August 16 and 17

Sunday, August 16

We board the River Adagio this morning, a Grand Circle Cruises riverboat docked behind Central Station.


With only 164 passengers, the boarding process is very simple. We wait in the boat's lounge while our room is prepared. Our cabin is slightly smaller than on an ocean cruise, but the window is huge.


Monday, August 17

It's cold, 54 degrees, and raining today. With raincoats and umbrellas in hand, we go on yet another city tour of Amsterdam. On an enclosed canal boat it's quite pleasant, and we enjoy having our official tour director, Bob Visser. He's from The Netherlands and knows the history and sights well.

The canal boat stops at the Anne Frank house. Even in the rain, the line is over a block long at 9:15 AM. Tom stays with the canal boat to return to the river boat. Karen goes with our guide Bob and about 10 others for a walk through the city.

I learn lots more about the city, it's history and architecture. Many of the buildings were built and used for storing freight brought via the canals from ships in the harbour. Some of the buildings were designed to be leaning forward to prevent the goods being hoisted up from hitting the front of the buildings.

The churches were originally built as Catholic Churches in the 1300s to 1500s. After the reformation they became Protestant Churches and their Saint names were changed to Old Church, New Church, West Church, East Church, etc. If there's a rooster on top of the steeple, it's a Protestant Church.

We walk to Dam Square and Bob tells the story of Queen Beatrix's abdication and her son Willem Alexander's coronation in 2014 in the Castle and church on the Square.



We join another boat guide, Daniel, for a walk through the Red Light district. Daniel explains the Origen of the district, to get the crime associated with prostitution off the streets, the fighting and beating of women and to protect the young Dutch women being prostituted. Now the prostitutes are mostly young Eastern European women, many brought here under false promises. The Dutch women who want to sell go to the higher class brothels. Girls in the red light district pay for their storefront and pay daily for a room key, about $300, and try to earn enough on their 8 hour shift, at $200 to 300 for a 15 minute session, to earn above the daily key charge. They look like they're 20 years old max and are very pretty.

The Netherlands is now tightening restrictions on the red light district as well as marijuana.

We sail away from Amsterdam after lunch toward Cologne.