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Through Utrecht

I had finished responding to the flood of comments, analysis and advice from the book club on my Posted As Missing, so on Monday, 15 May, I slipped my moorings in Nieuwegin, a southern suburb of Utrecht. After a half kilometre, the Hollandse IJssel ended, and I entered the Merwede Kanaal, following it northward. Less than two kilometres along, I locked down a metre to the level of the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal, I squirted through the heavy barge traffic and the turbulent chop of the wakes to cross the broad canal and lock up a metre to the level of Utrecht.

Pleased to be again in placid waters, I relaxed and motored toward the centre of the city. Rather than continuing on the Merwede, I opted to follow the narrow, twisting Vaartse Rijn and wind through the heart of Utrecht.

After waiting for my sixth lift bridge of the day, I entered the fifteen-hundred-metre stretch with fifteen gracefully arched brick bridges. The chart showed them to all be high and wide enough to allow Zonder Zorg to pass, though most proved to require tight manoeuvring.

Many of the bridges are on bends, and manoeuvring in and out of them kept me busy on the tiller.

I had thought of pausing to explore the city again, but I found the moorings unattractive and poorly sited. The high fees further dissuaded me, particularly having to pay for services I wouldn't use, such as toilets and showers and electricity. I continued on, and then locked down the metre to the Vecht.

Four kilometres northward, I moored in the middle of the wilderness on a modern structure set three metres from shore. Though I had come only thirteen kilometres, I had passed through three locks and under thirty-one bridges, more than half of them narrow and tricky. I also had had to wait for eight of the bridges to be lifted. After nearly four hours of work, I needed a break.

I have a strong cell phone connection here, the and the mooring is free for three days. This is the type of facility I prefer. Now the peaceful meanderings of the River Vecht and its quaint communities lie before me. I think I'll pause a while and get caught up on reading, writing and editing.

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