After braving the tunnel of smokers on the promenade deck to take some photos of Azura’s approach to IJmuiden we headed back up to our room in order to check out the cruise ship’s passage through the locks of the North Sea Canal in a location that gave us the opportunity to keep ducking back out of the biting wind.

We’d been there quite some time without moving so I made use of the time to take a shower and missed us exiting the locks by a few minutes. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been that interesting, anyway. I nipped back out onto the stateroom balcony to grab a few photos as we passed from the North Sea into the canal system. I expect that many of the locals see ships passing up and down the canal all the time but the Azura still got a few stares and was clearly the subject of some photographs as she made her way slowly towards Amsterdam.

It was quite interesting in places to see the roads and traffic on it passing under the canal. I’ve been on ships before where you cruise under a bridge and can see vehicles passing overhead but to be on a cruise ship on the water cruising over trucks and cars was something quite weird to experience. A bit like being in a car and passing over one of those tunnels under the road that are supposed to let hedgehogs through in case you’re struggling to comprehend the feeling.

Without a doubt the most interesting building that we cruised past on the North Sea Canal was what I later discovered to be the Velsertunnel ventilation tower designed by Dirk Roosenburg in 1957. This was a lovely piece of brutalism and it had a matching structure on the north side of the canal that we would pass on the way back out a few days later; photos of that to come in a later post.


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