A Travellerspoint blog

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Raison d'Etre

Why We Went


View 2016 Tulip Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

We returned from Grenada in December 2015
Bed of red tulips - Keukenhof

Bed of red tulips - Keukenhof


I had my eye on a river cruise in the Holland to see the tulips for some time. I had many discussions with my travel agent Cal Ford about the best company to do this cruise with. Viking seemed to have good itineraries and some of their boats had elevators which went up to the top deck, but they are apparently difficult to deal with for bookings. So Cal was promoting AmaWaterways, and that was the one that we went with.

I wanted to revisit some of the places in the Netherlands where I had been in 1950 when I was 12. Of course we were in Amsterdam, but I have been in Amsterdam since 1950. I remembered going to Marken and Volendam, and the Ama cruise had Volendam as one of the ports. The cruise also went to Antwerp in Belgium and Antwerp was a place that we visited in 1950. I went to Kinderdjik in 2009 with my granddaughter and the cruise was also scheduled to stop there. I thought Bob would enjoy seeing that.

And I also remember the cheese market in Alkmaar. So I made hotel reservations in Alkmaar at the end of the cruise on a Friday when the cheese market would be in operation. I ordered some prints of my dad's pictures of Holland and Belgium and this proved to be a great idea.

Goals for the trip

  • Do a canal tour of Amsterdam with Bob who has not been to the Netherlands since about 1962

Best way to see Amsterdam- 2009

Best way to see Amsterdam- 2009

  • Revisit Volendam
  • Revisit Antwerp (railroad station, Rubens house and the zoo). Possibly also see Brussels although the recent bombing made me a little apprehensive about going there

Our family outside the museum in the zoo in 1950

Our family outside the museum in the zoo in 1950

  • Show Kinderdjik to Bob

Windmill at Kinderkjik in 2009

Windmill at Kinderkjik in 2009

  • See the tulips in Keukenhof
  • Revisit the Alkmaar cheese market

Posted by greatgrandmaR 16:00 Archived in USA Tagged holland tulips river_cruise Comments (0)

One Foot Up

Getting Ready to Go and Leaving


View 2016 Tulip Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

It was cheaper to fly British Airways booking directly with them, then with AA as a code share. We are flying first class to Heathrow and we will not check the scooter this time - just ask them to put it in the closet. We will see how that works.
Folded scooter

Folded scooter


Bob can't find his checkbook which annoys him. I ordered some prints of Daddy's pictures of Holland and Belgium and they were supposed to be delivered today and they were not. I hope I get them before we leave tomorrow. (We did) Bob has got the lawn mowed, front and back although he had to get a new battery for the lawn tractor.

Scaffolding behind the house

Scaffolding behind the house

He has the scaffolding on the back of the house, and has caulked and painted the windows back there.
Scaffolding on the back of the house

Scaffolding on the back of the house


While he was doing that I had a call from a Beasley in Georgia who wanted to get information from me on the Beasley family tree. Talked my ear off. I don't really think he's a relative as the Thomas Beasley that he descends from may not be a son of Jeames Beasley. I also found that when I tried to sync my tree with my tree on Ancestry that somehow I uploaded 10,000 people and made a duplicate tree. So I deleted it off Ancestry. It was too confusing having two of them there.

The modem that I got from Mother in 2006 began refusing to stay connected yesterday, so I finally got out the new one that I ordered and installed it. It had a password, and after a great deal of effort, I got my computer logged onto it, and then I had to call the Geek squad to get the printer to work on it. But then when Bob came to bed, he could not get his iPad and I could not get my iPhone logged on to the network. My phone said the password was incorrect but it was the same one I used before. So I called the Geek Squad again and they said they couldn't do any network stuff.

When I started to have trouble, I had called Verizon, but they are on strike and I couldn't get anything except an automated help. But after the Geek Squad guy could not help, I called Verizon again and this time I did not say what it was I wanted, so I got to talk to a person. I asked him if I could take the password off, and he told me how to do that. Then my phone and Bob's iPad worked on the network and I could get my computer to work too, but I knew when I wanted to print something else out, that the printer would have a problem. I decided to wait to address that until today. And this time the Geek Squad guy was able to help.

We have printed out our boarding passes for the flight tomorrow. The BA website had a countdown timer but at the last minute it disappeared and then I got an email that I could check in. I don't quite understand the baggage check for the second flight, but I guess it will be OK At least the boarding passes are printed out. I think when I come back home again I'll put a different password on the modem so that there is one, but it is a little simpler. Lynde packed my bags on Wednesday and she came again this morning to finish up, but there really wasn't that much to do. I think we have about 4 grapefruit left and Bob may eat one tomorrow. We left home about 3:15
Leaving  home - road into town

Leaving home - road into town


and got to the Country Inn and Suites about 5:30 and without much problem they gave us our parking pass to put in the car and had us loaded into the van and to the airport asap. There was no one there to curb check the bags so I went in while Bob was unloading and there was a wheelchair person there.

Next problem was the scooter. They had a fit over the battery.
Scooter battery

Scooter battery

Scooter without battery

Scooter without battery


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Took it out and measured it and weighed it and the scooter separately, and photographed the scooter. Took us about half an hour to check in.
Folded scooter

Folded scooter

Security wasn't so much of a problem - apparently if you are over 75, you don't have to get out of a wheelchair to go through security. We were in the Lounge eating sandwiches and cookies (and there was also French Onion soup) by 6:35.
Sandwich choices

Sandwich choices

Cookie jar

Cookie jar

Sandwiches in the airport lounge

Sandwiches in the airport lounge


Got on the plane before 8:30 and they put the scooter in the closet for us. We were at a bulkhead which meant I couldn't have any bags with me, but I figured out that I could hang stuff from the arm of the TV. They gave us dinner - Tomato and mozzarella as a starter (it was good),
Tomato and mozzarella as a starter

Tomato and mozzarella as a starter


beef with roasted root vegetables (I liked the beef but hated the veggies), and
Chocolate and caramel fondant for dessert

Chocolate and caramel fondant for dessert


I think both of us slept some.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 09:42 Archived in USA Tagged holland tulips scooter Comments (0)

Heathrow Hodgepodge

Necessary Nuisance


View 2016 Tulip Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

They gave us breakfast on the plane - about 5 am our time. Juice, and either yogurt or fruit and pastries.

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We flew in over the fields and streams (and houses and churches) of England,
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and arrived at Heathrow early - 10:05. The wheelchair person at the gate tried to get me to walk up the gangway - not going to happen. So she pushed me to the holding area, and then we got another wheelchair person who took us to the Lounge.
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But first we had to go through security again - we had to dump out all our water (which we just got on the plane and wasn't even open). This time they picked Bob's carry-on to do an extra special inspection - scrutinized his electric razor and the charging stuff for the scooter and also of course the scooter battery and the scooter. We did not get out of there until 11:30. Very little time in the lounge
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although I did use the bathroom-
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there is free wi-fi but it needs a password. And as before, we got a wheelchair out of there at the last minute

This time they made Bob gate check the scooter. We were on the plane by 12:55 (for a 13:10 departure) - this was a full plane.
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They gave us a light lunch which consisted of a somewhat nasty salad with a three pie shaped wedges of cheese - reminiscent of a plowman's lunch which I have never cared for, but the roll was good.

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Posted by greatgrandmaR 11:38 Archived in England Tagged airport scooter Comments (0)

Alighting in the Netherlands -April 20, 2016 -

Arriving

sunny
View 2016 Tulip Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Flying in over the Netherlands
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We landed early at Schiphol. We got the scooter, unscathed from being gate-checked

The wheelchair pushing person was quite efficient and helpful. She had two wheelchair people - us and a man and his wife. The wife pushed their wheelchair. Bob got the scooter and put the battery in it so we put the hand luggage on the wheelchair and went to baggage claim. Got the baggage, and we went through customs (nothing to declare which meant just walking through a door), and she took us to the "meeting place" (a red and white checkerboard cube) where drivers pick people up.

Meeting Point

Meeting Point

Meeting Point

Meeting Point


The driver was not there. She took the phone number at the bottom of the thing I printed out and called and the driver was on his way. He got there about 4:00, and drove us to the hotel.
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Machine to pay parking at the airport

Machine to pay parking at the airport

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I was in the back seat so I didn't get to take any pictures.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 06:24 Archived in Netherlands Tagged airport netherlands Comments (0)

Dam, Dam, Amsterdam April 20-21

Arriving, and Boarding

sunny 65 °F
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April 20, 2016-continued
7615497-Arrival_Amsterdam.jpgOur hotel-the Movenpick-the high rise part

Our hotel-the Movenpick-the high rise part


The Movenpick hotel is a big tower plus some rooms in a larger section below the tower. We waited in line a long time to check in (about a half hour) - finally got checked in by 5:00. This is very large and very busy hotel. The hotel itself is beautiful and it is in a pretty location, right down at the docks. The internet was good. We have a huge room (plenty of room for the scooter) with an anteroom
me reflected in the anteroom mirror

me reflected in the anteroom mirror


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a bathroom with a handicapped shower

a bathroom with a handicapped shower


and a small fridge

and a small fridge


But it is in the larger bottom section and it is hard to get an elevator that has room for me on the scooter. Unfortunately, the Maritime Museum where I had planned to go to this afternoon is closed for meetings. So we may not to much beside go to dinner. I was going to go to Jamie Oliver's restaurant which is quite near the hotel, but I changed my mind because about half the reviews were that the service was bad and I wasn't up for waiting. So I decided that we should try to see how far it was to where the ship was docked.
Going to look at the  docks

Going to look at the docks


Oops - I have picked the wrong hotel. Although I got the information on the dock from the on-line Amawaterways information and it is the closest to the docks, this hotel is the Viking hotel and I should be at the Softel which is where Ama hangs out. In order to get from the hotel to the boat, we have to go across a big bridge - so we have to go back far enough to get onto the bridge and then cross the bridge and then go down and back beside the bridge to the dock - twice as far as if we could just go directly. Bob does not think that we can do it with the luggage. Also he packed for the weather in Maryland and it is significantly colder here. So walking over I think he was cold - I was cold and I was wearing a lined coat. At the last minute he put in a sweater other than that, all he has is his sweatshirt and a jacket. Anyway, we walked and scootered over to the docks, crossing the bridge that separates the hotel form the docks
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and went down onto the dock area
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where I saw another Ama ship and there was a guy there in uniform.
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He said AmaViola was rafted on the other ship.
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Bob walking back to the hotel ahead of me

Bob walking back to the hotel ahead of me


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Movenpick Hotel and restaurant from the road

Movenpick Hotel and restaurant from the road


Dinner cruise canal boat

Dinner cruise canal boat


Went back to the hotel and went to the restaurant but they said they were fully booked and it would be 45 minutes before we could get a table, so we went and ate in the bar.
Lobby of the hotel going to the bar

Lobby of the hotel going to the bar


Logo of the restaurant

Logo of the restaurant

Art on the wall of the bar

Art on the wall of the bar


I got a Amsterdam burger (which was a cheeseburger) I got mustard and pickles with mine. I gave the mustard to Bob.
My Amsterdam burger and mustard

My Amsterdam burger and mustard


Bob got a US burger (which had bacon on it).
Bob's fries, burger and cole slaw

Bob's fries, burger and cole slaw


He gave his bacon to me as he thought it was raw (as in not burnt the way he likes it) His fries were very salty - mine were not so bad.
My  fries

My fries


Tea glass and sugar packets

Tea glass and sugar packets


We got a pot of tea (half a glass each) and some water. We both were having trouble actually eating - we both ate the hamburger and left the bun. I had a scoop of ice cream. Then we came back to the room and Bob got undressed and was asleep almost immediately. I lasted a short time longer, and then I also went to sleep. I waked about 1:30 Amsterdam time, and then went back to sleep.

April 21, 2016
This morning we got up about 6:30 and got dressed. I had a shower utilizing the handicapped shower where I could sit and shower.
Hotel restaurant from the bridge

Hotel restaurant from the bridge


We went to the main restaurant (the Silk) for the very expensive ($25.00 each) buffet breakfast and it was a zoo. As usual doing a buffet is very hard for me and we did not get any juice as that was in another section.
Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet

Bob getting me something from the buffet

Bob getting me something from the buffet

Scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and tiny pancakes

Scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and tiny pancakes

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We will check out about noon and take a taxi (the desk says about 8€) to the ship. We came back to the hotel room after breakfast and after a bit I decided to call AmaViola and see if we could come early. They said it was fine to come right away. This is their first cruise, so they don't have rooms to clean. When I looked out the bathroom window, I saw a regular size big cruise ship right outside. This turned out to be AIDA Mar which is a German ship. They were loading right from the Movenpick Hotel dock
AIDA Mar

AIDA Mar

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:38 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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