We are have boarded the Amsterdam Pancake Boat and are waiting to set sail… the area of the harbour where we are docked is filled with some very interesting vessels, and rather an odd mix to be standing alongside each other.
There’s the ferry busy unloading and loading the masses who are going to or returning from the flea market, there’s a restored tall masted schooner called the gulden leeuw (golden lion) that started life as the “dana”, a 1937 biological research ship for the Danish ministry.
These days people can sign up to join her professional crew on short seagoing holidays to places like the Orkney’s (Scotland) or from Falmouth in England to Denmark, Germany or Sweden. (more information and better photos than mine in the links)
Then there’s the replacement Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace vessel that replaced the original Rainbow Warrior, sunk in New Zealand’s Auckland Harbour in 1985 by French agents who wanted to prevent Greenpeace from interrupting nuclear tests on the Pacific atoll of Moruroa.
There’s no missing the massive “Botel”, you guessed it, a hotel on a boat… and at one hundred and seventy-five cabins, a big one at that.
It’s advertised as a reasonably priced place to stay: I’ve never been there and couldn’t vouch for how good it is but it certainly would be a very “different” sort hotel to stay at for a night and I think it might be fun. I like that fact that you are in a harbour and the ship is big enough that even serious land-lubbers like me would find it steady enough to mange a comfortable stay. (note: I’m such a infamously bad sailor that once in bad weather I even managed to be sea sick on a ship that had only just left the dock by a few metres) http://www.amstelbotel.nl/
Then something very unexpected: a submarine! Some research tells me it’s a “soviet Zulu 5 class B-80″ which probably tells expects and happy sub mariner hobbyists all they need to know, but is lost on me. Apparently the owners were/ are trying to rent it out as a party boat (with limited success) so the poor vessel sits doomed awaiting a scrap metal yard. That seems a great shame to me, surely it could be resurrected as a tourist attraction or museum or something? http://www.comtourist.com/history/b-80-submarine/
All in all it’s a very mixed assortment of sea going vessels in close proximity to each other…variety is the spice of life and apparently the Dutch melting pot continues on the water front (although maybe I wouldn’t say the word “melting pot” too loudly to the poor submarine.)