Along the River Vecht

The good thing about boating is that you don’t have to stick to a strict plan, and on another extremely hot day the little detour into one of the side lakes of the river, the Loosdrechtse Plassen, was a welcome change. Especially as we were to meet up with Sue and Malcolm who had chosen one of the multiple marinas around this big lake for a month’ stay. 

Like 3 years ago, when we first met in France, Malcolm and Sue caught our ropes and made us welcome. It was an unusual wind still day and the temperature climbed into the high thirties. So cooling off in the lake and drinking plenty of water (among others) were a must. We also gave our rubber tender a bit of a run around while Sue and Malcolm, who were dog sitting, took Jack Russells Harry and Aussie for a lesson of paddle-boarding. We had two wonderful days with great conversation, drinks on deck topped off by watching the lunar eclipse slowing emerging behind some rare rain clouds.

Wind and cooling rain came the next morning when we headed back to the lock. On the waiting pontoon knight Austin spotted 2 ladies in distress. The motor of their weekend tender had stalled for good. We threw them a rope and towed them through the lock to a mooring on the river, where another boat heading north took over from us. 

As we turned south and continued our trip the pretty houses and gardens at the riverside became elaborate mansions with parks. They tell of another time when,in 17th century, the rich Amsterdamers escaped the smell of the canals on horse drawn barges to spend the summer months on the Vecht, and as the roads were unreliable all the entrances of the mansions face the river. 

At those times there was an enterprising mayor of Amsterdam, called Huydecoper. He invested into land along the Vecht. At Maarssen he built the family home “Goudenstein” (Goldenstone) and several other mansions along the river which he sold for profit. 

In a local museum we saw some tiny teacups of this era - not bigger than an eggcup! After hearing that the price for a packet of tea could have bought a house in those times, the size of the cups made sense. The small, pretty tea houses in front of almost every mansion must have been a small expense to pay for showing off that "tea is being drunk here”. 

Just note that here in Holland even boats have babies and houses can float!  

© Austin Robinson 2019