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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.

Rondje Dordt, by night

We took the Lady Alison up to Dordrecht for the evening to celebrate the cabin boy's birthday and after a jolly meal in the Olympiada greek restaurant, and a drink in the Tapperij de Harlekijn (waiting for a blues band which was on a perpetual break) we decided that the most fun thing to do for the rest of the evening was to make the dinghy tour round Dordrecht's central canals - the Rondje Dordt.

By the time we'd got the engine in place it was starting to go dark, although not dark enough for us to think of taking a torch with us, which made cruising through some of the tunnels quite exciting. It's in a way even nicer to do in the evening than during the day because the traffic on the main rivers is quiet and you don't get bounced around by the wash, plus the trip boat the Dordtevaar has packed up for the evening.

The detour to the centre of the junction off the Groothoofd is not recommended!