This is the Woonschip Rodeur.
It’s a houseboat. It’s a bed-and-breakfast. It’s a home away from home. It’s a quiet refuge. And it’s only a 15-minute tram ride from Amsterdam Central Station.
The Rodeur was a barge in its former life, but it has been fitted with all modern conveniences like central heating, hot and cold running water, and electricity.
It comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, complete with pots, plates, cutlery, an electric kettle and a coffee maker. It’s also got a washing machine. There’s a TV with a built-in DVD player in each bedroom. And its bathroom, which has a porthole window, has a shower and bathtub.
The Rodeur has two bedrooms.
Room 1 is the smaller of the two. It has a four-poster double bed, a couple of rattan chairs, as well as a TV and DVD player. Room rate is €50 per night for single occupancy and €80 for double occupancy. Room 1 may be smaller, but it’s on the ground floor and is right next to the bathroom.
Room 2 is much, much larger, has more windows and, thus, looks brighter. It also has a double bed (a regular one, not four-poster), plus a sofa and some chairs on one corner, together with a TV and DVD player. Room rate is €60 per night for single occupancy and €90 for double occupancy. For its size, it’s definitely worth the extra €10 per night. And don’t worry about it not being on the ground floor because you only need to go up a small ladder to go up. Oh, maybe 6 or 7 steps?
That settles the ‘bed’ part of this bed-and-breakfast.
As for the ‘breakfast’ part, now that’s something that the Rodeur’s owner, Saskia, takes great pride in. But make sure to tell her your special requests in advance, if any, so that she’ll have time to make the necessary preparations. For me and Lola, we wanted a meat-free breakfast but I forgot to tell Saskia in advance.
Despite the short notice, Saskia still managed to impress us with a very filling and truly surprising breakfast spread. First off, she served us fresh eggs which came from her own chickens. (They can’t come any fresher than that!) Then, there was a basket filled with several types of breads and muffins. There were two types of jams (homemade, of course) as well as four types of cheeses — Gouda (which Holland is famous for), Old Amsterdam (a more mature cheese), goat’s cheese (surprisingly without the usual goat-y smell), and a type of cheese with cumin in it. There was freshly squeezed orange juice and freshly brewed coffee, made and served personally by Saskia herself, and two cups of yogurt.
The best part of the breakfast for me? Hagelslag, of course! Chocolate sprinkles! For breakfast! Isn’t it crazy? But it’s true — the Dutch do eat chocolate sprinkles for breakfast! Click here to see my previous post on this yummy Dutch treat.
The rooms can be rented separately so, depending on your luck, you could end up sharing the common space, which is the lounge/kitchen and the bathroom. We were lucky enough to have the place all to ourselves that night. We did our laundry, we had dinner, we browsed through the DVDs that were by the breakfast table and we watched — of all things — ‘Dirty Dancing’! (Hey! I’ve never seen that movie and have always wanted to know why it made Patrick Swayze so famous.) Imagine watching ‘Dirty Dancing’ with your mom as you are both sprawled on a four-poster bed ;)
And since the boat is on the water, there will be a very slight, almost imperceptible rocking movement that’s just enough to rock you gently to a deep and peaceful slumber, but not to induce any feelings of nausea or seasickness.
Oh, and there’s another surprise that awaited us in the morning — a pair of friendly mallard ducks who swam right up our bedroom window :D
Please take note of two things:
1) The Rodeur is just one tram ride from Amsterdam Central Station. However, you’d have to be alert because, even though each of the stops are announced, Dutch words are pronounced very differently from how they’re spelled. Luckily, there’s also an electronic display of the names of the tram stops. So keep your eyes glued there so you don’t miss your stop: Zuiderzeeweg [pronounced as zhaw-der-zhey-wekh]. Thanks to the staff of Shelter City Hostel for teaching me the proper pronunciation of that word!
2) From Zuiderzeeweg tram stop, you’d have to walk for some 5-10 minutes to get to the boat. The road is cobbled most of the way, except for the parking lot which has asphalt a.k.a. tar which you have to walk through, and goes a bit uphill. The cobblestones were a pain to my aching, blistered feet and the uphill road made my bag feel twice as heavy towards the end. Luckily, Saskia gave us the perfect parting gift on the morning of our departure — she drove us all the way to Amsterdam Central Station without charging a single Euro.
The Rodeur was such a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the Amsterdam city centre. I found Amsterdam too crowded with tourists, who, I dare say, have practically taken over the city. They’re in every street corner, restaurant, coffee shop, park, shopping centre. They’re everywhere! Take Leidseplein, for instance. The crowd there on a normal day is so massive, you’d think there was a concert or something just as big going on when, in reality, they’re just there for drinks and socializing, as the police — some on foot, some on horseback — keep an eye over the mob crowd. Surprisingly, the museums, although well-visited by tourists, were not as crowded.
The Rodeur felt so much like a home away from home and it was comforting to know that, in case we needed anything, Saskia was just next door, as she and her husband live on the other half of the Rodeur.
I will never forget our brief stay at the Rodeur and I highly recommend it to anyone who is keen on trying something new yet truly Dutch. Click here to find more information about the Rodeur and to make your reservation. And when you’re finally in Zuiderzeeweg, enjoying the peace, quiet, and cool breeze at the terrace of the Rodeur, please don’t forget to give Saskia my regards!
Update (12 May 2010):
I am sad to inform you that the Rodeur B&B has been closed, as Saskia and family have moved to France.