When we woke up this morning we were traveling through the scenic Dutch waterways towards Amsterdam. We enjoyed breakfast this morning in the dining room with no hurry as we have to have our last lunch a bit later in the morning before we join our coach tour of Amsterdam. We also are looking forward to our canal tour by boat before returning to the ship this afternoon.
The coach tour around Amsterdam was good, our guide pointed out all the places of interest as we drove around, there’s a lot of houses that have sunk on their foundations and are being held up by their neighbours houses. We also saw lots of churches and buildings that have been around for many hundreds of years. After our very extensive coach tour we were given some free time to have a look around the flower market and all the souvenir shops. Some people were surprised by the easy availability of cannabis in the street and that if you went to a coffee shop you would get more than you bargained for. It is not legal here but is tolerated but the rules are always changing, as you walk past these so called coffee shops you can smell it wafting out on to the streets.
After our little walk around we got onto a canal boat and were taken all around the city via the canals, it was very different seeing it this way, there were fences around the canals and every spare inch was taken by push bikes that were locked to them. Personally I think a big percentage of them have been left there and people have never been back for them as a lot of them have flat tyres, wheels missing and lots of broken bits and pieces, there are thousands of them! There are also heaps of bikes on the roads and bike tracks, they show no mercy if you are on their track they don’t slow down they will run you down first, the tour guides over here call them "Killer Bikes".
On our tour we went past Ann Franks house which is open to the public and the queue was around the block with about a four hour waiting time to get in, a long wait when you’re only in Amsterdam for a short time. The canal tour finished only a couple of hundred metres away from where our ship was docked so we just walked back.
Surprise surprise it was afternoon tea time on the ship, a few people needed to go to a ATM so we took them for a walk over to the Amsterdam Railway Station to get some money. Wow what a busy place there’s people everywhere, our guides told us there were many thousands of tourists coming and going each day after this I could see what she meant. Sue and I decided to go for a walk to the Red Light district and have a look, we had been there many times before but only at night time, we had organised a visit there tonight for our group so they could see what it was all about.
Meanwhile back at the ship it would soon be dinner time, our last dinner, before that we had a meeting with Bartel and he did a bit of a rundown on the trip. It was good to hear all the things we had done because we had done so much that you tend to forget. Anyway I think everyone was a bit sad about leaving the ship and all its staff as well as Bartel. We had a few laughs about different things and everyone showed there appreciation for what he and the rest of the crew had done for us over the last 14 days.
It was dinner time and a usual the meal and everything that went with it was fantastic a great end to our trip on the ship. After this was all over it was time to take everyone to the red light district which was a short walk from the ship. As we were leaving Bartel asked me where we were going, when I told him he said do you mind if I come too, I said yes mate come and join us should be fun (despite what other people on the ship thought he did not organise this outing I did). It worked out very well as Bartel knew it much better than me so we had a great time, thanks mate. After we did our walk a few people met in the bar for some final drinks and goodbyes and it was off to bed as we had a big day tomorrow a bus trip to Paris.
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