What a Fantastic Day!!!

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

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Flag of Germany  , North Rhine-Westphalia,
Monday, June 25, 2012

Have you ever planned something that just didn't meet your expectations?  You know, a party, or a visit to friends, or anything where the expectations were higher than the actual event?  Well, our day was absolutely NOTHING like that!!!
But I'm getting ahead of myself.  We were up early and met our cruise director, Dragan who gave us an invaluable letter saying the ship was sailing at 12:45 pm today.  It was a document we needed to give to the American Consulate in Amsterdam in order to attempt to get our new passports in an expedited manner.  It was very helpful.  Dragan got us a taxi to take to the Consulate which opened at 8:30.  We were at the Consulate by about 9:00 and after making our way through the line of people needing visas, we went into the "Security hut" where they took our new cell phone and strangely, my eye drops, and patted us down.  Then allowed us in to talk to someone about getting emergency passports.  The people couldn't have been nicer, except for a couple of admonitions about falling asleep on the train....yea we know that now!!!  Anway, they were luckily not too busy and about an hour or so later, Sandy and I walked out of the US Consulate in Amsterdam with temporary passports, albeit $150 per passport lighter.  But we can get new ones in the US for free when we get back.  

We then walked to an area near the Van Gogh museum and into the Coster Diamond Factory and Museum.  That may have been a bad mistake.  We almost bought a beautiful diamond, but Sandy took my worrying about making it back to the ship on time for not wanting her to buy it, so we didn't.  We discussed it in the taxi back to the ship and decided to ask Dragan if he could call them and see if they could size the ring and get it to the ship before we sailed....unfortunately they could not.  I have a feeling, one way or another, we will get Sandy that diamond.  We'll make it happen, one way or another.  

Walked to the NH Hotel where we left from yesterday and got a cab back to the ship.  We still had an hour.  We could have got the ring sized and still made the ship sailing.  But we didn't know that at the time.  Hindsight being 20-20, we should have told them to size it in a hurry and get us a taxi back to the ship.  But, as I say, I think we'll make it happen one way or another.

We sat down to lunch with our new-found Aussie friends and about 1:00 pm we were under weigh.  We started in a canal for the first 35 miles and then into open river.  I went up on top, but it was a bit cold and windy, so I spent most of my time inside the front lounge where you could watch the world go by on the banks of the Rhine River. I couldn't keep the smile from my face. It was fantastic! It was just as I had thought and hoped it would be and more. It was like canoeing down a river, but not having to work at it!  

Sandy did what all good retirees do in the afternoon, read a book for a while and then took a nap!  

She got up at tea time aboard ship, or maybe it was cocktail time, I don't care...to each his own.  We met another Aussie couple and had some great conversations with them.  We've noticed that most of the people aboard the ship are older than we are....not much, maybe 10 years or so.  But they are wonderful people.  Many Aussies and Kiwis....New Zealanders.  

We went through our first of 68 locks...quite an experience for those who had not experienced it before.  I had done so canoeing down the Illinois River between Chicago and St Louis.  Our Cruise Director narrated our move through the lock.  Very cool.  I have a feeling by #50 it will become old hat.  

Dinner time.  We sat with our original Aussie friends and had nothing less than a gourmet meal.  Just outstanding.  Later Sandy and I just laid on the bed in our stateroom watching the world go by.  How relaxing.    

Later still, Sandy walked on the treadmill, while I listened to the lounge singer.  It was a tremendous start to our 14 day cruise!  And we can even get back into the US now!!!  Having a great time!

All the best to all of you....Dave & Sandy

Dave & Sandy          
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john huffman on

Sounds like quite the adventure and a great time. I would be remiss if I did not pass along some additional friendly advice. With that many locks I hope you have plenty of bagels.......sorry could not resist. Thanks for the posts.

Uncle Johnny on

Wish I could think of something to top Mr. Hoffman's comment, but that is topless - if you know what I mean. I hope you're enjoying some of that good German beer, as I'm sure they have replenished their supply since I left there in 1956. You and Sandy have a great time and take good notes, as Rose & I hope to follow your itinerary someday soon.

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