Blogs from North Holland, Netherlands, Europe - page 4

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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 18th 2018

Up at 7 am, bags out at 7:30. We had said a lot of good-byes at the party last night, but over breakfast and while waiting in the lounge for our call, we chat with our fellow cruisers and exchange contact information. Truly a great bunch of people with whom we have been privileged to share the ship these past two weeks. We transfer from the ship at 9 am. Both boarding and disembarking are quick and easy on a river boat compared with the mammoth undertaking of loading and unloading passengers on big ocean cruise ships. Here you just walk down the gangway. We share our cab with an older couple whom we have not met before. They are going to a hotel near ours. Only about 30 minutes until we reach our hotel, the ... read more
Amsterdam canal scene
Rijksmueum
Rembrandt himself at the Rijksmuseum

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 17th 2018

And now we are in Amsterdam, the terminus of our river cruise. We still have one more sleep on the boat, however, before we disembark tomorrow. Because we will spending a few days seeing the sights of Amsterdam on our own, we have opted for an excursion just outside Amsterdam to a place named Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is an open air conservation area and museum on the bank of the Zaan River. It displays the traditional architecture of the area and has several functioning windmills and craftsman's workshops. Our guide is a friendly lady with an infectious laugh named Rita. She provides background information on the historical relationship between Amsterdam and the sea. As is commonly known, most of the Netherlands, and in particular Amsterdam, is below sea level and is protected from flooding by ... read more
Windmills on a polder
On the second level of the windmill
Cheese Market square

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 5th 2018

Our trip is pulling to a close where it began, in busy, intriguing Amsterdam. This is the penultimate blog entry. There will be one more as we're staying 2 nights in Seoul, South Korea, on our return to Australia. Returning to Amsterdam from Budapest has been a journey of discovery on our own, quite different from the tight and well-planned itinerary of the river trip. Each style of travel has had its benefits, surprises and pleasures.... read more
Amsterdam Central train station
Three storey bicycle parking lot serves thousands.
Unclaimed bikes get taken away and sold again.

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 20th 2018

Amsterdam has done very well weather-wise by Mr Henry for one whole day. But when it begins to rain, Mr Henry knows there's no bucking a weather system. He decides to go and see a movie in the theatre where he used to work as a commissionaire more than thirty years ago. It's on the Leidseplein. Outwardly it hasn't changed, but once inside, only the contours of thirty years ago are there. There's no commissionaire anymore. The elderly, chain smoking ladies who used to sit in the glassed-in box office - one with a boil the size of a swollen golf ball on top of her head, the other periodically emerging in a stooped manner from the box office to review the behaviour of obnoxious moviegoers with Mr Henry - have also gone and so has ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 18th 2018

In memoriam: Hans Ploegh It's been thirty years since Mr Henry called Amsterdam home. As he steps out on to the square in front of Central Station, he is still recovering from going through Dutch immigration. For the first time in his life, he has been asked how long he plans on staying in the country of his birth and the reason for his visit, before his Australian passport is stamped. The immigration people seemed very young to Mr Henry, who was tempted to ask them if their mothers knew they were there. Mr Henry notes that Station Square isn't the sand-pitted, variously paved chaos it was thirty years ago. It is attractively tiled. Taxis are no longer blocking tram departures. There are no drug addicts and homeless people lying and standing about. Is the Pope ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 15th 2018

An hour or two out from Amsterdam Airport, South China Airlines, the airline with the art deco plane livery worthy of the Super Constellation in its heyday, has scheduled a meal service. We will be landing at 6.30 in the morning, which means that the meal will be breakfast. The meal types on South China Airlines can be hard to distinguish. It's basically the same type of food all the time and if you miss the public address announcement, you don't really know what you are having. But this is breakfast. Mr Henry keenly watches the meal trolley approaching slowly from afar, after it has been driven past him at speed to the beginning of the section, trailing a delicious smell. The male flight attendants go through the same ritual with every passenger. Little bow. Question: ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 26th 2018

Well here is going back and blogging what we did in Amsterdam now that we have had time to slow down and smell the Gardenias in Croatia. Boy we were late getting back to our hotel on the 25th and were we tired, we crashed hard, a lot of walking and serious jet lag. So today we crawled out of bed around 1030 Hrs and it was cool and windy outside. I worked on my blogging that I was already behind on and we never crawled out of the hotel until 1345 Hrs. We walked over to a big bus station right beside our hotel and thought we were catching the bus to Centraal Station, but it turned out to be heading down to the Museum district, which was alright anyways. We got off the bus ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 25th 2018

Hello Blog This is my third try at this one. My computer died twice on me and that is the only time this thing doesn't auto save. WE had made it into Amsterdam on the evening of the 24th and then to our hotel the IBIS Amsterdam Airport which has turned out to be very functional, clean and spartan. At least we have a coffee station just down the hall where we can make an automatic Cappucino or Latte. Yesterday the 25th we headed back to the airport and then bought our two day transit passes before heading off to Keukenhof Gardens. Where we saw more bulb flowers than you could even think of; Muscari, Narcissus (daffodils), Hyacinths, Tulips, Amarylis and Frittilaria. I will include a few pictures to show some of them. The neatest thing ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 25th 2018

Dear Blog....LOL, It seems to be harder than I thought to keep this Blog up, as we seem to have no time or desire to sit in our hotel room typing versus out exploring or eating or finally back in our room sleeping. So It will likely be a little sporadic. I know how sporadic, as it is the 28th today that I am filling it in on. We had finished up at Keukenhoff and caught the bus back to the airport, where we switched over to the train to Centraal station. We stumbled out of there and worked our way into the core of Amsterdam where we explored one shop after another and ended up in a great cheese shop and finally after sampling all of the cheeses we walked out with an aged sheep ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 14th 2018

Ship arrived in Amsterdam this morning, although docked at a different place to where we got on, and next to another Amawaterways ship - AmaSonata. We had signed up for the early departure (8am) for Keukenhof Gardens this morning. Didn't seem like such a good idea when we were getting organised and it was pretty cold, but when we arrived at the gardens at 8.50am, and there were already about 50 buses (from all over Europe) in the carpark (abour 1/4 of the space), we were quite pleased. The tour guide informed us that "this is not busy at all". Through the entrance, and the guide took us straight to the Willem-Alexander Pavilion, where thousands (literally) of tulip varieties, and other bulbs are on display. Wandered around there for some time, absolutely stunning, but tulip overload! ... read more
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More tulips
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