Rhine & Moselle Cruise – Page 01

Here’s the obligatory picture of Mary Ann and I at the RR Station in Wells, ME. We spend our summers here in Maine and the “Downeaster” train whisks us to Boston in about and hour and forty-five minutes.

Note Mary Ann’s pack with our Vantage Travel tags.  Note also my handy dandy travel vest.  It has pockets for everything. My son Bob says that it’s handy dandy for the pick pockets, as well.

We had some time to kill before our flight so we checked in our bags at Logan Airport and took the “T” to downtown Boston where we had lunch (from home) and searched for a replacement watch for Mary Ann.  We found a nice one at Macy’s that was double discounted. Note Mary Ann’s sea glass bracelet.  Making sea glass jewelry in my latest hobby.

After a 7+ hour flight from Boston we arrived a the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for the second day of our trip. It’s a big busy airport, but easy to get through.Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest and the world’s 14th busiest by total passenger traffic in 2011. It also ranks as the world’s 6th busiest by international passenger traffic and the world’s 17th largest for cargo tonnage49.8 million passengers passed through the airport in 2011.

We were met at the airport by Nicole one of our three super cruise “Program Managers” . She got us all together (there were 10 of us from Boston on the plane plus another 15 more that arrived on another flight). She led us to a waiting bus to downtown Amsterdam and gave us a quick welcome and orientation.

On the way downtown, we were treated to a spectacular sunrise  I took this pic through the bus windshield, the spots are bug smudges.

Andrea, one of the other super cruise “Program Managers” met the bus and led us from the bus to the Krasnapolsky Hotel where we had a breakfast buffet and waited for more of our fellow passengers to arrive. In all, there were about 130 passengers on the cruise.

After Lunch we were turned loose from the Hotel Krasnapolsky with a map to explore a bit on our own.  Note the bikes.  There were thousands of them in Amsterdam.  It makes sense to have one there because there is no place to park a car, the land is flat, and distances are not far.  Lots of bikes get stolen and we’re told that: “The first time it’s stolen, you buy it back at a flea market.  The second time, you steal one yourself.”

This is the National Monument in Dam Square. A  Remembrance of the Dead  ceremony is held at the monument every year on 4 May to commemorate the casualties of World War II and subsequent armed conflicts. The monument is a concrete conical pillar 72 feet in height, covered entirely by white travertine stone. On the front of the pillar is a relief entitled De Vrede (“Peace”), consisting of four chained male figures, representing the suffering endured during the war. To either side of these central figures are two male sculptures representing members of the Dutch resistance, the left figure symbolizing the resistance by the intelligentsia and the right figure symbolizing the resistance by the working classes. Weeping dogs are at their feet, representing suffering and loyalty. Above the central relief is a sculpture of a woman with a child in her arms and doves flying around her, representing victory, peace, and new life. A relief of the back side of the pillar shows doves ascending into the sky, symbolizing the liberation.

This is the Royal Palace and a shot of the tram system.The Royal Palace in Amsterdam, built in 1655, is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which is at the disposal of Queen Beatrix by Act of Parliament. The palace was built as city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the seventeenth century. The building became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal House. It is situated in the west side of Dam Square in the center of Amsterdam, opposite the War Memorial.  It was built on 13,659 wooden piles to keep it from sinking into the mud.

The Amsterdam tramway network runs on standard gauge track. Since 1900, they have been powered by electricity, at 600 V DC. At the termini of almost every tram line there is a suitable turning loop, so that the line can be operated by unidirectional trams. With 16 lines, the network comprises a total of 132 miles of track.

This is an aerial view of Amsterdam. It shows the network of canals (kind of like a huge spider web) .  The river at the top is not a river, but another canal: The Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.  The ship we will embark upon is on this canal.

Here is what a typical canal look like.Note the bikes.  They are chained up everywhere.

 Here’s a view of a bike “Parking Lot”.

Many of the canals are lined with house boats.  This is not a rent free setup.  Canal boats pay real estate and utility taxes, just like the land lubbers.

We located Ann Frank’s house.  It is now a museum/memorial and there are always lines to go inside.

Her actual house is a ways down the street, where you see the dark front doors.The Frank house is in the Middle.

I don’t know what was so funny,The Nazis murdered the littl girl Ann. but, anyway, we had our picture taken at this sad place

Around the corner near the Westerkerk was this statue of Ann Frank with flowers.

 

This is the Westerkerk (Western Church). The Westerkerk is a church of the Protestant denomination in Amsterdam, built in 1620-1631 (at the same time our Pilgrims were squatting in the mud eating Indian Corn). It is next to Amsterdam’s Jordaan district, on the bank of the Prinsengracht canal. Ann Franks house is around the corner.

 

 

We continued walking and found the canal-side flower market.  There were a lot of plants (including Marijuana), flowers and tourist trinkets.  it was colorful.

Of course, no tour of Amsterdam would be complete without a peek at the famous Red Light District. It happened to be almost behind the Hotel, so I left Mary Ann at the hotel and went to get a look-see. In the middle of the afternoon it looked a bit seedy. Just a few sex shops and some coffee houses that sold marijuana.  Maybe it looks more interesting at night? More like this post card picture below…

We gathered back at the hotel at 4PM and were ushered onto busses for a 5 minute ride to our ship.  Our suitcase preceded us and were in our rooms.The MS river Navigator will be our home for the next 2 weeks. The ship was built in 1999 in the Netherlands and is registered in Malta.  It is 361 feet long, 37 feet wide, 20 feet high above the water, and weighs 1600 tons..  it draws only 5 feet of water  It carries 140 passengers and has a crew of 38.  It has speeds of 8-11 MPH upstream and 14-18 MPH downstream.  It is a beautiful, but small, ship.

This is our “State Room”.  It’s quite small but it  proved to be adequate for our stay. Th beds were comfortable and the bathroom was big enough for one. The next picture shows the bed pulled down.

Note the window.  If it looks a little high, that’s because it is!  Our “State Room” was at the waterline.  This is what we could see outside.  The next picture is what it looked like from the outside

The reason that we have a room on the lowest deck goes way back to when we booked the trip in early March of 2012. We didn’t have a deck plan for the ship and we got a lowered fare for “Category D”.  When we finally got a deck plan and saw that we were on the lowest deck, it would have cost us an additional $400.00 apiece to move up a deck. Needless to say, we stayed below and saved the money..

Once on board and settled, Mary Ann and I went topside to watch the traffic on the Rhine-Amsterdam canal.  It was beautiful afternoon and we were beginning to relax and enjoy our jet lag.Note: The other ships nearby were not part of the traffic – they were moored like us.

At dinner time, we made our way to the ships dining room for our first dinner.  We enjoyed an entree of “Peach Chicken with Mustard Sauce, Gratin Potatoes, and Roasted Black Salsify“.  (I’ve only included the entrees in this web site.  We also had appetizer, soup, alternate entree like vegetarian, and choice of desserts.). The food was outstanding and the service was impeccable. It was like dining in a fine French or German restaurant.  Three times a day we ate gourmet meals.  The portions were small, but there were many courses.  We never felt stuffed, only pleasantly full.

And so to bed…  This ended the second day of our trip.  Whew!!!

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