Swapping Homes Anybody?


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Houeseboat with a Barn

Amsterdam is such a lively, bustling city. Are people getting younger everywhere or is this a typical Dutch phenomenon? And most of them swish by on bikes.  Except for the tourists who are on foot or on sightseeing trips around the Grachten (canals), fiets  (bicycles) are everywhere. Welcome to the Netherlands! (Bikes with a motor btw are called brummfiets. Brumm equals vroom!).

Although the houseboat we’re staying on is a mere 9km from the city center (the distance I drive to our next Publix!), it’s just as busy where the house boat is in a maze of little canals, rivulets and lakes. The occasional bridge or lock connects everything. Houseboats are both, a lifestyle apparently, and a necessity that a shortage of building spaces brings with it.

If you are a boating person, this may be definitely for you: Tight quarters and practical solutions to dealing with little space! Our boat has a huge living room/kitchen/dining area, but the “masterbed” is about the size of two coffins placed next to each other. Call it cozy, call it crammed. It is certainly very hot in this one in spite of the window now that the weather has turned muggy.

On the other hand, it also has big walk-in closet/ dressing room. Winding, narrow staircases make for adventurous trips down to the washer and dryer which are both housed in closets. A distinct whiff of musty probably has to be expected on a boat. We never lived on one. But ferries and cruise ships have it.

We learned a new meaning to the word “floater”. It’s a plastic device that you attach to your keys, because they are easily lost when stepping over the gap from the plank way to the boat. For the worst case scenario that you actually drop your keys, there is a big magnet in the barn that can be used to retrieve them. Except we couldn’t find the barn. We walked alone the two sides of the houseboat where the entrance is and on the deck in front, but no barn. The Farmers’ Ex wife in me expected a shed, it turned out to be one of the rooms under deck that the owners uses as a work shop.

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 The variety of bikes here is amazing, as a means of transport essential to daily life. Some are adorned.
A lot are in dubious shape, deliberately so- we're told-  for usage in the city. "Otherwise they only get stolen."

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