I bloody love pirates.
Actually let’s look at that statement in a little more detail. It’s more that I love the idea of pirates.
I in fact would be a terrible pirate. I hate violence, I don’t know how to sail (which is inconvenient as I can’t swim either), I hate being surrounded by lots of people for any longer than 10 minutes and there is absolutely no way I could cope with two toilets being used by three hundred people.
As soon as I saw a picture of the Batavia, I knew I had to go and see it, it looked exactly like a pirate ship. In fact it could have come straight from the set of Pirates of the Caribbean.
See what I mean? Isn’t it gorgeous? The story of the ship itself is like something out of a movie.
45 metres long and 10 metres wide, the Batavia was built and set sail in October 1628 as part of a Dutch United East India Company fleet. It crashed into coral islands on the west coast of Australia 9 months later with 340 people on board.
While the captain sailed away on the longboat to find help, one of the officers who remained on the island staged a mutiny of sorts, murdering over a hundred of the ship’s survivors – which included several children. When the captain returned with the rescue boat the mutineers try to kill him and run off with the ship, but he managed to beat all the bad guys and rescue everyone who was left.
As the wreck of the Batavia is one of the main dive sites on the coast of Western Australia, you can correctly assume that the ship in Lelystad is a reconstruction. Which of course isn’t as cool as it being an original ship like the Vasa, but what does make it awesome, is the fact that you can actually walk around on the Batavia. You can sit at the captain’s table, admire the rigging up close, stroll along the poop deck, stare down the cannons and sniff the heads.
Not only is the the fabulous ship, but there is also the Batavia Wharf to stroll around. Here you can watch a video about the Batavia, see blacksmith’s hard at work, check out the intricate details in the woodcarving workshop and climb up the building site of the 7 Provinces, another HUGE 17th century ship that they are reproducing.
After a few hours of walking around and with the battery light on my camera flashing, it was time to head into the ‘tavern’, which has been decorated to look like a ship as well – it actually looks really good. Unfortunately there was nothing on the menu suitable for my new vegetarian state, but with a mixture of my really bad Dutch and the servers really good English, we came to an agreement that the kitchen could do me something with eggs.
I was expecting an omelette, so when my lunch arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was two slices of thick rye bread with three fried eggs and slices of cheese on top. Philip ordered meatballs, but actually got one meatball, the size of a tennis ball in a bowl full of gravy and some bread on the side.
We both really enjoyed our meals, they just weren’t what we were expecting!
As if all this wasn’t enough from a little day trip, there is also the fantastic view along the waterfront to enjoy, some incredible sculptures and a big fashion outlet next door, which we didn’t make it into, but there were loads of people going in, so it must be good!
This is a lovely day out as it’s less than an hour from Amsterdam, is a good way of getting out of the City if you’re looking for something different to do. Find out more on their website.