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Rotterdam-Brielle

Broom friends Jackie and Kelly arrived on Thursday (by Eurostar luckily, as the Icelandic ash cloud had just erupted that morning) and after I picked them up in Brussels we had a fun afternoon of sightseeing starting with lunch by the harbour, followed by a walk along the river to the arboretum, a couple of Leffes in the Cafe Tom Tom, and a high speed ride back to the harbour on the water taxi. If we could have summoned up the energy we were going to go over to the Oude Haven and visit the Mexican restaurant in the evening, but after all the walking we'd already done we were quite keen to fire up the gas wok and have a nice relaxing evening on board.

The Brielse Meer is a popular leisure boating area and one of its features is free island moorings, a bit like in Zeeland, where you can stop for a few days and enjoy the surroundings. There are toilets and bins on the islands but you need to be self-sufficient for water and electricity. Even though it was early in the season there were a few boats enjoying a bit of peace and tranquility and we made a lunch stop on Middenplaat island, before continuing on to the visitors' harbour in the centre of the town.

There was no sign of the HM when we arrived but we bought electric tokens in the Cafe Dixi and arranged a rendezvous by telephone for later that evening - the toilets and showers are controlled by a SEP-key system which you have to pre-load with credit and a deposit, then reclaim what's left before you leave - a bit overcomplicated in practice, especially when there's four of you trying to use it, as you have to leave the key in the slot whilst you shower, watching your money run down if you take too long!