From the Canals of Amsterdam

On Sunday evening we took a tour with the St. Nicholas Boat Club, a non-profit volunteer organization that exists to share the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals. As a group they own two boats (barges, more like) that are from the 1920s, and they take turns captaining the boat and taking tourists around the canals.

This was such a great experience, and far preferable to the many many glass-topped tourist boats in operation in the city!  Diego, our captain, was able to give us all the regular tourist information, but also his personal stories and opinions about some of the places. Also, since the boat was quite smallwe were able to negotiate the smaller canals that the big boats can’t use.

The trip did get a bit chilly towards the end, especially once the sun went down. I’m glad we had our jackets with us! And I can only imagine how miserable it would be if it started raining — the barges are completely open with no cover. But if you manage to get a good hour, as we did, then the experience is really lovely.

Signing up for the tour was a little odd, and can definitely be described as “off the beaten path”.  You have to go to a bar in the Leidseplein area, and sign up in a notebook. (There are no reservations over the internet.) Then we turned up again at the right time, met Diego and our fellow passengers (a couple from Italy), and headed out to the water!  The boat club encourages you to bring your own drinks and snacks, so we picked up some beer to share. Provide them with a decent donation at the end of the tour, and everyone goes home happy.

I hope you enjoy these pictures from our trip. I think this was definitely the highlight of the weekend (well, other than the pancakes!).  I would enthusiastically recommend the St. Nicholas Boat Club, especially for a small group or family who want a more authentic Dutch canal experience.

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Posted on 05/08/2010, in Travel to Europe and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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