Voyage of the Vikings

July - August, 2013


July 30 - Weather: Cloudy, some rain, hi temp in mid 60s

Today was a long but satisfying day.  We left the ship after breakfast and walked about 3 miles to the Rijks Museum, the National Museum of Holland.  It has recently been renovated and has so much art on display you could spend days there.  We concentrated on the Dutch painters Rembrandt and Vermeer.  The crowds were so big it took some time to get around.  From this museum we went to the nearby Van Gogh Museum, where we again stood in line for 45 minutes to get tickets (we passed the time talking to an English lady about travel in England).  The Van Gogh is a much smaller museum in a contemporary building and it was easier to see the paintings.  It was raining when we left the museum and we wisely decided to take the tram back to the ship instead of walking.  We gave our feet a rest for a couple hours and then had dinner.  There were some old navy submarine guys at our table, and one of them told an interesting story about JFK visiting his sub in Norfolk VA in 1962.  They built an elevator because of Kennedy's bad back, and he brought a big party of senators, congressmen and supreme court justices with him.  The guy at our table said he had about 20 minutes alone with JFK.  We left the ship again about 8 o'clock to take the tram to our Candlelight Canal cruise.  We got there early, so we walked over to the red light district.  The ladies were in windows but also leaning out of their doorways.  No photos are allowed, or you know we would post one.  The Candlelight Canal cruise was from 9 to 11, and the boat had white tablecloths, cheese, bread and plenty of wine.  It was a good way to celebrate Barbara's birthday.  We learned that Amsterdam has about 1,200 bridges, and that if you want to buy a houseboat for about a half a million euros you can live on a canal.  Our table mates were a youngish man and wife from near Cologne, Germany.  They were very friendly and luckily spoke enough English for us to be able to converse.  He showed us pictures of his 4 cats.  The pedometer shows 9.61 miles walked today.  Ouch!

July 31 - Weather: Cloudy, hi temp in mid 60s

There was no rain today and some periods of good sunshine.  We left the ship about 9:00 and arrived at the Anne Frank house (2 short tram rides) about 9:30.  The line snaked around Westerkerk, the church where Rembrandt is buried (Anne Frank writes about hearing the bells of this church).  We waited about an hour and 1/4 to get to the ticket counter and the tour through the building was very slow with so many people.  No photos are allowed inside, so we bought some postcards.  The hiding place consists of several levels and the stairs were steep with narrow steps.   The most interesting thing we learned was from a video where Otto Frank talks about Anne's diary.  He said that he didn't know anything about the feelings and thoughts she wrote about until he found the diary and read it (it took him a long time to read it).  Thankfully he had the diary published and shared this remarkable girl's story with the world.  A visit to Amsterdam wouldn't have been complete for us without a visit to this house.  We went back to the ship and had another life boat drill before we sailed in mid-afternoon.  Our day and a half in this busy city was over, and we had successfully avoided being hit by a tram, car, or most likely of all, a bicycle.  We won at Name That Tune trivia (Broadway shows) and Barbara won $40 in a penny machine in the casino.

Dancing Houses (the ground shifted beneath them)

A Rembrandt at the Rijks Museum

Canal near the Rijks Museum

The Rijks Museum

Van Gogh Museum

We thought we were in Amsterdam

Candlelight Canal cruise (Barbara's best side)

Candlelight Canal cruise

Anne Frank House and Westerkerk

Anne Frank House (tree in front)

Bookcase concealed entrance to hiding place (postcard)

Anne Frank's room (postcard)

Houseboats on canal

Birds and bikes in Dam Square

Royal Palace (Koninklijk Palace) on Dam Square

At Sea

August 1 - Weather: Some sun, hi temp in mid 60s

We appreciated a relaxing sea day after our busy time in Amsterdam.  The captain announced a change of plans for tomorrow.  Instead of going to Dunmore East (Waterford), which is a tender port, we are going to Ringaskiddy, where we can dock (it is the port for the city of Cork).  This change was caused by weather conditions, and the captain wants to make sure we can go ashore.  He has a good sense of humor and told us that there's not much to see in Ringaskiddy besides the pharmaceutical companies that make Viagra and many other meds.  We had dinner tonight with Judy, Dahlia and Ilan and played pub trivia with them at 7:30.  The questions are easier than the daytime session of trivia.

© Jay 2020