Friday, April 29, 2016

Cruising Amsterdam's Canals

We figure that every 25-35 years one ought to cruise Amsterdam's canals. (Also Venice's. We'll get to that.) I have always figured, additionally, that there is nothing one can't see from the shore (sidewalk, street) that one can see from a canal cruise boat. I remain steadfast in this belief. The big advantage of cruising in Amsterdam is that there is far less danger of being hit or run over by other tourists, bicycles, tricylces, scooters, motorcycles, cars, buses, and trucks. And trams. Don't forget trams. (Venice is different). In any case, despite the fact we are relatively old hands in Amsterdam, we decided to go on one of Lovers city cruises, 11 euros each. And in English, too. In addition to briefly seeing the (outside of the) sights and getting something of an orientation to the old city, one also gets to know what it is like to be a sardine in a tin. I would guess most of these canal cruise boats will carry something like 200 persons. The cruise is something you do on your first day in town, and thus most of the passengers are sleeping off their jet lag by the time you turn out of the harbor and into the canals.

From the quays around the central station, the boat heads out into the harbor for a look at the Ij, then heads in to do the Herrengracht, the Prinzengracht, the Koeniggracht, the Amstel, and then back to the quay. Maybe some other -gracht, too. All in an hour. We think we did the cruise in 1979. It is a comfort to know we won't be doing it again until 2046. At least not as independent travelers. In any case, it was fun to see so many of the sights from the canal perspective and to remember good times inside so many of them.
On a boat such as this...

Out in the harbor, looking at the city's film and cinema institute
on the Ij

One of Amsterdam's several major musical houses

Not all the architecture is stepped 17th century brick

Canal scene

Ditto; some day we'll go to the museum of houseboats






Canal view of a street market we shopped last year, near the
opera

Thus

The Amsterdam Hermitage

Looking through five bridges; OK, this you can't do from the shore

A bit of Art Nouveau

In days of old, when there were no house numbers, houses were
identified by some visual representation or other, in this case the
"house of the guy with the poofy collar"

Or the "house of the jackalope"

Canal traffic signage; interestingly, you can't go into the brewery
canal; too congested; or maybe too many wrecks

Ocean going houseboat

Ditto

Maybe not

We have heard the city is trying to get rid of the houseboats,
especially in the nicer canals

On the Amstel

More interesting architecture

One of the shuttles from the central station to the Ij

Back side of Amsterdam's Centraal Station

Back on terra firma, my Mal de Debarquement only a little worse,
watching another Lovers cruise wend its way...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

More, But Not Enough Keukenhof

Continuing our visit to Keukenhof...




















Something about the Golden Age...


Go, Sentinel Spartans!
































Today's wedding


In the orchid house


Love those blue orchids


And others










The exhibits are refreshed every few days as
new flowers arrive

Another gorgeous stream





Incredible place! Six weeks early every spring...