My first time will not be the last!
Friesland Travel Blog› entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
After months of anticipation the day had finally come when I would go to my first TravBuddy Meet-Up. Organised by Wendy and Rowena a whole weekend of activities had been planned to coincide with the Sneekweek in Friesland, a province in the north of The Netherlands where they both live. Unfortunately I could only be there for a day, but I wasn't going to let a day's sailing on the IJsselmeer pass me by!
I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a car, otherwise I wouldn't even have been able to get there! Public transport on a Sunday morning to the utmost corner of Friesland is not that great as I found out. The earliest I would have been able to get there was after 10am and as the boat was leaving at 9am...
I followed my navigation system and this took me a very scenic route, lots of small roads and lots of pretty things to see along the way. I made a short stop in Sloten and took a few pictures. I then continued on my way and got to Stavoren around 8.15am, the first one to get there as it turned out. I walked around a bit and took some more pictures, and slowly the others started arriving.
As Wendy and Rowena had decided to do the catering themselves there was a lot of stuff to carry on board which was a fun task as we had to cross over to other large sailing ships to get to the one we were going to be sailing on, the Lena Adriana.
More and more people started arriving, and when the group was complete we had some coffee and tea and the traditional Frisian "Suikerbrood". Basically it's a sweet bread made with lots of sugar which then melts into it. Spread with butter and enjoy! Some of us were struggling with a camera as the battery had gotten stuck in it, but low and behold there was someone on board who had thought to bring tweezers of all things so that did the trick! After breakfast we went above deck to have some basic training on knots and sails etc., so we were all able to help a little bit as the crew only consisted of three people, the skipper and two helpers.
We left the harbour on the motor and then raised the sails. There was a good bit of wind and the sun was shining so it was a very good start to the day. Some of us chatted, others just sat or lay down and enjoyed the view and the weather, it was all very relaxing. We crossed the IJsselmeer from Stavoren to Koudum and saw lots of other ships out, some like the one we were sailing on, others more like speedboats. It was just a gorgeous day and I am so glad I finally got to meet some of my fellow TravBuddies! We had some more coffee and tea on deck, with the traditional Oranjekoek, another Frisian delicacy, like a cake.
We stopped in Koudum for lunch which we had to prepare in turns as our stomachs were not as strong as we thought... When we got to Koudum we had to get some other people to move their boats first as there wasn't enough room for ours! Then we had breadrolls with ham and cheese, rolls with mozarella and tapenade (red pesto) and raisinrolls with cheese. To drink there was milk and orange juice. After a discussion about my alcohol free meet-up with Brett and some others we decided to start on the beers Brett had brought. After that there was Beerenburg, more Frisian stuff but a drink this time. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beerenburg) Some drink it straight, some mixed with coke or 7-up.
After lunch I walked around a bit and took some pictures of Koudum. The weather was turning and dark clouds were forming. When we left we were all wondering when the rain would start, the wind was getting stronger and stronger. Eventually it was windforce 6 and the rain started lashing down. A lot of people stayed up on deck, huddled together and covering themselves in jackets and towels. The force of nature is a wonderful thing to see and I really enjoyed it. Guido was sweet enough to share his towel with me and he tried to keep me warm by putting his arm around me too. Eventually most people went below deck though and I must admit that I did too when the water had soaked all my clothes down to my underwear!
We got back to Stavoren a bit earlier than expected and we talked for a little while longer but most people were so wet and tired they all went back to their home or hotel. It was a wonderful experience though and there is already talk of another Friesland meet-up in August next year, so if you can make it, be there!