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Published: October 2nd 2016
Roger was up by 6:00am and went down for breakfast. I'd ordered coffee to be delivered to the room at 7:00am. There was no rush this morning. Our main objective was to do our laundry. We headed out about 8:30, after I bought two 24 hour tram passes.
With everything in a backpack, we set out to the nearest tram stop. The hotel is located so that no matter where you want to go in the city you have to turn left, then backtrack right. To ride the tram you scan your pass when you get on and when you get off. Our stop was the first for us and last for everyone else: Central Station. From there we walked to blocks into town, then turned left for two blocks to the laundromat.
Roger figured out the machine that turned Euros into washing machine tokens, and purchased detergent from the snack vending machine. We really didn't have a lot of clothes to wash, as most of the clothing I'd taken was meant to be worn once and left behind. Having laundry done on the cruise or at the hotel was ridiculously expensive ($2.50 for a pair of socks). If
we hadn't found a laundromat I would have bought new socks.
It took close to two hours to get everything done, but for a total of €10 it was time well spent. The previous day our guide had told us to take Tram 2 or 5 to get back to the hotel from Central Station. We hopped on a #5 and started our next adventure. This particular tram went all the way through the city, as far away as we could get from the hotel on these particular tracks. We had to get off, watch the tram complete a circle for the return trip, wait 15 minutes while the conductors took their breaks, then get back on. Back at Central Station Roger watched a tram leaving from Platform A that turned toward our hotel after leaving the station. We caught the next one, but the weren't quick enough to get off at our stop. The next one was only
half a mile further.
At 1:00pm we took the tram back to Central Station, then went on to check in for our afternoon tour: Delft, The Hague and Modurodam. We were scheduled to leave at 2:30, but were delayed
for unknown reasons until almost 3:00. Buses aren't allowed to idle and there's no air conditioning if they aren't running, so we spent an uncomfortable 30+ minutes waiting.
Our guide described things in English, then Spanish. Traffic was slow and we fell more behind schedule. Our first stop was the world's last true Delft pottery factory. The guide wasn't very good, but the building, furniture and displays were amazing. A few items were purchased at their gift shop. Not the €5149 vase though.
On to the town of Delft, where we walked around as we pleased for about 40 minutes before getting back on the bus to go on to The Hague. There was some oddly fluorescent green water in one of the canals.
The Hague is an impressive city and home of the national government. The main reason I wanted to go the The Hague was to tour the Peace Palace, which officially opened on August 28, 1913, and was built to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration where grievances between countries could be settled without war. The largest amount of funds for the construction were donated by USA steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. The same man
who donated the funds to build over 2,500 libraries (nearly 1700 in the USA) between 1883 and 1929, and a friend of Mark Twain, who's become a hobby in recent years.
All my expectations were dashed when the bus pulled over to the curb and we were told we had ten minutes to take pictures outside the closed gate. Obviously, this is not what I signed us up for. Roger managed a few shots, even with bad lighting. Still, this was the single greatest disappointment of our entire European adventure.
Our final destination was Madurodam, an attraction of 1:25 scale models of Dutch landmarks. It's in honor of to a young man from Cuaçao who was attending school in The Hague when Germany invaded The Netherlands. George Maduro became a second lieutenant in the Dutch Cavalry in 1939. He was captured in 1940. Being of Jewish descent he refused to wear the identifying yellow star, fled and joined the Dutch Resistance. He was again captured, but this time he was sent to Dachau where he died in Feb. 1945. The miniatures were his parents' idea, who knew it would be a lasting tribute to their son and raise
money to help children. (People need to be in the picture to give some reference to size.)
Although a moving story, we were done a long time before the hour allotted. The sun was setting by the time we left, traffic was heavy, the guide rarely stopped talking (in English or Spanish) and we were glad when the tour bus let us off back in Amsterdam about 9:00pm.
We walked back to the hotel. I printed all our pertinent travel records for the next couple days. We turned in about 10:00.
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