Sunday, 17 August 2008

above the arctic circle

After lunch I saw from my window that the guerilla coffee makers of 'bakkie in de buurt' had once again set up on the square. Since I hadn't had any coffee yet I went downstairs and asked them politely for a cuppa. They said they were sorry but they'd just ran out of coffee and were cleaning up and leaving.

'bakkie in de buurt,' but no more coffee

Rejected I took the #37 bus to Zeeburg, where I got off. I wanted to walk around the island and then take the bus home again.

I took the Zuider IJdijk, which leads to the Zeeburg camping site. There were lots of people walking with backpacks and daypacks, all going to or coming from the camping. There's also quite a large 'artist' community on Zeeburg, living in old, colourful caravans.

caravans, stuck in the 60's

Turning right at the corner where the camping site is to the left it was very quiet all of a sudden. You could practically see the whole length of the island all the way to the Oranje locks and there was not a soul in sight.

amsterdam-rhine canal, looking towards the harbour

Halfway to the locks I saw the Rembrandttoren, only this time it was the name of a huge barge going down the Amsterdam-Rhine canal.

compulsary photo of the rembrandttower

From the corner of the camping site to the locks I met only three people, foreign tourists who were looking at their maps instead of the sights.

My original plan was to turn right at the locks and make my way back to the bus stop. Instead I walked through the gates surrounding the locks. They were open, so I thought they'd just kick me off the grounds if I was trespassing. It turned out this was an allowed bicycle- and walking path, even though it is on private grounds. It just wasn't signposted on this side of the locks.

I zigzagged across the lock doors until I had to stop for a lock that was opening to let the boats in. The lock keeper was explaining to a little boy who was also waiting how the locks work. He really took his time with the kid. Interesting, too. I always like it when somebody is proud enough of their work to explain it to all who will stop to listen.

oranje locks: doors closing

I had to wait twice; they were running two locks in tandem: incoming and outgoing.

oranje locks: boats waiting for the doors to open

Next to the new locks are the remains of the old locks system. These brick piers used to hold pumps between them which would expel water from the harbour into the Zuiderzee / IJsselmeer. The middle one is now a fish ladder.

oranje locks: the old pumping weirs

I had landed in North on the Noorder IJdijk and turned left onto the Schellingwouderdijk. This is an old area where the dike houses are built on at least two levels: streetlevel and what would be the basement at the bottom of the dike.

dike houses on schellingwouderdijk

I continued on Schellingwouderdijk and got more and a yearning for a cup of coffee.

coffee time

At the end of Schellingwouderdijk I continued on Nieuwendammerdijk. There was a pub near the church where I finally got my first cup of coffee in the day. Magic!

view on nieuwendam

The houses on Nieuwendammerdijk are also dike houses; i.e. more levels. They're also more colourful than the ones on Schellingwouderdijk. These type of houses are traditional for the area; they're also amongst the few houses in Amsterdam that are built out of wood planking.

green dike house on nieuwendammerdijk

Somewhere around here I met Robert-Jan Banus, an old Mulligans hand. He lives in the area near where I made landfall and had made basically the same walk as I did, but clockwise. I was doing it widdershins.

blue dike house on nieuwendammerdijk

I continued on Nieuwendammerdijk until I got to the end at Meeuwenlaan. It was 17:00, it was getting real cloudy (rain cloud type of cloudy) and my feet hurt. I was around the corner from Danny's house but didn't go and visit. I took the #32 bus to CS instead. At CS I got the #9 tram home.

#9 tram on central station

Just after I arrived home Marion sms'ed me asking me if I wanted to come to Mulligans at 19:00. I was knackered and still had to eat so I declined. It started to rain five minutes later…


Juf Jo said...

Wow, I love the area with all those old houses.

Vincent said...

I can't believe where you walk man! It's unreal that all that beauty is so close to the big city.

That "caravan" looks like a train car...