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I thoroughly enjoyed my week aboard the sailing ship Lefde van Fryslan

14 Jun 2023

Martyn Paterson

I thoroughly enjoyed my week aboard the Lefde van Freslan. The trip was interesting, varied and it all went very smoothly despite some wild, windy days. The ship itself was remarkably comfortable and it was far better than my opinion when I stepped aboard a few years ago. The public areas are spacious and well laid out with plenty of room for all the guests. My single cabin was small, as you know, but adequate with a good size bathroom. It had everything I needed with perhaps a space under the bed to store a suitcase. Other twin cabins onboard were remarkably spacious. The idea of putting up the sails appealed to everyone onboard and there were many enthusiastic helpers. Sails were hoisted, even the topsail, at every opportunity. The crew of just four were brilliant, nothing was too much trouble and nothing phased them. They all worked tirelessly to make everyone’s trip the best it could be and still had time to chat and offer advice where needed. A big thank you goes to chef Peter who’s menu and presentation gave me some of the best meals I have experience on a boat and bike trip. Plus he always had fresh cakes or cookies for afternoon snacks. Brilliant. The bikes, mine an e-bike, worked perfectly, with more than enough battery left at the end of the day. The whole group only had one flat tyre and no mechanical breakdowns during the week and that was quickly dealt with. The itinerary was fascinating, a great mix of wild natural beauty, Dutch culture and history and wonderfully varied cycling paths. I enjoyed the art galleries, museums, a traditional market or two, the coffee shops – especially the Heartbreak Hotel – and the views across the North Sea beaches. I appreciated the widespread internet access. The seafood on the islands and the frites were great, I often came back with my sandwich lunch uneaten. The trails through the woods and beside the sand dunes and polders were great fun. We had more than enough information with the app, map and junction sheet. No one got lost, no one was likely to. I took lots of photos, especially on days when we had brilliant sunshine. I have no hesitation in recommending this trip to anyone who enjoys cycling, including those occasional cyclists, and the romance of a traditional sailing ship. And my goodness, wasn’t it brilliant to see those rows of old and restored sailing boats in every port we visited.

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