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April 23, 2024

Netherlands – Day Eleven – Grande Tulip Finale

s I write this, we’re easing into Amsterdam Docks at 5 AM, bedtime chocolate melting on my tongue, coffee steaming, just having given the next boat dock-ward of us a nice wake-up nudge. It’s tulip day today. And it’s the day the wife packs, with all the hysterics and recriminations that brings. Flashback: The last “final day” on a ship in Amsterdam, she broke her arm as noted HERE. Fun fact: The cruise director told me that this ship takes 9000 gallons of fuel and on a full tank can run from here (Amsterdam) all the way upriver to Vienna. […]
April 22, 2024

Netherlands – Day Ten – Colonial Memdemblik and Cool Trains

kay, so, observations. Our journey has exacted a toll. There are at least four women on the cruise who now sport splints on their arms. No men. We all think that irregular cobblestones (and a lack of situational awareness) have contributed to this. I did hear bitching that someone lost their footing dodging a bike. To that: (A) Bikes run largely in straight lines and (B) at constant speeds and so if an object moving along a set path and velocity “surprised you”, you (C ) weren’t looking. That’s on you. No billboards here, none at all. On I-75, coming […]
April 22, 2024

OpsLog – WAZU – 4/21/2024

guess it comes from bumming around the Netherlands for two weeks. Everywhere you go, you see trains zip past. And Central Station in Amsterdam has more rail traffic in and out that a Christmas tree layout. Every five minutes, a sleek blue train from the Dutch Railways bursts into the sunset, flying across fields and vaulting canals. And here, we just crashed a couple of trains at Folkston, GA, in what sounds like a complete stooges act of train safety. But those Dutch trains – poetry in motion. Look, for American railroading, Doc Andy likes creating fast lines. It’s Union […]
April 21, 2024

Netherlands – Day Nine – Windblown windmills

uestion – whose bright idea was it to place a small bit of chocolate on your pillow at night? If you pop it down then and there (as I did for the first few nights) then you have to brush your teeth all over again (or lay there in the dark tasting it as you fall asleep (perhaps this explains all those yellow Dutch teeth I’ve seen in recent days?)). Further, there is that final sugar spike you get, not so perfect when you lay me down to sleep. I’ve gotten enough sugar in recent days (with the waffles and […]
April 20, 2024

Netherlands – Day Eight – Reflections and more Medieval Stuff than you can imagine

e’re currently docked this morning in an industrial town outside of Ghent. Kinda bleak and, well, industrial. Just off the fantail, there is a very utilitarian “barracks”, a three-story floating block of flats, tied semi-permanently to the dock. Notices of this and that taped to three stories of end-side entryways (off something that looks like a fire escape). It is nothing but a big square box where presumably workers reside (for the industrial yard itself, or some nearby project?). On the shore, there are a hundred bikes drawn up, hinting at the numbers inside. It rather puts me to mind […]
April 19, 2024

Netherlands – Day Seven – Mayonnaise and Pot

oke up in Antwerp this AM. Getting in here was an indirect adventure. From about 3am on, we were doing hard thrusting and tight corrections, as well as crashing into occasional locks. It was like we were under hard burn to land at some hidden pirate asteroid base. I lay in bed feeling the boat shiver under thrust and grind against God knows what. But it’s 7am now – the boat is abandoned and I’m sitting in the stern lounge all on my own, having the run of the boat. Already been topside to look at pre-dawn Antwerp, to marvel […]
April 18, 2024

Netherlands – Day Six – Easy sailing

asual day today. Woke up, had a light breakfast with the family (and, as always, other old folk whose names I don’t remember) and then we walked over to the north street market (about a half mile away, just up the road, under the low, century-old railroad bridge, up a couple of cluttered streets, and there it was, filling a church yard with all manner of wares (and, need I mention, keeping a careful eyes for the literal hundred bikes that passed us). This is Amsterdam at its best; a warm sunny April day, a light breeze, the residents out […]
April 17, 2024

Netherlands – Day Five – Boarding Action

‘m listening to sirens. Well, right now I’m listening to the Dutch Youth Choir on the Monarch Baroness, our ship for the next few days. But those aren’t my only sirens, This morning, we woke up to a notice on JB’s phone that our home alarm was going off. And it was five hours out of date. Well, crap. So I called my brother (whom I sell short in every regard, and unjustly, since he really comes through for me). 8 am Amsterdam time is 2am Orlando time. But he drove across town and checked things for us, walking the […]
April 16, 2024

Netherlands – Day Four – Boats and Trains

oday we went on our first official tour of the series, a ride down the canals of Amsterdam on a long, low tour boat. It sure didn’t look like the best day for it – it was cold and windy and raining pretty consistently. We got on the bus, a bunch of boisterous Americans. The counterweight was the charming Dutch woman, our guide who lives here. She was amusing on the ride out, talking about commuting by bicycles in this city (yeah, soul sister!). When we got to the boat, it was coming down heavier – thank goodness it was […]
April 15, 2024

Netherlands – Day Three – Tulips, Houseboats and No Gogh

‘ve got to say that our room here in the Westcord Fashion Hotel is one of the best I’ve ever stayed in. The light panels are a little wonky but the bed is the bomb. Like a cloud. Even while dead-eye awake at 2am with Jet Lag, I was in total comfort. And my new Zen power of falling asleep while meditating worked once again! The day before we’d picked out our careful and deliberate route, all of us buying train passes (well, everyone bought, I paid) for our various activities. The first bit was to ride Tram 1 in […]