if you read my latest sunday synopsis post, you'll know that this sunday i spent the evening in a boathouse in amsterdam. when my dad, his girlfriend and myself arrived in amsterdam and began walking down a dock, it wasn't until my dad explicitly said that we were staying on a boat that it ever occurred to me – in my defence, there was a huge house on the dock and i was convinced that was the 'b&b' i'd been told we were staying in (sneaky) – because i didn't actually know that boathouses were a thing. foolish of me, i know, but i can't particularly say i was ever that clued up on the dutch lifestyle. d'oh.
after i carefully clambered onto the boat and down its steps, i entered the kitchen and living area on the right. it all felt really quaint and rustic and i was pretty convinced i'd entered a time warp; vinyls and old school new york photographs decorated the walls, a television was replaced by a record player, and the yellow curtains gave the place a strange dingy glow that all, to me, felt very 70s. to sum it up, it was adorable. extremely cosy and very different to any other form of accommodation that i've stayed in within the years of my life that i've been old enough to mentally take note.
the bedrooms on the boat were no different, minimally decorated with lamps that were no doubt around long before my conception, garish floral bedding and ceilings so low even a 5'2 person like myself felt like a giant. due to how simply the boat was kitted out, there wasn't really much in it to do rather than to sit around in the kitchen/living area as a family and make your own entertainment, which i assume was a deliberate doing to try and keep the atmosphere of the boat in tune with the decoration of it. it did however have wifi, which came in handy for quickly checking my social media and emails before heading off to bed for the evening; well, you can't completely cut out the modern day, right?
with the boat being so empty, it obviously left room for more inhabitants than just the three of us, and this was made apparent upon our arrival back to the boat late on the sunday evening where we were greeted by just a few too many spiders, and when you're as big an arachnophobe as i am, it becomes something of an issue. luckily for me my dad and his girlfriend swiftly moved the unwanted lodgers on and i was then able to enjoy a cup of mint tea before retreating to my bed for the evening, where the various creaks and rocking of the boat in the wind made for something of a hard night's sleep; i woke up at around 4am convinced that someone had hopped on board on the upper deck, but it turned out to just be the normal noises you experience when sleeping on a boathouse. who'da knew?
the morning after was something of a struggle with restricted sink, toilet and shower access due to the low roof in the boat, so if you wanted to shower you had to head out of the boat to a nearby shower cubicle to get yourself clean for the day, which becomes a little bit of a faff if you've as many shower products to cart over as i do. needless to say, i skipped the shower that morning and did my best in the boat's sink knowing i'd have access to a more suitable shower once we arrived home on the monday evening. a bit of dry shampoo and my hat helped to hide the multitude of sins hiding on my head, so it all turned out alright in the end.
all in all, staying in a boathouse was definitely a different experience. i think for an evening or two it's definitely cosy and would, i imagine, cater to most people's needs for a short trip. if i were to stay in amsterdam any longer than a weekend however, i think i'd have to opt for something a little bit more modern with a more accessible bathroom and a location away from the docks where i could have a peaceful night's sleep without the fear of any unwanted guests attempting to share my bed with me throughout the night (spiders, ahem.) i wouldn't consider myself a massive diva, but staying in a place where everything was simply the bare minimum has highlighted to me that i like my creature comforts, and the option to shower privately and comfortably is definitely one of them. i've camped briefly in the past when attending leeds festival and managed to survive the week without washing properly, but when everyone around you is in exactly the same boat (heh), it all just feels a little less gross. however, when visiting a city and getting on with life pretty much normally, it just didn't feel right to me to have bathroom access restricted as it was, and it all left me feeling just a little bit gross. i've never really been fussy about accommodation provided it's clean, comfortable and provides me with somewhere to comfortable sleep and wash, but i think this brief stay in a boathouse has opened my eyes to the fact that i'm definitely more suited to somewhere a little bit more suited to the modern person. heck, it wasn't even a technology issue for me, just privacy and cleanliness; i'd have traded in the wifi for the night for my own ensuite bathroom!
have you ever stayed in a boathouse or something similar? how do you think you'd fare with such minimal living facilities? i'd love to hear your stories! i'll also be uploading an amsterdam part 2 post on thursday with some snaps i took throughout the day and some thoughts of the city in general, so if you're interested in seeing that, stay tuned!