Amsterdam: I’d rather Forget
Upon our arrival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, we were greeted with a cold rain. Mary Alice and I were still sore from two physically demanding stops in Mont Saint-Michel, France and Brugge, Belgium that demanded a lot of climbing and walking. Both of us walked over 5 miles both days. Also, neither of us brought winter clothes for this kind of weather. I should have listened to her when she suggested we not go into Amsterdam. However, we had a non-refundable ship’s tour for Amsterdam and I said, “Let’s go.” Well, we had breakfast in the room and met the other passengers in the Princess Theater going into Amsterdam and all of us made our way to our bus. We had a fellow passenger join us, Laurie, from Florida. She is one of our table mates in the evening and she wanted to see the Van Gough Museum. So we set our sights on that attraction. Our tour bus left Rotterdam for the 1 hour drive into Amsterdam. On the way it began raining harder and it seemed colder. I was not a happy camper.
We had one of those tour guides who thinks we need to know the complete history of The Netherlands and everything about the culture. I thought she would get the hint when I told her the mic was too loud. No, she kept talking non-sense.
Well, we arrived in Amsterdam and we exited the bus in the rain. I was carrying my camera and two lenses in a small camera bag. I had my cell phone in a side pocket. Our first stop was to get tickets for the Hop-on Hop-off bus. At the tourist ticket place I noticed my cell phone was not in my bag, not in any pocket. I do not know how or why it disappeared but it was gone. I felt sick at first, but I got over it three days later. Mary Alice, Laurie and I got on the Hop-on Hop-off bus and we started our tour of Amsterdam.
A note about the above photo of a canal in Amsterdam. There are a lot of canals in this city. People actually live on the boats you see on the right side. It would not be my choice of a place to live.
The cold rain continued as we began a circular tour of Amsterdam. The #2 stop on the tour is the infamous “Red Light” district where prostitutes actually sit in store windows. I find it appalling that this is something the government and citizens of Amsterdam are “proud” of. There are special tours offered to the red light district by tour companies.
We didn’t see any of this because our bus did not go into this district. We got off the bus at #9 stop, the Van Gough Museum. It actually began to hail and the wind made feel like 20 degrees. We had umbrellas but they did not keep the wind from blowing the rain on you. M.A. and I were not dressed for the cold and we were both uncomfortable. We turned the corner to the museum and saw a line of 300-400 people waiting to buy tickets or get inside. We did not have the time to wait as we had to be back at our pickup point at 2:30pm. And that was pretty much Amsterdam; cold, rainy, sometimes hailing, crowded, and somewhere in this miserable city, my missing iPhone. We waited for the bus and rode it back to the pick point for our bus back to the ship. We had two hours to kill so we decided to have lunch at one of the canal restaurants. Both girls had a hamburger and I got the French fries. We boarded our bus, which was 15 minutes late and rode the 60 miles to Rotterdam where the Regal Princess was docked. It was nice, warm and dry on board.
Copenhagen and the Flight Home
We arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark the next morning, which was our final destination. Mary Alice had booked a bus tour of Copenhagen with a drop off at the airport. The tour was unremarkable other than seeing the “Little Mermaid” and some castles. We found our two pieces of luggage which we checked to Chicago and waited for the SAS flight to board. The flight was uneventful except I have to say it was the lousiest food I’ve ever eaten on an airline. We arrived in Chicago at 5:30pm with our flight to Houston at 9:15. We found our bags, cleared customs and immigration and checked our bags into United for our flight to IAH. The flight was uneventful except when we went to get our luggage mine was among the missing. How can an airliner loose someone’s luggage when it is bar coded? As of the writing of this blog, 4:30pm Monday, they still have not found my suitcase. All in all, it was a great trip. We met lots of new friends, saw places we have never seen before, challenged physically and met the challenge.
Update for Tuesday, May 2, 2016
My long lost baggage finally arrived this morning. I take back part of my complaints.
So long for now, we’ll see you on the next voyage.