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De Efteling

A visit to the fairy kingdom...

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Leiden - At leisure in resort

I've been to Leiden a couple of times before but I've never had much chance to see the sights, but this time, as Admiral of the fleet, I had to prove that my recommendations were sound and so it was on a sunny Saturday afternoon that three intrepid Broom owners lowered their dinghies from the davits and set off on the Rondje Leiden. The network of canals are teeming with small boats at the weekend so we fitted right in, although the king size sloop is more the thing to have. During our stay we also managed to fit in a trip to the Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanic gardens in the Netherlands, and one of the oldest in the world. The new Winter Garden houses the sub-tropical and carniverous collections.

Rondje Pontje, with pancakes

When we visited at Easter, the cabin boy and I had done the Rondje Pontje (which translates as a cute little bike ride with cute ferries!) from Gorinchem and since my crew had brought their bikes all the way from Newcastle I figured they'd love to give it a go too. Since we had a party of mixed cycling enthusiasm we opted for just the 21km rather than the 30km version, which crosses the Afgedamde Maas at the lock that we'd come through the day before, rather than the foot ferry further south.

I accidentally led the party on the clockwise version of the circuit, which finishes up passing by the Pannekoeken ship in Woudrichem and so it was inevitable that a refreshment stop would be necessary. We took an extra detour to Sleeuwijk so the cabin boy could collect his car, but found the Sleeuwijk-Gorinchem ferry doesn't run on Sundays, so cycled an extra 4.5km back to Woudrichem to return instead from there.

A trip to the beach

Our trip from Heusden to Sleeuwijk included a detour for an afternoon visit to the beach at the end of the Dode Maas Arm, off the Afgedamde Maas.

We'd been here the previous summer when it was scorching hot, and it is a great spot to swim or play with the water toys when the weather permits. This year was not quite so sweltering and on a Friday afternoon we had the place to ourselves.

Boats can anchor overnight or tie to the shore if their draught permits, but we normally just stop there during the day, preferring the mod cons of a shore-side mooring for an overnight stop.

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