Monday 17 June 2024

Trafalgar Tour Day 1

 June 16th. Started wet but finished gloriously fine.

My nephew kindly offered me The Dignitas experience and had me a little worried ( ha ha) until we arrived and I saw it was minus an S!   

Delicious coffee and a cheesecake, a pleasant chat and then a short walk to the hotel from where I start my one week Trafalgar tour of The Netherlands.

The Bilderberg Garden Hotel is home for a couple of nights while the Tour Escort/Guide shows the 40 of us many of the sights of Amsterdam city.   Today following a brief orientation we did a coach tour through the four sectors.  Older style Amsterdam House Architecture, then more modern prize winning and edgy buildings.  Other areas had been regenerated…the old pulled down and rebuilt, or built over.  In one part a new apartment complex straddled an old port building .   The NeMo is a science museum that looks like a sinking ship and has been cynically nicknamed the Titanic.   It had to be built over an old tunnel and the Italian architect is reputed to have said that Dutch architecture is too boxy.  This is certainly no box!

Another building that used to be the offices of Philips has a revolving restaurant at the top and a giant swing on the roof edge where the brave and foolhardy can pay to swing out above the water.

At 7pm we all filed on to a canal boat for a dinner cruise.   

This was super interesting and my chance to see closer some of the many canal houses for which Amsterdam is famous.   

We saw the group known as ‘the dancing houses’.   This name has come about because they lean at various angles, the result of their wooden piles rotting and inducing a variation from the perpendicular.   

We also saw the narrowest canal house  - the one in this photo with the cream bay window.   

And plenty of bridges too.  I thought them all quite pretty but only one is so named.

There were lots of permanently moored houseboats too. No increase in the number of houseboats is allowed in Amsterdam so the value is increasing and they are no longer the cheap option they were thought to be.

I found the cruise interesting although there was little commentary.   Having had the excellent 45 minute coach tour just before much of it meshed and we saw a back door view as it were.   The meal itself was underwhelming - a medley of very spicy Indonesian foods and a Cinnamon Layer cake for dessert.   

This gave the opportunity for the Guide to explain in some detail the importance of the spice trade to Dutch wealth and the strong relationship with the former colony of Indonesia.   I sat at a table with a couple from Chicago and a lady from Winton, New Zealand.   It is a small world!

The coach delivered us back to our hotel and tomorrow we will begin a whirlwind tour of important Amsterdam sights.   


Maggie said...

I hope you are enjoying your tour and that the food has improved over the last couple of days. Those canal houses are really lovely but i'm not sure i would feel safe living so close to water, especially the ones that are leaning.

Leonore Winterer said...

I'm looking forward to learning more about the Netherlands just by reading along!