Tulip Time from Amsterdam
31.03.2013 - 08.04.2013
April 4 - - Antwerp - lots of history, but we chose to head to Brussels instead of staying in Antwerp. It was an easy train ride down to Brussels, and when you arrive the Hop On Hop Off bus is just outside of the station who it is perfect. As well, right there is Grand Place which is a big square and streets full of cafes and shops - live music and is the heartbeat of Brussels. Could have spent more time there. Tomorrow is Ghent with a side trip to Brugges. Everyone says - you have to see Brugges - so I am hoping it is a great!
April 3 - - Arnhem/Nijmegen - today we travelled from Arnhem to Het Loo Palace, over 1 hour to get there 3 hours to spend at the palace and then again an hour to return to Nijmegen. Not sure I would do it again, I may have been better to spend the day on ship and just relax. If you are a palace person with history as your focus then this tour may have been appreciated, but for me - a day on ship would have been much more appreciated. Nijmegen was very nice - a city that you can easily walk in - so an great end to the day.
Tomorrow - - Antwerp with a zip over to Brussels!
April 2 - - Amsterdam - a great city of old and new. We took the canal cruise and city tour offered by AMA Waterways, it was well worth the 2.5 hours of our time. The guide was very informative. This city has 450,000 bikes of which 7000 are dumped in the canals every year. Bikes are the mode of transportation - in Holland, there are approximately 1.5 bikes to 1 person. The city can easily gridlock with traffic, after experiencing that I can absolutely understand why you need a bike! There is a lot of history here as in many European cities, but what I find interesting is how they combine the old with the new. Lots of markets and streetside cafes. Back on ship beautiful lunch, through our first lock and on our way to Volendam and Edam.
We arrived in Volendam around 3pm. Went on a walking tour of Volendam and then over to Edam for a tour of a cheese shop. Volendam is a beautiful quaint fishing village. One that can't be missed. Would be the perfect spot to spend a few days in a B & B. Beautiful marina front with little shops and cafes. Population of approximately 26,500 between Volendam and Edam. Volendam is still a very Catholic community, unlike Amsterdam where going to a Catholic church is not public knowledge. Homes cost approximatley 290,000 Euro and are typically owned, again unlike Amsterdam where you rent versus own.
Tonight we set sail for Arnhem. AMACerto is fantastic. Food very good, and the staff are incredible. Guides today were extremely knowledgable, and yes you were walking behind a lollipop, but at no time did I feel like I needed to leave the group which was a pleasant surprise.
April 1 - - After a long flight, it was great to land in Amsterdam. We found our AMA Waterways transfer desk in Arrivals 3, made it to ship around 10:00. Dropped luggage, grabbed a coffee and headed for the Hop On Hop Off bus which was about a 5 minute walk from the ship. Lots of places to stop and explore, but we chose to get off at the flower market. Stopped by a chippy for some frites, went through the market and walked back to the ship. Boarding begins at 3pm, and after a very long day, we are looking forward to a nice dinner and good sleep!
March 31 - - Plane has arrived in Calgary, now a quick service, fuel up, food delivered and we will be up and on our way.
March 6 - - received our documents from AMA Waterways - and unlike the mass market cruiselines - you actually get documents in a nice travel pouch complete with a destination guide, full itinerary and a booklet on things to know before you go. A very nice touch!
Air is booked, direct from Calgary on KLM, new passport sorted, have read al lthe great pre cruise information on AMAWaterways website! Next week purchase of Euros from Sears Travel, what a great service that is!!!