2019 Rhine River Cruise travel blog

5 styles of gables--Italian, stepped, bell, neck, and Dutch

Former paint (verf) factory along a canal

Larry's pancake

My apple and cheese pancake

Condom shop

I finally got to sleep after 5:30 pm, and woke up when Larry got up at 7:30 am. We went to the breakfast buffet, which was huge, with a large selection of food and beverages and (according to Larry) chocolate muffins to die for.

At 9:30 we met in the lobby for a Viking walking tour of the city. We had voice devices, so we could hear our guide even if we weren't very close. Nice. It was a good 2 hour tour. Part of it was in the area we had explored last night. It included history, architecture, as well as a general intro to the city. It ended in Dam Square shortly before noon.

Larry and I found a place where we could buy a milkshake and sit down for a while, then walked through a shopping mall, where I bought a pin for my hat. After that we walked out to the Anne Frank house. Our tour was scheduled for 2:15, but they let us in about 2:05. We could not take photos inside. The entrance and part of the museum is in an adjoining modern building. Again we had electronic guides that told us about the story, except in the actual rooms where they stayed. These rooms had no furniture, at Otto Frank's insistence, but had photos and captions telling us about them. Very moving.

We left about 3:30 and walked a couple of blocks to the Pancake Bakery, an Amsterdam tradition. I had an apple and cheese pancake and Larry had one with ice cream, whipped topping, and chocolate sauce. The pancakes were thin like a crepe and very large, the same size as the plate. They were not rolled or folded like a crepe, and we ate them with a fork. Good!

Next stop was back in Dam Square for our next tour, in the rain. We were prepared for the weather -- but we had already walked our 10,000 steps for the day, so we were tired. :-(

Our final tour was of the Red Light District. It was led by a man from Indonesia. He talked about the Dutch attitude toward sex (natural, part of life) and drugs (make them legal, so they are easier to control), and how regulating them makes them safer. It was interesting; he would make an eloquent US progressive. Included on the tour: a store that sold various drugs, including "magic mushrooms" and other psychedelic drugs, a condom store (all sizes and shapes, from small to "liar"), and a few windows with prostitutes in them (this was at 5-6 pm, so not "prime time."). Nevertheless, Larry indicated the workers who were working were surprisingly attractive. The Red Light sex workers are self-employed and unionized, have regular medical exams, and pay taxes and rent their windows and rooms, and are protected by the law. Many are from Eastern European countries, send money home, come here to work for a few years, and may return home

At the end of the tour, we came back down a by-now-familiar street to our hotel. We were in for the night by 7:30 pm, and Larry was napping by 7:31.

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