Cruising to 170 travel blog


Night Watch

M. C. Escher

Het Begijnhof Courtyard

It was another adventurous day. We had signed up for the “Golden Age of Amsterdam” tour. We started the day with the hotel’s breakfast buffet, which was filing and tasty.

Our tour started at the Coster Diamond museum where we learned a lot about diamond cutting and polishing. Amsterdam is famous for both. We did get to see a diamond in the process of being polished. Using a jeweler’s loupe, we were able to see a half carat diamond whose facets were being smoothed. No free samples were handed out, however.

Our next stop was the Rijksmuseum, and a discussion of 17th century art. The star of the discussion was the Night Watch by Rembrandt. It is a very large piece and the museum has an elevator built especially for it in case it has to be removed in an emergency. The crowd made it difficult to get close, but it was still easy to see its impressive size.

From there, we hopped on a small boat for a canal tour. We spent an hour cruising the canals. We learned a lot about how the city was formed, how people displayed their status, and how the buildings were used then and now.

Lunch was next and it was really good - a great salad, a meatball on a bed of mashed vegetables, and a lovely apple dessert.

From lunch, we had a short walk to our next museum - with a detour through a lovely courtyard, surrounded by apartments. The Begijnhof was founded in the Middle Ages and inhabited by a group of women who had taken a vow of a chasity but were not nuns, the beguines. Within the courtyard are two churches, one a “hidden” Catholic Church.

The Museum Van Loon is a canal house built in 1672. Behind the house is a lovely garden and a second building that was once the stables and in more current times became the garage.

Finally, it was time to go to the ship - the Viking Lif. After a welcome by the staff, dinner in the restaurant, we took a brief walk around the top deck and went back to our home for the next two weeks.

As I type, we are on our way to our first stop - Kinderdijk.


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