Tag Archives: windmills

Keira starts her studies in The Netherlands.

At the end of January, after almost two months working at the wonderful  Fountaine Inn, Linton, in The Yorkshire Dales National Park (where food is served all day, every day!), Keira set off to Leiden University in The Netherlands to do an MA in Literary Studies.  She has a flat share in The Hague and can commute by bicycle and train to and from Leiden with relative ease.

Happily, I was able to tag along with her for a few days to help her settle in but mainly in order to build her flat pack wardrobe and desk!!!

The sluicegate house – with a slight drunken lean.

We were able to spend a lovely day sightseeing in Amsterdam.  It was a great day despite rather wet weather.

 

 

The main square in Amsterdam

 

 

 

 

We walked absolutely miles and, in a particularly torrential downpour, found ourselves in a Cheese Museum

where we  must have eaten a kilo of cheese from their tasting board.  Who knew that Gouda could have so many variations?  My favourite was a mature cheese flavoured with roasted cumin seeds.

After a sobering visit to the Anne Frank Museum we returned to Den Hague, eating some delicious fast food falafel en route.

 

On the Tuesday, Keira attended her orientation in Leiden whilst I completed the flat pack job.  I joined her in the afternoon for the Mayor’s welcome speech to all four hundred plus international students starting at the half way stage of the academic year.  He was very amusing.  The student body seems very well organised.  There were lots of offers of support and assistance, discounts and social events that made me wish I was starting my studies again.

A pretty windmill and bridge with the reflection of the moon in the water.

We were taken on a tour of Leiden which is just so pretty;  with its arching bridges over the many canal cuttings criss-crossing the town and its beautiful windmills slicing the sky and making wonderful silouettes.

On my last evening, we tried out a well known Surinamese restaurant in the centre of The Hague.  The food was an interesting mix of Asian and Indonesian, Caribbean and European.  There were some items that we had never tasted like casava chips; we had a veritable feast for a few Euros.

I returned to the UK in time to take over from Erin who had come up North to look after Ian post hernia operation.  He is recovering nicely thanks to her ministrations.  Keira is enjoying her course and life in The Netherlands.

Our Dutch girl

Next:  Sarah heads back to India after a gap of 35 years.

 

Leaving Naxos after one month (Testing the engine)

Octopus drying on the quay in Naxos

We finally waved goodbye to harbourmaster father and son team Nikos and Makos in Naxos.  They wryly commented that we should have asked for the monthly mooring fee.  We returned to Paros.  We anchored in the south west part of the bay of Naoussa and enjoyed a fine afternoon swimming and snorkeling.  Erin spotted a beautiful starfish for us all to admire.

After a super calm night, we headed north in great winds to Finikas.  Arriving with a flurry of charter yachts, we were hoodwinked into thinking that the quay would be a good place to be overnight, despite forecasts of strong southerly winds in the night.  Foolish error!

We were awoken from fitful sleep by the grating noise of the spreaders and stays clashing with those of the neighbouring boat.  We managed to pull forward so that the rocking would be safer and went back to bed.  Ten minutes later, Erin shouted out, ‘Boat!’ in a tone of great alarm.  She had popped her head out of the forward hatch and to her amazement saw a charter yacht pinned across our bow at 0400h in the morning, in the dark!

We all dashed on deck to fend off this yacht.  Another departing yacht had tripped its anchor and so they were forced to leave in some haste.  On motoring out, they wrapped a rope round the propeller so they had no power.  Left to the devices of the strengthening wind, they were blown along the bows of the boats on the quay, stopping at us because they fouled their keel on our anchor chain.


After hours of fending, our anchor finally gave up and their keel was free. They continued to bounce along every single bow along the quay finally stopping about 2 metres from some rocks.  Ian helped them to get their anchor down and then they waited for the coastguard to arrive to tow them to safety.

Our massive stern fender was burst and numerous other damages were incurred in the night when the charter yacht hit us.

In the meantime, we were all busy on Linea.  First, we pulled the anchor as tight as it would go.  Then, we kept the engine on in case we need to motor forwards at all.  We tried to limit the damage as much as possible whilst this boat was pressing us back against the quay. Tthe swell was lifting us higher than the quay and it is a miracle that the rudder didn’t get damaged.  Josh was doing sterling fending off with the popped fender.

Ian eventually came back to the boat and we decided that since it was almost dawn and we were not happy with our anchor we would leave.  The boat on our starboard side had to leave first since their anchor chain was lying right over ours.  We motored to the anchorage on the other side of the bay.

After a few hours nap we were beginning to see the humorous side of the story.  We still couldn’t quite believe all that had happened during the night.  We were mightily relieved not to have incurred more damage.  The boat next to us had not been nearly so lucky; having its stern constantly smashed into the quay.

Josh and Erin chilling on the deck

We moved on to the practically deserted island west of Mykonos and had a wonderful night in a perfect cove with Delos in the distance.  A beautiful place to calm the nerves.

On Wednesday we set off to Mykonos, as Josh and Erin had bought fantastically cheap flights back to Manchester from there.  (£38 each)  We anchored in the bay south of town and sat out the evening’s strong winds.

There was time for some last minute hair braiding and back gammon championships.

Next day, we caught a bus to explore the lanes, whitewashed churches and bijoux shops in town.  We walked round to meet up with Stephen and Gilly for a swift beer and to catch up on their island-hopping adventures.

It was a pleasant wander round Little Venice, past the windmills and up and down the steps on the hill.  The town was thronged with doddering cruise ship passengers.

During the very wet journey back to the boat to collect bags,  we saw yet another inflatable toy somersaulting across the bay.  We managed to catch it and the girls were very happy with their swan (Susan).  All too soon, it was time to bid a fond farewell to Erin and Josh.  They headed to the airport and we went back for another windy night in Ormos Ornos.

During the last few days, we have switched the engine on and off a total of eight times and all seems to be well.  We are gradually gaining more confidence that the fuel is clean and the pipes are clear.  Phew!