Tour 5271 / 0820
Trip Start Aug 06, 2007
61Trip End Oct 07, 2007
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The usual 6.15am wake up call and a great breakfast before leaving Cologne for Amsterdam. En route we had one comfort stop and arrived at Amsterdam at 11.30am which was great as it would give us more time out of the coach looking around.
The drive through the countryside was delightful and many fell asleep including Jackie and myself. (Not for long though).
We had 2.5 hours free on arrival and we went sightseeing. To be honest we were supposed to have only 1.5 hours and go and see a diamond polishing display but neither Jackie or I were interested in that so we missed it.
We went through the back streets and were educated in another way of living, but did find it interesting. We also found the people very friendly. Another surprise for both Jackie and i was the height of many of the Dutch girls and women. Most of the younger set were taller than Jackie and quite a few were taller than myself. NO - it is not age taking effect and shrinking us.
Some of the areas we went through were very expensive and Label areas. Clothes were well out of the question.
At 2pm we met our local guide and she took us on a canal cruise through Amsterdam. She was about 28years and very passionate about her job. We saw scores of house boats lining the canals and we were told there were some 3,000 lined along the system and this was to be the maximum limit. Apparently these can be brought for 200,000 to 1,000,000 Euros but in my mind many if these seemed to be nothing but junk. Further the costs in maintaining these are high. Amazingly, while they power and water, they do not have sewage and this is just dumped into the canals and then flushed quarterly into the North Sea towards England. Bit of a joke here to the Dutch.
After the boat trip the guide took us around the city in the coach explaining the history and pointing out important buildings. She was great and the only thing that was disappointing was that it started to rain.
At this point we were dropped off at the central Railway Station as a pickup point and we had 3.5 hours free time. Jackie and i arranged for 1.5 hours to be set aside for shopping so she went with a couple of the women and i went off happily by myself. After all - i had my raincoat and Jackie had forgotten hers and only had her heavy woolen jacket.
We when met, Jackie had brought nothing and i had bought three items. I also scouted out a Casino for Jackie and she surprisingly won a small amount.. I had also stopped off at a local pub - had a beer and caught up on my diary.
When Jackie and her two lady friends returned we went out for a Chinese dinner and had a nice meal. Then all four of us went for a walk through the red light district and we saw many delightful goods on sale. We also saw many over ripe goods on sale and with my three chaperons hovering we only visited the area for an hour. The crowds were only medium and i suspect the weather was not helping.
Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to try a hash cookie however 3 of our group did. One of the ladies was very giggly on the way home but we missed the experience ourselves.
At 8.30pm we met up with the rest of our group and we arrived at our hotel which was called The Schiphol Hotel and once again it was a great hotel. As it was our last night we had a last drink together and got to bed about 11.30pm.
Another great day - not too much shopping and even less driving.