Kayak Elfstedentocht
Part 2

Dag 4 Franeker - Berlikum - Vrouwen Parochie 21 km
Dag 5 Vrouwen Parochie - Bartlehiem - Leeuwarden - Weidum 34 km
Dag 6 Weidum - Sneek - IJlst 21 km

Vrouwen Parochie


Today no cities: we are up in the north of Friesland. We see a lot of birds, and we save a lamb that has fallen in the water and can't get out. In Vrouwen Parochie we find a nice camping (next to a windmill). During the day it is pretty warm (and even better in the sauna), but at night we are glad we have warm sleeping bags.

Leon in kayak

It's really cold at night


(missing Dokkum 5)

This is the very famous little bridge at Bartlehiem. In the Elfstedentocht, you're supposed to follow the water under the bridge to Dokkum and back. We decided to cheat and skip Dokkum, saving us almost 30 kilometres.

The famous Bartlehiem bridge

Yellow flowers

Ok ok, you can't really call it Elfstedentocht without Dokkum. But hey, we do this for FUN. So instead of turning right to Dokkum we go straight on to Oudkerk and continue towards Leeuwarden.

Leeuwarden (6)

Near Leeuwarden there is another famous bridge. From a distance, you see a couple of skaters. When you get close, you find out they are formed by the portraits of a lot of people who ever skated the Elfstedentocht. The name and the years they rode the tour are on the tile as well.

Ice skating bridge

Elfstedentocht skaters
There are a lot of famous skaters, and there is even a system to find them back. But we liked the normal people the most.

Ehhh .... can you call someone who skates over 200 kilometres in one day really normal ???

Leeuwarden is the capital of Friesland. There are a lot of museums and other sites to be seen. But we have been here before - for instance at the Princessehof, the ceramics museum. Here one of Leon's pictures can be seen, as a background for ceramics.

So this time we don't stay very long in Leeuwarden. We park our kayaks just outside the city centre, get our stamp and a cup of soup, and move on.

Too bad we didn't know about this nice low jetty you can see at the picture on the right. It's right next to the Waag, exactly at the centre of Leeuwarden. That would have been a perfect place for our kayaks.

Waag and jetty


Reflecting Mirjam

Around Leeuwarden it's hard to find a camping on the route. It is not too late and everything is going fine, so we go on, to the camping at Weidum.

American windmill in Weidum

Weidum is a village in the 'empty middle' of Friesland. But don't think Weidum is boring. It has a church, a restaurant .... and an American windmill. Next to the church we watch the people play a Frisian game, called 'kaatsen'.

Sneek (7)

Again a nice little city, with a city hall and lots of canals. And, happily, a lot of terraces where you can have lunch.

Bridge in Sneek

Town hall in Sneek

You can do a lot of things in Sneek, apart from lunches on terraces. There is a maritime museum, a lot of authentic houses, you can see how a kind of cake, 'drabbelkoek', is made, or you can have a taste of an alcoholic drink with a lot of herbs.

We visit non of these attractions. Instead, we go to the train station. Here is a museum with model trains. As we visit every museum with model trains, we can't skip this one. And it is a real nice museum, with a lot of replica's.

Model Railway Museum


The water gate is the best known building of Sneek. You can see new married couples taking pictures here, and we can imagine why. We are one of the few people who sail through the gate: it is not very deep here. And a bit further, there is a low bridge over the canal, so we are stopped here as well.

IJlst (8)

Only a few kilometres from Sneek lies IJlst, a village-like city with a lot of green. The grass along the canals is property of the houses on the other side of the street, so you can see benches and so.

 IJlst is very GREEN

Kwik, Kwek, Kwak, Kwok, Kwuk, Kwyk and so on

Our kayaks are called after the three most famous ducks: Kwik, Kwek and Kwak as they are called in Holland (or Huey, Dewey and Louie in America). These little ducks are checking out Mirjam's kayak: "Kwik, Kwek". Of course, Leon's kayak is called "and Kwak".

I'm a lumberjack

The windmill was used for sawing. It has a surprising name: "The Rat". We hope that is not because there are a lot of rats around: our camping is close to the windmill.