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I’m starting to think that no matter what adventure my expat friends and I embark upon, something will always happen to throw us off course and make for a story no one could have predicted. I’m sure you remember the refrigerator experience and my apartment saga. Since Saturday was to be the warmest day of the year so far, it was suggested that we take the boat out and cruise the canals for the day. And the fun began.

The spread

We grabbed our bikes and rode along Prins Hendrikkade to where the boat was tied up near Centraal Station then piled into the vessel. Things started out great. The weather was fantastic. We stopped after a few minutes to grab some supplies from Albert Heijn (supermarket) so that we could spend the afternoon snacking and drinking on the water. Smooth sailing…or motoring as it were.

The sights on our cruise were beautiful and Amsterdam really comes alive when the sun is shining and the weather warm. Cafes put tables and chairs out on the terraces or along the canals, people are strolling the city, riding bikes, or taking out their boats. There’s so much more to see and it feels so different than in the winter. When it’s cold people seem to be on a mission to get from one place to the next escaping the chill. This time of year, and into the summer as I understand, everyone is outside moving at a slower pace. Enjoying the sunshine, people watching, and living life. The city takes on a whole different vibe.

But as I mentioned at the start no day out goes without some crazy adventure. On this day, the boat motor was the culprit. Rather than putting along as designed the thing quit no less than five times. The first couple weren’t a big deal. The motor would start back up and allow us back on our way. Until…(you knew it was coming) halfway through the day the thing just died and could not get started. The whole motor was locked up and none of us could get it going. Fortunately we had plenty of food, a bottle of prosecco and sunshine. It wasn’t until we got someone else on the phone that it was suggested we check the propellor. Yep, that was it. Somehow a long black strap got wrapped around the prop locking up the engine. The motor was pulled topside, strap unravelled, and an hour after the incident began, we were happily back on our way.

You’d think it would stop there, but no, that would be too easy. Shortly after the strap incident our captain took us from the safe and narrow canals through the city out into open water on the IJ. And, of course, as soon as we were in open water what happens? Yeah, the motor quits again. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get it started a friendly Dutch couple pulled up and gave us a tow back into the canals. Following us was a police boat. The police talked to our saviors about what had happened, then made their way to us. By this time the motor started back up and we were told to stay in the canals. Yes, we’re dumb expats. Sorry police, we won’t let it happen again.

Off we putted, back toward home, inch by inch, the motor giving out a couple more times just to keep it interesting. We made it back safe and sound, really no worse for the wear and with a good little story for this here blog. As stop-and-go as the trip was, it couldn’t have been a better day. I mean, I was on a boat in the canals of Amsterdam with great people on a beautiful day. There really isn’t much more I could have asked for.

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