Sunday, May 10, 2009

On to Holland: the Low Country

Tuesday May 5th
Amsterdam Netherlands: For Bob and Leo I saw a great team of Belgium’s pulling a wagon of Heineken beer kegs. Here we had a great afternoon of cruising the grand Amsel River and some of the the 100 manmade canals branching off. Thirty per cent of Amsterdam’s surface is manmade. The city is actually a few feet below sea level. Quite a large population lives in house boats on the river. But getting new permits to live there is like getting Packer tickets. People will permits to family when they die. This is by far the most liberal country in the world. Our guide called drugs like Marijuana or Hash soft drugs and are legal as is prostitution which is a taxable trade. Since this was a city tour we got to see only one classic Dutch windmill and no tulips. The city gets high marks for its mass transit systems. Lots of bike lanes and electric trolley cars. Hop on and hop off. Also some down town walking only areas. We have seen quite a bit of that in Europe. We saw where Anne Frank lived and wrote her diaries. This is another place that has not forgotten what the US sacrificed for them. Pretty cool after all these years. Only a half day tour so we leave the bus and take a short cut thru the red light district on the way back. NO NO NO just kidding children, just a little Amsterdam humor. We do walk back thru a very old train station that is still a train station today for high speed service. Really cool.
Wednesday May 6th
Day at sea: Relaxing and packing--mutually exclusive?. Rough seas today; some are sick but not us old salts, and mahjong for mom (she even went to yoga on the rolling sea, thanks to bonine).

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