Delft and back to check the Enchantments progress

Trip Start May 19, 2005
Trip End May 25, 2005

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Sunday, May 22, 2005

Since we aren't going back to the shipyard till 11:00am, we figure we can take the 15 minute train from the downtown station to Delft.

After walking the few long blocks to the train station, we grab our tickets and jump in line. There are 3 other people in front of us. At this time in the morning, Delft doesn't seem to draw a lot of people. Grab two seats on the train, then hop off.

The Delft Train Station is a beautiful building. We're headed on foot to the historic area  - or town square. The streets are still bare, as few people are out yet. We find a bakery and grab some wonderful pastries and a drink, and continue walking up a canal.

We're told "old Delft" is just up the street.  Unlike Rotterdam with it's new modern buildings, Delft seems to be left out of the "contemporary" world. Which keeps this beautiful town a tourist destination.We headed over to the town square, getting lost along the way.

 Dads are starting to jump on their bikes and head to work. We walked over to the 15th century Nieuwe Kerk church, where Hollands Royal family is buried, and tried to get in to climb the 376 steps to the top for a view of the city, but we were too early.
 Then the Delft Stradhuis (town hall) the exterior of this ornate building is impressive. The shops in the were closed, so no Delft for us. Then followed the signs to the delft pottery factory, went under a bridge tiled with what else? Delft tiles. Looked at the watch and said gotta get back to the train station.

Yep you need at least a full day here or even two. I'd love to eat dinner in the town square surrounded by all those historic building.  Got our tickets, jumped on the train, and looking out the window, nothing looks familiar. We're headed in the wrong direction! We think we're in Vertrek? A nice guy says we need to cross the track and get on that train.

We have no Dutch money, and the ticket machine doesn't accept American or credit cards. We decide to just jump on the train, and if we get caught, call our hotel and have someone bail us out.

For 15 plus minutes we are hoping the conductor doesn't come around checking tickets. If he does, we're both heading to the next car down, then hiding in the bathroom. There is a big fine for not possesing a ticket. We have one, but how do you explain you went in the wrong direction? I think I held my breath until we got to the Rotterdam train terminal.

Then hoofing it, we headed up the street to our hotel for a quick change, then down to meet the group and over to the Rotterdam port. We're doing a harbor cruise with Rotterdam's harbor master!  I do love little cruises on a river, lake or in the harbor. This is a nice little boat with an outside viewing area, a lounge where the captain is at the controls, and a dining room. 

Rotterdams harbor is a tourist attraction. Some of the most famous new buildings are along the shore. We learn that Rotterdam's harbor is the largest Eurpoean port, and was the world's busiest port until 2004, when ithe top position was overtaken by Shanghai. We're sailing under the Erasmus bridge, then past cargo ships loaded down with containers, shorelines with modern windmills powering the commercial buildings, a chinese pagoda restaurant sits on the water, the Euromast observation tower seems to be right behind it.

It's a relaxing way to spend a few hours, see some sights, and learn about the history of this town. The views keep changing as we eat lunch. Too soon, we're back at the dock. In the backgroundwe can see the top of the Enchantment. But we're told we will not be "visiting" today. The shipyard has said "NO."'  Back in town, we have some down time, then dinner with the group. It ends up being a late night. Tomorrow we are heading for Amsterdam.  
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