We are now in Amsterdam aboard the Amabella, heading off tomorrow on the cruise down the Rhine and Danube to Budapest. We have spent the last couple of days in Amsterdam gathering strength to survive on the canals and locks. Apparently, we are going to go through 68 locks on this trip, a few more than we did on the Canal du Midi. These though are a bit bigger and we don’t have to throw ropes.
In Amsterdam we have wandered around the canals and streets taking in the scenery, dodging bicycles and motor bikes. Bicycles are everywhere and they have their own lanes and have right of way over pedestrians. You have to keep your wits about you otherwise you will be mown down in the traffic.
In our wanderings we have spent some time in the Rijks Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Franks House. The later was particularly moving, the house was largely empty, the story explained by wall mounted exhibits, excerpts from her diary and a number of scale models of the rooms. It is hard to imagine 8 people living in hiding for 2 years in these small rooms. In the Rijks Museum we saw the Dirk Hartog plate left on the West Australian coast at Pt Inscription in 1610. Allthego had stood at Pt Inscription a few years back when on his trip from Exmouth to Geraldton aboard the Endeavour replica. This plate is the oldest piece of European memorabilia found in Australia.
The streets and canals are full of human activity. Eating and socializing along the canals. It seems every one is on holiday around here. There are some big steel hulled barges on these canals to be wary of if one was in a smaller vessel. They make the one we bumped into on the Canal du Midi look midget like.
A highlight of our trip was calling in at the Amsterdam Ice Bar. It was a chilly minus 9.5 degrees C as we consumed our drinks in ice glasses along with all the other 25 year olds. Bit of an adventure for us mature types.
On our way tomorrow we first head off on a bus trip into the Dutch countryside to catch some windmills, clog makers and a cheese establishment. The Amabella cruises off without us and we rejoin her down the canal a bit before heading for Cologne overnight.