Thursday, December 8, 2022

Christmas Cruising Along The Rhine/ Part 1-Amsterdam

Hi, Friends,
How are you? I hope you are well.

I've wanted to got to Germany for many years. It was near the top of my list for a long time. 
On our way out to East Texas one evening, Bill surprised me by getting a travel agent on the line. He'd been working with her regarding a Christmas Market Cruise along the Rhine. We'd began chatting about a trip to be scheduled during the 2023 season. However, when we lost Bill's mom in August, we needed to get away. We called her back just to see if there was availability for this Christmas. There was and in September we booked our river cruise. 

We began by flying into Heathrow with a connecting flight to Amsterdam. It wasn't until the last minute that we realized that we could have spent one night in London. Seeing London at Christmas time  would have been quite fun but "Oh well, as they say. " 
We arrived in Amsterdam at 7:30 p.m. We made it through customs and hailed a taxi to our Hotel. 
He let us off in the center of the weed district. We had to walk down weed infused, cobblestone streets to our hotel. Initially, I was afraid that our agent had steered us wrong but as soon as we walked into the hotel courtyard we breathed a sigh of relief. It was lovely. They were lovely. 

We fell into bed and slept well all night. 
After visiting with the concierge, he suggested the must see sights for Amsterdam. 
I had very little expectations for this portion of the trip and in a geography fail, I didn't realize that we were in Holland. A place that had also been on my bucket list. 
(They officially changed the name to the Netherlands proceeding the 2020 Olympics. I must have been preoccupied in 2020 and somehow missed this bit of news. 
Suddenly, I was very excited about this portion of our trip. 

We walked to Rijksmuseum. It was cold but not unbearable. There were plenty of darling dutch canal houses to see along the route.

The museum was fabulous. It is up there with the Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. It is better than the Louvre, in my opinion. If you visit, go early when others are sleeping off their partying from the night before. Amsterdam gets very crowded in the afternoon and evening. The morning had a different feel. 
You will need tickets which were procured for us by the hotel. 
It was a treat to see so many of the Dutch Masters. 

The dollhouse at Windsor was closed when we visited the U.K so I was thrilled that the museum had two dollhouses. 

It was a Sunday but there were a few antique and vintage shops open. 

"Okay, now I want to go to Delft." 
 Seeing the Delft made us wonder if a trip to Delft would be doable. It was only an hour away by train. 
We had time the next day so we took the train into the town of Delft and toured the Royal Delft Factory.

The train station was gorgeous. 

My husband geeks out over trains. 

The town is darling. 

We were surprised to learn that all Delft tile isn't only blue and white. 

They had a gorgeous garden arch. 

They explained the whole process. 

Royal Delft Factory floor. 

It was very fun. 
We also visited the Oude Kerk or Old Church. 
The Nieuwe Kerk is also very old but we ran out of time to see it. 

It got dark very early and the lights back in Amsterdam were very festive. 

 We couldn't get tickets for the Anne Frank House and Museum but we decided to walk by it. You have purchase the tickets 30 days in advance. We set our alarm for that day and they were sold out. Some on the boat kept trying and were successful even after they said they were sold out. We surmised that blocks of tickets are bought and then resold later.  
The outside was not at all what I expected. 

I'm still confused by this. A statue of Anne Frank. 

We enjoyed our time in Amsterdam and appreciated the architecture of the dutch row houses. 
My house growing up was a dutch colonial so this was very familiar.
Along the route to Delft , we saw windmills and tulip fields. Two items crossed off of the bucket list. . It was wonderful to see artisans creating this beautiful pottery. 

The flower market was one of my favorite sights. 

I just love a good flower stall. 

I order our bulbs from Holland otherwise I would have bought some. 

We also visited The Tulip Museum and learned all about the great tulip crash. 

The highest price paid for a bulb was 10,000 guilders which would be equivalent to a mansion on one of the canals. 

The museum was only 6€ each so well worth it. 

Remember when Lucy tried to smuggle cheese into the U.S.? 
Do not try this. 

The hotel was very festive. It's fun traveling at Christmas to see all the decor. 

When I was little someone must have brought wooden clogs home from a trip. My mother put them out and the next morning there were treats inside. This was in early December rather than on Christmas Eve so it was a special treat. As far as I can remember we only did it one year but it stuck in my memory and Holland was on my list to visit one day.  

This was so much fun. I loved it. 
That's all for now. 

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1 comment :

  1. what a wonderful surprise and gift for Christmas. Love all the photos. Looking forward to your next stage of the trip.