well checking out always works, I checked in …and while halfway through the security gate, looked back and saw Megan with big sad eyes looking …..her card would not let in..balance TOOOOOO low.  Another person checked in, and I nudges Megan and Peggy to quickly run through the gate.  I walked to the kiosk to top up their cards, and decide we needed to cheat the NS rail out of about 1 or 2 Euro’s because of the stress they brought the girls.  the next stop was Zaandam and I upped the cards with another 40 Euro’s.  so we came back around 21:30

Drill baby Drill, or is it jetlag

Another sunny dry day.  so 5 am coffee, grab the paint, a few old towels to dry of the top deck and the day starts.   Rolling Yellow paint with a smallis roller, kneeling on a soft pad, so it is semi comfy.  yes the back is hurting.   Today Amsterdam…well….JETLAG reared its head again.

The second coat of paint applied, time for more coffee.  MY dentist appointment was at 12:30 so also some varnishing, Peggy and Megan got up around 9:30 – 10 and made it clear they wanted to shower!.  So I cleared the shower area, turned on the Kabola and started to do the dishes, but the water was not getting hot…..I opened the hatch, and saw the Kabola display indicating warm water requested and the current temp is 27C. BUT no warm water.   Gosh it had worked correctly after Jochem connected it to the new large tank.  IMG_3162.JPGSO I called Ron, the installer, local service man.  After explaining what was going on, he indicated that the burner was not getting any diesel, so I had to turn the pump on and bleed the system.  Meaning I had to use an allen key on the P screw and open it up till there was some diesel coming out.



Well I did so quite a few times BUT no success.  Megan announced loudly she would be happy to take a cold shower today in this heat, since she knew Peggy would be a tad upset about NO hot shower

. (it is called JetLag).  He as an old fart I know it all too well.  I suggested they could take a hot shower at the marina station, unfortunately Peter the marina Boss was out grocery shopping so he would not  be back till 30 minutes. At the same time I kept trying, and then realized it was nearly Drill Baby Drill time.

So quickly washed up and cycled to the Dentist office.  I arrived 3 minutes early and was told to “take a seat” . I used the wait time to get my noise canceling ear blasters ready to play Queen “Live at Wembly”  5 minutes past, 10 minutes past and the receptionist came in apologizing for delaying my appointment and offered something to drink.  To which I flipped out..Any alcohol.  Her eyes became wide, and said No we cant serve that,  my replay was Cola?  The receptionist declared it was bad for the teeth…..I shaked my head and said “Do you think I care ???? I am going to be tortured….”  She offered coffee, which was also bad for the teeth and the dentist would notice.  Off she went…and 2 minutes later the door opens . and the dentists greets me.   She is ready for me…But I had not had my coffee !!!  PURE torture.  ok head phones on, Vapor Rub slathered under my nose I laid down on the chair,  and while Queen was showing of in Wembly the torture started.  The suction was hooked in me like a fish, and I reminded her it was NOT Christmas and I am NOT a carp , as they serve traditionally in Poland.  It did produce a chuckle, again she was very easy, proceeding at what seemed a good pace, and each time I jerked or move making sure I was ok.  There were even a few moment where I felt my feet moving with the tune and twice it seemed I dozed of for a second or so, since I kept my eyes closed.  The routine was the same, and at the end it was all fun.

On my way out I saw Ron called me twice, so I called back and found out that he could come on his way home, around 4 or 5.

Back at the boat I suggested to change plans and go to the Kringloop winkel ( thrift store), and after Ron fixed it , we would go to the beach.   Took Peggy and Megen to the two nice Kringloop winkels Deb likes and entered parked the van on the big parking lot, where we were told to park by the residents.   I was not out of the van or ANOTHER I  have NO life resident started moaning about why can’t you park your car anywhere else.  So I replied, because I don’t want to.


Back at the barge, the girls went into town for some drink and shopping.  I started back in the belly working on the battery fuse, when Ron and Jochem showed up in their cycling clothes.  They cycle about 15 miles each day to work on their mountain bikes.  Ron went in, kept muttering that the tank was not full enough, but in the end decided to come back the next morning with his tools and a different filter.  Hey he does give good service !!





Peggy was exhausted (JETLAG), and needed a rest, boy was I happy I did not took them into Amsterdam !!!  So I took Megan in the van to the beach….wijk aan zee, she was not sure why we would go to the beach at 19:00 ( 7 pm for the 12 hour users).  But she trusted Gruncle Jan.  Arriving at the parking lot I first walked her to the big seashell, which acts as amplifier for the sea sounds.  Getting closer to the beach she was a tad surprised to see many restaurants and bars.  So we had to try some beers on the beach.   I opted to have her try a Straffe Hendrik. IMG_3166.JPG

Back at the barge we did chit chatted a bit until the sun was down around 22:40


Tomorrow Delft !

Can you park you car somewhere else…..or not having a life..

Last year when Marius drove over from Limburg to the boat and brought the sofa cushions, he parked his car.  The moment he opened the hatch to Jan-kees, Daniel popped a bottle of Hertog-Jan for him.  10 minutes later a knock on the door and a stranger peeked in, pointed to Marius and said ” you were going to move your car”.   Bewildered looks from all of us, and Marius explained that the spot he parked on was next to a disabled spot, and the guy who lived in front of it asked Marius to move his car.  So we did.  Fast forward to this year……Every year when we rent a car we rent a small one, and some people commented on that so this year we rented the extra van of Daniel, one reason si to give him some $ and just because it would be handy to move stuff.  Because there was construction on the spot where we normally can park, we had to park in the same street as Marius did last year…do I have to continue…?

So 3 days later we used the van to move some stuff and drive to Renata and Remy.  When we came back we started parking the car in a different spot, and the moment I steered that car onto the spot, a male walked to us qnd asked how long we were going to park there.   I looked bewildered and said one day….he replied it was blocking his mothers view….which view was smaller passenger cars and the other side of the street.  He did tell us there was a BIG parking lot at the end of the street.  But I was too tired to bother, besides the street is PUBLIC parking.  The old lady was quite agitated, because…”YOUR BIG VAN was parked 3 days over there blocking part of everybodies view” The next day we stepped in the truck and started backing up..  I was barely out of my spot and 2 cars stopped, the driver stepped out and were reminding us that there was a BIG parking lot 100 meters at the end of the street, and they don’t like seeing big vans parked here.

Wow I feel sorry for these people who have nothing better to do .

Update…so we parked the car on the BIG EMPTY car lot, and after being gone the weekend…I parked the car there again……while driving into the lot I saw a pair of eyes follow me.   Locked the doors and started to walk away when I heard . ” Can’t you park this van in front of your house” . lol  wow

Can I see your Visa please….

So Deb and I prepared to go to Jan-Kees again.  This time for a longer period.  Luckily we were allowed each two suitcases.  So we packed our usual carry case and each of us packed also the new blue Jan-Kees duffelbag.  Mine was filled with spare parts, a nail gun, the usual dark chocolate M&M’s, pumps, electric and electronic parts.  And so we arrived at CVG as two pack mules loaded up in the high sierra’s.  A short wait and the passports and green card and boarding passed were handed to the Delta agent.  Some typing, some looking to the passports, and then ” May I see your Visa” .   A though like “is she NEW ? crossed my mind” , but I replied nicely…BUT I have handed you my green card!  Sir it is not for you it is Miss Richardson.  You are going to Europe for longer than 90 days so you need a long stay visa.  I nearly bursted out with laughing.  The reason the airline has to ask this, is because if entry would be denied to Deb, Delta would have to provide her a free return trip.  Now the Dutch immigration ( Koninklijke Marechaussee…Royal Military Police) do not use the same interrogation techniques as the INS uses when you return to the US.   They smile, they wish you a happy stay, make jokes.  Luckily I had enough papers with me to show the agent a dutch official letter and explained that Deb’s Visa was waiting for her in Amsterdam.  That was enough for the agent and all 4 suitcases vanished on the belt into the belly of the beast on tis way to the Planes.  The trip was uneventful, except when we arrived in Detroit and got calmed by the underground music and visuals we did felt it needed to grab a cocktail next to the departure gate.

So make sure you have your long term visa 🙂

Oh and just to share this …it is 10 pm and it is still light outside 🙂 . Love this long evenings.

Yes dear we do have storms in Holland

This was one of the wettest and coldest New years periods we have had in Holland for many years.  2 or 3 years ago, the Daffodils were blooming on Jan 3rd.

The boat weathered the first storm very well.  The second one, which became a code Orange it survived also very well.  Only ‘damage’ were the bike were moved by the wind, luckily they were securely attached to the railing, so they did not went into the water.  (Unlike the lock keys with Lew dropped when he visited.  Instead of using the designated keys with the floater, he used the emergency keys, and yes they went into the water, for a more peaceful and quiet life)

bike1 .





fiets .

















The second storm was quite violent, trucks blown of the road, roofs separating from buildings.




Don’t you love banks ?????

Ok so….and this is Christmas, the sound of cheerful Christmas music and lights is showing all over the boulevard here in Altea, close to Benidorm Spain.  But off course your bank has to spoil the festive mood, “for your security”.  So my Itunes account is linked to my American Bank Account  (Huntington bank), because Itunes prefers American debit cards.   Being in Spain and buying an episode on Itunes, ticked of some kind of alert and they block the card!   Even though the days before I have bought a few episodes without problems.   But on Christmas eve you get ‘card declined, …so a minor inconvenience.   I can wait a month or so till I visit the US again, but this  also means any updates from Apple are blocked, because the card is ‘not valid’, which is a real pain.  You can not update apps, security updates etc.

I had to accept making a phone call to the US.  Fine you call, get all the info they need ready, tax ID,  phone number, last deposits etc etc.  I wonder why they don’t ask for color of my underwear?

You call the 24-7 # and the voice prompt first directs you that you NEED to set up a secret pin for “YOUR’ protection, (a.k.a. reducing their liability) . spending a few minutes dealing with that leads you to ……for other questions please call back during business hours.

You call the non 800 # ( which is published for people OUTSIDE the USA, so they realize the world is bigger than the US) and after the series of verifications……”Oh it is a business account..let me connect you ”  and when that answers ” for questions please call back during business hours.”

OK lets try it a second time, and when they started to ask all the security questions I blurt out.  STOP..I am overseas and you blocked my card, I need you to correct this and NOT put me through to a number that says call back during business hours”.  Now I get the security barrage.  BUT I need to say the exact days I am abroad, which is silly.  so after going back and forth I just say DEC 30 2018.   And the final surprise is ….”Sir it wil take 30 – 45 minutes before this is active” .   WOW they use post pigeons?
Gosh how much easier are ABN AMRO and RABO bank, they let you set your limits for your card ( the US bank says for your safety we limit it to $300, in case you loose the card, or you get robbed).   With the Dutch banks, I can set a limit as high as I have . balance,  I can set limits for Europe, or other continents.  Why is the US banking industry behind ?

Have a great Christmas !!!

Beach . Cleanup

August 16

Stared the morning with the second coat of yellow on the back part of the deck, it looks smashing now.  Yes I know I still have to do the edges, but we can not remove rust in the marina with a perago disk


After this we stared the clean-up….closing the propane tans vent, putting the bikes on the top deck, putting some hose over the railing so the paint would not get scratched by the bikes, and finally walking up the bikes and locking them

We put the piece of wood over the skylight and secured the tan canvas over it, making sure the glass can not be broken and it is water protected.

In the afternoon we went to the beach, again Wijk aan Zee ( suburb at see)

We stopped at the beach place on the right this time, and had bitterballen and a nice sandwich


After our latish ‘lunch’ we went for a stroll along and in the water, nice feeling your toes sink into the wet sand and the waves rhythmically crash on your ankles.  The walk took us until  the little beach cottage.  We have to look to see to rent one next time.

And on the way back to the barge we see a familiar name    Dennis a waiter at the Pacific Kitchen, looks likes he has a sandwich shop in Amsterdam now