Heidelberg - Amsterdam
Jul 20, 2005
|Wednesday 20th July
We head off at 7.30 am after a great breakfast, its cooler than its been for the whole tour.
Now on to Amsterdam. First stop is the Rhine Falls and then a Rhine River
Cruise. The Rhine river area is surrounded by vineyards.
It is here on the Rhine River that the Dam Busters came down to take out the bridges thereby cutting German supply lines in WWII. Today it is a tranquil scene where barges from 4 countries ply this river, it is a main thoroughfare carrying goods.
On the banks of the Rhine are many castles. Up to a few years back many of these were able to be bought for $1.00 but you then had to restore them and then care for them. The majority today have been restored as hotels and tourist sites.
The weather now is overcast.
Our Lunch stop is Cologne, here we have view the Cathedral which was bombed during WWII but is now restored. The city was bombed also and is now completely rebuilt.
We go for a wander through the town and then have lunch and back on board for Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is the old trading post . It is a city of canals. All the fields are surrounded by canals. The land is all reclaimed This used to be a trading post for the Dutch East India Co. The water levels in the country side are controlled - either by draining or allowing more water in.
Here we visit a diamond distributor/shop. We view how they cut diamonds.
After this we head for a meal at the Sea Palace Floating Restaurant which has a mixture of Asian/Indonesia and Dutch foods. After dinner a canal cruise of Amsterdam, it is now very cool but we are enclosed in a glass boat, we see the old town, warehouses converted to apartments and Anne Frank's house - where she hid for most of the war with her family and a friend. Eventually they were discovered just prior to the end of the War where all but her father died in concentration camps.
During the cruise we see dozens of bridges, old buildings which have been converted from warehouses to apartments, the old gentlemens houses have been converted to banks, finance institutions and corporate buildings.
After our cruise we take a stroll through the "Red-light District" a whole new experience for us all.
Our last night is spent in a 5 star hotel. Luxury plus.