Tuesday, 10 May 2016

On the River: Day 1 Amsterdam

River Cruise
Day 1 Amsterdam in the Netherlands

Zurich Airport
This was the much anticipated embarkation day of the Avalon River Cruise and we set out from our Hotel in Bern, Switzerland at 4.30 am to walk to the train station. We discovered it was not easy to break out of the hotel at that time of morning as the 24 hour desk service was sleeping in the office out the back. Break out we did and got ourselves onto a train headed to Zurich Airport and from there a plane to Amsterdam.

On arrival in Amsterdam we took a shuttle bus to the boat meeting point at a hotel and were able to check our bags in, but embarkation was not until 4.00 pm so we had plenty of time to walk around the city. First stop was lunch and we found a great spot beside a canal. We had got used to  people smoking all around us as we ate in France and Switzerland, but this time the smoke had a different flavour. Welcome to Amsterdam!

We clocked up a few k’s walking the streets, visiting the markets and taking in the sights. We had noticed on the shuttle coming in that it was not easy for the driver to negotiate the crowded streets as all the rights seemed to be with the cyclists. Once we were on foot sightseeing we learnt real quick that pedestrians who don’t look where they are going are going to get run down by cyclists!

We were right at the front of the queue to embark at 4pm - mostly because we had walked to the ship whereas most of the passengers had waited for the coach at the hotel about 500 metres down the road to transport them there. Little did we know that this was an indication of the physicality of the two weeks ahead!

After nearly four weeks of travelling we were very pleased to discover our bags lined up in our cabin and unpack and stow our suitcases for a while. We were in the lap of luxury, and even more so because the boat was only half full. It was designed to carry around 160 passengers and there were only 80 of us, so lots of room to move and sit and twice the attention from the service crew.
We stayed in port overnight, and people were free to come and go as the boat was tied up in a very handy downtown location. As long as we took a leave pass so they knew we were not on the ship.

Notes were supplied daily by Isabel, the Cruise Director, to keep us informed and on time. Click on the links below to open and read.

City Overview
Daily Programme

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