"It's all Japanese," we were told twice, by two different Dutch friends. Japanese? "Tourists," they had continued, "taking photos," they motioned 'click!' 'click!' with their index fingers taking a snapshot of both me and Brian using their pretend cameras while we listened to these descriptions of Volendam. Hmmm, tourists. Usually we avoided these locations. "But nice to see," each friend had concluded; unbelievably we'd had the same conversation twice! Brian and I were still on a high from our new spin of making longer-term plans. Why not!?
There is no better time for visiting touristy places than during the off-season. We motored into Volendam's harbor and had our choice of quayside, with no evidence of any need for rafting-up that evening. There were four other boats. Ferry's proceeded to come and go, yet the streets were uncrowded. Buses were parked in the nearby lot, yet there were many vacant cafe tables. Volendam is a popular excursion location for tourists; there are several ways to easily arrive from Amsterdam and the town is portrayed as a "...fantastic trip back into Old Holland." Shopkeepers are often dressed in authentic garb, the harbor is typically lined with Dutch barges, and fish markets advertise 'Nieuwe Haring' as the local delicacy (delicious, and very traditional, pickled herring served with raw onions - yes we've tried it!) We strolled the main street and browsed souvenirs; wooden shoes, tulips, cheese wheels, windmills... and then took a step back to admire the beauty of Volendam.
It was nice to see fishermen at the quay, hopeful, each bobbing his line up and down. It was nice to see elders seated in a cozy street corner, watching each visitor stop to strike a pose with the statue across the sidewalk. It was nice to see a neighborhood cat on the prowl. It was nice to see local dudes, gathered on a bench on the dike brainstorming their next misadventure. It was nice to see local young girls, walking the dog, stepping over the construction barricade across a canal bridge for the shortest route home. Oh what stories they could all tell about their bustling, touristy, main street!
It was a crisp, November evening. We settled onto our cockpit cushions with beers in hand and a blanket across our laps. We'd set the cockpit LED lights to a low, glowing yellowish-orange to mimic the town's evening attire. Through the exterior speakers familiar 80's tunes played on the randomly selected radio station. From the galley, scents of a pumpkin baking in the oven, presently overflowing with its stuffing of crisp bacon, bubbling cheese, soft bread, and tart apples invited us back inside for supper. These touristy locations aren't so bad!
And the next morning at least three, possibly Japanese, definitely Asian tourists posed themselves atop Detour
's lifelines - yes, actually with a foot on the deck - for a photo with our American flag flying and Volendam in the background. Just like that, we were part of the show!