EUROPEAN RIVER CRUISE BUDAPEST TO AMSTERDAM - 2018
Saturday Aug 18 - Amsterdam
We would be in Amsterdam all day so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a canal boat ride.
Boarding the canal boat
Weird sign along the harbor
Still haven't entered the canal system. The ship looks even bigger than ours; must be a Viking.
Still in the harbor, passing Central Station and St. Nicholas Basilica
The canal system was laid out in concentric semi-circles around the center of the city in the 17th century.
The houses are all tall and narrow.
The NO sign sign says "open boats: no amplified music". How civilized! Bridges over canals provided parking space for bicycles.
Boat houses are parked all along the canals. Are they charged for docking, sort of like trailer parks.
More colorful houses
Passing a boat similar to ours. The seats in ours were laid out in groups of two facing each other, meaning that half of the seats face backwards. Not great for sightseeing.
Another means of transport in Amsterdam
As we turned the corner heading back to the harbor, the canal became much wider
The guide had been pointing out that because the houses had been built on wooding pilings over 300 years ago, many were listing to the side. This picture reminds me of a bunch of drunks lined up.
One last view of the canal.
After having lunch on the ship we went biking with the objective to get out into open country. I remembered how to find the Ferry across the IJ from Azartplein just past where the bike and barge ships dock. Then a bike lane, bike path, and another through a park and we were into open country.
An American couple who had been eyeing the bikes the whole cruise finally joined us for the ride.
The first task was to cross the body of water where the ship was docked to Sumatrakade, where bike and barge ships dock. It is right next to the bike and pedestrian ferry that crosses the IJ.
The ships had changed; but both the North Holland and South Holland ships were in port since their cruises run from Saturday to Saturday. I was sorry I didn't get a picture for old times sake.
Just before breaking out into open country, we came across an iconic windmill. This was actually a museum; we never reached real windmill country
A very nice path along a canal. The scenery reminded me of our 2016 North Holland bike and barge trip.
Still along the canal, the bike path gave way to a typical rural road, typical least to North Holland. They have only one fairly wide car lane, tiny bike lanes on each side, and narrow, rough brick shoulders.
At the ferry crossing at Ilpendam, Janelle and Marcia and the other couple continued on while Jeanine and I, worried about the wind we would face on the way back, turned around. We stopped to rest at this wind protected bench at another ferry.
It is here that Jeanine lost her phone. But someone found it, emailed me, and was kind enough to mail it back to the US. If it weren't for the good Samaritan, this scrapbook would have no Amsterdam page. I had forgotten to bring my camera that day.
The headwind coming back was fierce; and we were relieved when we reached town where the trees and houses blocked the wind considerably.
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We had one more night on the ship; and although we had to be out of our rooms by 9:00 Sunday morning, we could leave our luggage aboard and hang out in the lounge until 3:00PM.
Sunday morning we walked to mass at St. Nicholas Basilica nearby. I particularly enjoyed the choir. It had that English boy choir sound, although it was mixed voices. All their music seemed to be Renaissance style.
We walked back to the ship, relaxed in the lounge a while, and then walked to Central Station where we caught a sprinter (local train) to the airport. We had no trouble purchasing tickets at the machine; but had a difficult time finding our track because only the trains' destinations were listed. Once I discovered our train's destination was Hoopdorp, we had no trouble finding it. A hotel shuttle took us to the Bastion Hotel. Like most of hotels near Schipol Airport, it was in a nondescript area with nothing in the way of restaurants except a McDonalds.
I set my phone alarm for 8:45 the next morning into order to catch the 9:30 shuttle to get to the airport the recommended 3 hours head of departure. I somehow set the alarm incorrectly; and we didn't awake until 9:15. Scurrying, we made the shuttle. We need not have hurried. It took only a half hour get from the front door to our boarding gate.
The flight back, stay at the Candlewood Suites near the Chicago airport, Lyft and Metra train ride to Chicago Union Station, and the train home went smoothly as planned, unlike our earlier misadventures.