Monday, September 6, 2010

Farewell to Amsterdam and off to the Rhine River

There is a lot of harbor activity even early in the morning as we awakened and started the day. The busses left early for our canal cruise, so we had to have breakfast and be ready to go by 8:15. Glad we did not take a canal cruise earlier in the week. It was pretty neat to see Amsterdam from the canals. The parking garages for bikes near the railway station, where the canal cruise started, were overflowing with bikes. Quite a scene. The garages are free, but there is no guarantee of safety. Our guide said that the safest way to store a bike is with 3 different locks!  There are 16 million people in Holland and 20 million bikes.  Obviously, the Dutch love their bikes!

The “hooks” on the top level of the houses along Amsterdam's canals are actually called hoisting beams. Since the steps are so steep and narrow, the only way to get furniture and other belongings to the upper levels is by a pulley system using the hoisting beams. The facades which lean forward are deliberately built that way to avoid damaging the building and your belongings during a move. Imagine what it must cost to move in Amsterdam?

We returned to the Felicity ready to set sail at noon. The upper deck is open - cold and windy! The lounge was the perfect place for us to relax, have a glass of wine and a light lunch and watch as we slowly made our way through to the river.  Farmlands along the river are lush with trees and greenery and fields. Cows, horses, and many sheep graze in the fields on one side of the river while some light industrial buildings and the train tracks can be seen on the other.  Occasionally, you can see church steeples in the distance.

We’ll be sailing all afternoon and into the night. Tomorrow we arrive in Cologne, Germany.  Hopefully, we'll have some time in the morning to upload a few pictures that I can post.

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