Last night we stayed with our new/old friends Lukas and Judy on their houseboat. I got up early and went up on deck (being on a boat begets boating terms, I guess) to get some fresh air and look at the canal. It was amazingly quiet - it doesn't feel like the city at all.
That big white building on the right, in the picture above, is a rowing club. Last night, as it was getting dark, we watched groups of skullers and rowers (I don't really know if there's a difference, or what the difference is) sliding past. Some of the boats came quite close to us, and it was fun to listen to the oars.
These are some of the neighboring boats. One has to lease the docking space from the city, and Lukas said that that's the most difficult and expensive part of obtaining a houseboat; there are a limited number of spaces in the city, so people sell their docking leases for exorbitant amounts.
Some of the houseboats are really just houses - not boats - with foundations built into the canal, and no way of moving about. Lukas and Judy's has a motor, though, (that's just a little outboard in the picture, the actual engine is quite a bit bigger) and it's been on a few trips. The previous inhabitant took it to Belgium and all over the Holland canals.