Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Guidebook research XIII: Sneek

Snits (aka Sneek)
Idle moment in the train station of Leeuwarden. I had to wait a while for the train to Sneek. The train finally arrived -- run by Veolia -- and filled with people. A lot of people are going to Sneek (pronounced 'snake'). The ride took less than 20 minutes. Some grizzled dudes were drinking beer from cans and rolling cigarettes by the door.
(original date of this entry: June 29, 2015)

Waterpoort (1613), former gateway to Sneek's harbor

Arriving in Sneek I had to figure out the route to my vriend op de fiets. A bit complicated as canals cut through the street pattern and there are few bridges. I had to schlep my bike over a high arched footbridge, then came to an ancient tower on a rise--Sneek's signature water tower. On the other side there were only steps--lacking the customary track for bicycles. A left turn, another bridge over a a canal and then I was on Woudvaartkade going by little old brick fishermen's dwellings alongside a harbor. I found no 58--easy to remember, my age--and Meneer Godert Dijkstra was sitting in front. I moved left, unexpected by the Asian woman close behind me with her child, and she cried "Whoa!" but an accident was avoided. Dijkstra a large 60ish man with a mane of white hair. Nice slow-moving man who speaks English well. Showed me to my little room overlooking the harbor and made me a cup of tea. Told me he'd been helping out his brother, milking cows all day. He was tired but we chatted for a bit. I took a shower and went to bed.

Home with a view: Woudvaartkade, Sneek
I like my residence, humble as it is, with its view of the harbor. The other member of the household is Godert's son, Leonard, who is from Kenya. I found out that Godert had lived in that east African nation for 20 years, farming tea and flowers. In fact the two are heading there soon. They've got some pet rabbits in the backyard.

Southwest Friesland lake district

My breakfast was meager but the coffee was good and strong. I dutifully did my research in the morning than headed out to De Potten, recommended to me by Godert: a small lake on the way out to the much larger Sneekermeer, a ride of half an hour or so. It's a relaxed, tranquil spot. I could live in Sneek. I like the maritime vibe.

It was a good idea to stay another day in Sneek and take it easy, despite my desire to return home. I need to know this place and not just for the book. It might be said that the research is done. Only Hindelopen and Utrecht remain. And I've covered everything and more.

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