It Was The Best of Times and The Worst of Times

Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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Where I stayed
Aboard the Avalon Vista

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday was a busy day. Up early and after breakfast it was off to the train into Amsterdan. We bought tickets to the "Hop On - Hop Off" Tour Bus which would take us all around Amsterdam and we could do as the name suggests at various sites. Our first stop was the Rijksmuseum which had great paintings of the Dutch Masters including Rembrandt. Excellent audio tour of the museum. Best was last, of course, Rembrandt's "Night Watch" which took most of an entire 15 foot high wall. Very powerful.

Next we made our way a short distance to the Van Gogh Museum. Outstanding as well. Great audio tour. Getting tickets came in handy as we didn't have to wait in a long ling to enter. Right to the head of the line. Was a bit disappointed that Van Gogh's famous works, "Starry Night" and his self-portrait, "Man With Ear Cutt" were not there. I was told they were in London and NYC. Oh well, great anyway.

We hopped on the bus and rode around (listening to the very well done audio tour), finally ending up at Anne Frank's House. We already had tickets for a specific time, and am I ever glad we did. (Thanks Jim Ferrier!) Huge line for entry into the house where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazi's during WWII. I haven't read the "Diary of Anne Frank" yet. I'll tell you why later in this story. The tour was dark and somber. It ends telling you that Anne and her family were betrayed (they don't know by whom) and were thrown in different concentration camps. Anne died one month before her camp was liberated. Her father (Otto) surveved and published Anne's diary in the early 1950's.

After a great dinner at an Argentine steak house, and an obligitory walk through Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District which was interesting as well, we headed back for the train.

We made the 11:04 pm train back to our hotel. We were just beat. Had been up since 7:00 am and still had a bit of jet lag, we both dozed off. And that's when it happened. We became statistics. When Sandy awoke, we were quicly aware that my brief case was missing. Instant panic set in. We raced to the front of the car and a man there said a guy with a black brief case ran off the train at the last second at the last stop.

We got off at the next stop, and spoke to the Police, who were less than helpful and the Train Security who were even less helpful. I headed back to the last stop on the next train to see if maybe the thief had just taken the IPad and iPhone and tossed the rest away while Sandy completed a Police report. We were particularly worried because our passports were in the brief case. I searched to no avail. We filed an official police report, but don't expect anything to come of it.

We both were just devastated. I felt so guilty being a stupid tourist, leaving my case on the seat next to me and then dozing off. But I refuse to beat myself up over it...he's the guilty party, not me. I moved from panicked, to angry to thinking what have they got, to how to resolve the problem. Not an easy night. Sandy was right though, "No one was hurt and it was just stuff...stuff that can be replaced.

We made phone calls from the hotel to cancel credit cards (just one)...luckily I had the two main ones we are using in my money clip. And we emailed our friendly State Farm Agent about the loss. But we were told that we would have to make a trip the The Hague, which is where the American Embassy is located. We later found out, we could actually get new passports in Amsterdam at the American Consulate. Our cruise director will call the Consulate on our behalf tomorrow (Monday) morning.

We checked out of our hotel around Noon and headed via taxi to the NH Hotel where the Avalon Tour Group was meeting. While we had an extra hour, we bought a nice new camera....that's right, they got that too. And we bought a cheap phone to call back to the US. Oh, yea, the passports. We made extra copies before the trip and kept them separately. That should help us at the US Consulate tomorrow. And we got passport photos made as well. We'll see how it goes from there. Hopefully we can make it back to the ship by sailing time tomorrow, 1:00 pm.

I'm a Pace Palette Red and for us, setbacks are only temporary. We are determined not to allow this incident to ruin our trip. Sandy said it this way, "Pretty soon it'll be a good story." And she's right.

On the bus and on the ship. Beautiful new boat. The Avalon Vista. Great state room. After the obligatory safety meeting, the Cruise Director gave us an idea what to expect. He said there are 68 locks to go through on these three rivers before we get to Budapest. That's a lot of locks. We had dinner with some folks from Australia. Great people. There are a lot of Aussie's and New Zealander's aboard. Not sure why. We head for Cologne, Germany tomorrow. If all goes well, hopefully with new passports in hand.

Luckily, we still have Sandy's iPad, so I can still blog. We're keeping a close eye on it!!

More later....Dave & Sandy
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Dick Malcom on

Well that Stinks, but keep em coming Dave. I am loving this trip already

Wendy V. on

Oh Dave! I feel your pain! My camera bag was stolen off the back of my son's chair in London. The chair was up against a wall, and we were all sitting at the table. It is the worst feeling, but luckily my camera was on my lap! They only got away with my bigger lens, bag, and charger. I'm so glad to hear that everything with your passport worked out. What a relief! Wish you two were coming through Belgium. We would have been happy to show you around. Safe and happy travels!

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