Day 14 July 5, 2017, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sadly our tour ends today – tomorrow we head home.
As usual I was up early and enjoyed the views as we sailed along the canal. The last lock we passed through was extremely long which allowed for several ships to enter at once. We were the first in so I was able to get a different set of photos of the gate as it rose to allow us to pass through. Fun reflections as well.

To me the waterway was more of what I envisioned as a canal and less the river like areas we passed through in previous days. It was wide, smooth and peaceful with variety of barge traffic and ship. You could see the countryside several feet below water level with earth “dikes” as protection. There were locks and flood gates between the main canal and the low-lying areas. I guess I knew that much of The Netherlands was below sea level, remember the boy and the dike story, but never realized its extent. Amazing engineering.
Arriving in Amsterdam, we had to deal with a traffic jam of river cruise ships to get to our dock. After lunch, with a wonderful desert buffet, we started our tour of the city.
Another interesting aspect of the area is that Amsterdam is a series of man-made islands, not land based, with buildings supported by over 11,000,000 stilts.
Mix of photos – if some seem to have a glare they were probably taken through the bus window. Then on to our canal cruise. First highlight was the huge bicycle garage – a Google search indicate 2500 bikes at 15 euros for 24 hours. Plans for 4000 and 7000 capacity in other cities. After ours bus ride through traffic I appreciate the use of bikes.
Canal tour showed us how the canals are vital traffic corridors. Not much to add to what we all saw in the unique buildings and canal side people, house boats and views. FYI – One photo with highlighted tree and group people in front is of the Anne Frank House.
We got to the Flower Mart area for our walking tour. Words to the wise from our tour guise – “watch out for bicycles and pickpockets”. It was the wrong time of year for live or cut flowers but the wooden tulips were beautiful. The magnets of the Amsterdam style buildings were very realistic, especially when displayed in a group. Interesting walk through the “pot” district. Passed a really small truck! On bus back to ship we passed one of the few windmills in Amsterdam. After dinner we were entertained by the Dutch seamen’s Shanty Choir.
As I finished up I realized that Isabel and I as well as Roxane and Anita were the only guests, along with crew, living on the Hayden, below water level, desk. Don’t know if you noticed the windows just above the water line. The round port holes ones were the crew’s rooms and the rectangular ones for passengers. Final photo is of view from our room.

One of our best vacations – thank to Bobbie, Lorelay, the crew and of course the fantastic group of cruise mates.
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