Monday, October 22, 2012

Oct 10 - Amsterdam

MORNNG – on our own. The morning started out as a very sunny bright day.

We had breakfast at the same cafe and then headed out to a designated stop for the hop on hop off bus tour. We crossed some interesting bridges and watched as they raised the bridge for a large barge. The operator then mounts his scooter and scurries over to the open the next bridge.

We got a little lost but eventually found our way to the stop described as between the Portuguese synagogue and the Jewish Museum. There is no sign to let you know you are in the right place so you just hope. The bus only comes every forty five minutes. We boarded and were pleased to be seated when before we knew it we were at our next planned stop, Heineken Experience. We bought our tickets aboard the bus which saves you a few Euro and some time.

The Heineken Experience is definitely worth a visit. We had visited Carlsberg in Copenhagen which was interesting but Heineken was much more fun and informative. There is a short film where you stand and are given the sensation of being made into a bottle of beer. You rattle along the bottling line getting capped and labeled.

You are provided with a description of the beer ingredients and then you are given a sample to try once the guide explains to you about the proper way to drink a beer. After some more exhibitions you reach the main bar and given two glasses in a gorgeous bar where the project great shots of cities such as NYC, Moscow, and Paris.

While we waited for our bus to come we grabbed a hot dog for lunch.

We took the bus back to Damrak and walked into the red light district and had a coffee in a coffeeshop. Coffeeshops that designated with a green and white sign are allowed to sell marijuana. They also sell delicious coffee.

It was then time to head back to our hotel and pick up our luggage and have the desk call a taxi for us. The taxi ride to the passenger pier was around eleven euros.
We boarded the MS Amadeus Princess dragging our own luggage. This was very disappointing as normally the crew should be available to assist the passengers. Viking was parked next to us and they had a contingent of red sweatered crew to help their guests.
We also were not greeted as you normally should and would be. A crew member growled that check in didn’t begin until 4PM so take a seat in the bar and leave your luggage in the lobby. DH was not leaving his luggage until someone provided our cabin number and applied it to our bags.
Check in as always on a river cruise is painless as you hand over your passports and given your key. In this case it is a large heavy ship bell with a tassel and a magnet for opening your door.  We are accompanied to our room which is pleasant and pretty standard boat design.

After a quick tour of the boat we relax until the welcome drink and presentation of the safety features. Sue and Dave sat with us.

 Dinner was then served and I must say it was one of the worst meals we’ve ever had on a river cruise. A shrimp cocktail which consisted of small canned shrimp, watery beef consommé and we both selected the venison stew which had a delicious wine sauce but which DH complained that he only had two pieces of meat. Dessert was a peach melba that everyone liked.
According to the brochure we should have had open seating with small tables as well as larger tables. Gate 1 had about 78 people aboard and a section was dedicated to them with tables of six or eight.
We sat with Pam and Marianne and Marie and Forrest.

After dinner a Dutch folk dance troupe performed. The average age of the dancers had to be at least sixty five.

For those who wished Lorin, the Gate 1 guide provided an escorted walking tour to the red light district at 10:15. 


We're in cabin 224 on the Strauss deck.

The Rhine flows 820 miles through four countries — Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands — from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea.

The Rhine is one of the world’s mythic rivers, and people have been cruising it for pleasure since the early 1800s. Victor Hugo raved about it: “The Rhine combines everything. It is as swift as the Rhone, wide as the Loire, winding as the Seine, limpid and green as the Somme, historic as the Tiber, royal as the Danube, mysterious as the Nile… covered with fables and phantoms like a river in Asia…”

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