City trips have their own unique charm and as Europeans we can count ourselves lucky that we have so many beautiful cities to show. Particularly exciting are those trips in which you get to experience an event that is out of the ordinary and tailored to a tee for each metropolis.

So I recently took a trip to Amsterdam, a city which Mia recently revealed is more than red lights and coffee shops. Amsterdam is also nicknamed “the Venice of the North” and is characterized by its bridges, waterways, and ambience. In addition to all that, it is a city that created the largest nautical event in the world, SAIL Amsterdam 2015, from August 19th to 23rd.

The SAIL Amsterdam

More than 50 historic full-rigged ships and nearly 10,000 more water vessels traveled from Ijmuiden via the Norh Sea Canal to reach Amsterdam. There were all kinds of ships represented including everything from historic full ships, naval frigates, schooners, clippers and Skûtsje boats, to modern ships.

The first time this huge event took place was at the 700 Centenary Anniversary of Amsterdam in 1975. The SAIL Amsterdam occurs every 5 years and attracts up to 2 million spectators these days.

Happy Birthday Sperry

When American lifestyle brand Sperry invites you to the 80th anniversary of the course of the “Odyssey Await” campaign for “The Salt & Soul of Amsterdam”, it pays to research everything you need to pack for a sailing trip. When we were in Newport, Rhode Island, Mia & I had already experienced what it’s like to be at sea, so I was already somewhat prepared.

Recommendations: What to pack for a cruise

✓ Sperry Boat Shoes
✓ Raincoat
✓ Ready rain and warm clothes
✓ Sunscreen
✓ Sunglasses
✓ Towel
✓ iPhone / Smartphone & Charger
✓ Camera incl. spare battery

The Odyssey Project

Sperry’s “The Odyssey Project” stands for passion in traveling. It encourages you to abandon your comfort zone, go on new adventures, discover new places, to experience the extraordinary and learn more about yourself at the same time. A trip like this seems to be right up my alley.

The adventure begins

The day before the big event I travelled in style through the canals of Amsterdam. I sailed past countless houseboats and under numerous bridges before a vespertine arrival at the event location. During the boat trip, I got to know my fellow travellers a little better through small talk. While chatting it up, I learned that the hotel in which we stayed, named “Sir Albert”, probably derived its name from the “Prince Albert” piercing. For more information on that one, I recommend Google ;-)

Tattooed shoes and treats

We arrived at the event location, the Kromhout Museum, and there was an exquisite dinner already prepared for us. Before the dinner, we were shown the current Sperry collection, and as a special highlight we had the opportunity to get our new Sperry boat shoes tattooed.

Breathing in the salty air from the deck of a Skûtsje boat

SAIL Amsterdam 2015 started early in the morning. After a short bus ride, we arrived at our dock and the crew, hired specifically for Sperry, was already waiting for us with Skûtsje boats. With a total of 3 of these typical Frisian, Dutch boats, we sailed out into the North Sea Canal. The blogger boat was ahead of the fleet.

The more miles we left behind us, the more it became clear that we were in the midst of the biggest event in Holland. Throughout the day, more ships cavorted around us than I’ve probably seen in my entire life. The millions of spectators who lined the waterfronts and embankments further emphasized the fact that we were part of something big here.

A history of Seafaring told on the water

The oldest ship that we encountered was already close to 400 years old. Here, the dreams of children come true and Jack Sparrow would have surely enjoyed it. From time to time shots rang out from the firing of cannons. A plume of smoke filled the air in true pirate style. And one or two party boats also fought their way through the channel.

I savor the experience and say a big thank you to Sperry for this very special and lasting moment! It was a truly overwhelming day which is difficult to put into words, but hopefully the images better convey what I cannot describe.

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