Whirlwind Tour

Trip Start Jul 14, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2012

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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arriving in our last port by 8 a.m. will give us just enough time for the two, or three, activities planned. The Rijksmuseum opens at 9, and we took a cab there first.  We arrived just as it opened.  The building has been under renovation for a while and much of the fašade is encased in scaffolding and plastic wrap.  The cabbie is able to drive up pretty close, and he points out where the current entrance is.  Only a small portion of the exhibit space is open during renovation, but we spent about an hour and a half in the Philips Wing viewing great old masters, many of them Dutch, but not all of them.  During our last visit to the Rijksmuseum, it was also being renovated, but then we were able to use the normal main entrance.

Next on the agenda was the Heineken Experience.  It is only about six blocks from the Rijks so we knew that we could walk.  We had to get oriented first so we would know which way to go.  Philip asked one guards for directions to the main thoroughfare so we could head in that direction.  The entrance/exit from the museum was on the opposite side from the main street that lead to the Heineken Experience, but we made the walk in about fifteen minutes.  

On the way we stopped to photograph a couple of outdoor advertising signs that are different than the ones at home. Philip is always looking for ideas and examples that he can use in his marketing and cross-cultural communication classes.  

The story of Heineken goes back to the nineteenth century.  One of the things they pointed out was that the founder knew that to have a recognized global product, he needed to standardize his product and logo.  One of the ideas at that time were the "smiling e's" in the name—those e’s that are tipped upward just a little bit to convey a bright and cheerful  image.  They do look like they are smiling. 

At the end of the tour of the original plant, we were offered tastings of Heineken.  Philip and I each had a small glass, but we did not have time to go to the bigger tasting room for the other two free drinks that were offered nor take the boat ride to the Heineken logo shop.

Third activity was lunch at a bar near Heineken.  Only six tables there, but we found one by the window and watched the traffic—foot, bike, and auto—go by while we waited for lunch to be served.  By the time we finished lunch we had an hour and a half before the all-aboard time.  We could walk to the port in about an hour if we didn’t get lost more than a couple of times.  However, we decided to catch a cab.  We headed back to the cab stand near Museum Plein, but Philip hailed one he saw before we got there.  The driver got us to the ship in plenty of time to stop at the souvenir stand and information center before getting back on board. 

Last night on the ship was a casual-dress dinner and evening.  I thought we might have someone else at the table tonight, since new passengers boarded in Amsterdam, but no one showed up to join us.  I suppose they may keep boarding groups together in the dining rooms. 

During this cruise the food has been okay, but not the wonderful selections and creations that other cruises have had.  One peculiar thing we have noticed is that many of the main courses have the same sauce/gravy on them.  The first time I had it on fish, I thought it tasted more like turkey gravy with rosemary seasoning.  We had the same sauce on beef, chicken, turkey and other types of fish.  Rather odd that so many dishes tasted similar, but I suppose it made feeding over 1500 guests easier.

It is a bit sad to think that we have to give up all this special treatment tomorrow.  Who will clean my room twice a day and bring me anything I can think about wanting?    
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