Wednesday, 11 May 2016

On the River: Day 2 Amsterdam

River Cruise
Day 2 Amsterdam in the Netherlands

We were out bright and early in the morning for the first group activity - a guided tour of the canal system. We were taken by bus to the smaller canal boats and set of on a hour of fascinating viewing of the houses and houseboats from the water. 

We were amused that our tiny canal boat had a dunny onboard, but we were to discover that it was part and parcel of cruise outings!

Our boat was mostly enclosed by a perspex top, which was fine for looking out but not so great for taking photos. 

My companion climbed up on the seat at one stage and got some great shots through the roof opening. 

The boat driver was not happy and the tour guide translated something about tourists, whacked heads and the many low hanging bridges.

These two photos give an idea of photography inside the boat, standing up, AND the height of the bridges!

At the conclusion of the tour we were wising up to the speed at which our group travelled and elected to find our own way back to the boat on foot rather than take the bus. We enjoyed more time wandering through town. We walked past Anne Frank’s house and saw the lines of people waiting to go inside and kept going. It was here we first noticed the pulley systems under the roofs on the outside of houses and saw them in action. To get goods inside these narrow tall buildings people lifted them up and brought them in through the windows. We saw furniture, building supplies and shopping disappearing into houses as we walked around.

We made it back to the boat for lunch and while some went on more guided tours Russell took one of the bikes on board and headed out into the countryside via the bike-on, bike-off ferries which take people over to the north shore for free.  He greatly enjoyed this perspective of Amsterdam.

I chose to go for a 6km joggle along the Rhine canal. It was a treat to be out in the sun and to have a chance to see how the locals go about their lives. One of the things we had remarked upon was the way the buildings were so narrow and I stopped to take a picture of this modern building which I’m not sure I would enjoy living in.

On my return I sent my first parcel post home. The grand central train station was over the road from where our boat was berthed and housed a post office. A kind person there helped me figure out what to do. I bought a box, took it back to the boat, packed it with Winter work clothes which we thought we wouldn’t need any longer, took it back to the post office and sent it on its way. (*update - it was safely home to NZ in a week!)

We were back on board for the 4.45pm sailing out of Amsterdam and one of our fellow passengers took a photo of us as we stood on the sun roof enjoying this much anticipated moment.  We were amazed by how quietly and efficiently the boat slipped out into the canal and headed for Germany overnight.

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.

Daily Programme

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