As we did not do any photography on the way home, I have put in a number of pictures of the common means of transport in Holland - the bike. I had described the bicycle situation to one of our fellow passengers before we got to Amsterdam and I know he thought I was exaggerating when I spoke of multi-storey bike parking lots and the omnipresent bikes with the right of way, but after he had spent the day there, he realized I had not told him half of it!
Well, another very successful trip with perhaps a couple of disappointments or surprises. The cruise was billed as Waterways of Holland and Belgium, but virtually all of the Belgian portion was by bus, meeting the ship at different points for sleeping accommodation, in fact, for the first nine days I am sure we spent more daylight hour on the bus than on the boat. The other side of this, of course, is that the scenery really was not that exciting!. The area is not known as the NETHERlands for no reason! The places we visited were most interesting and Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp, and possibly Maastricht are worth a longer visit. The other disappointment was the lack of tulips. Usually at this time of year they are in full bloom, but with the cold weather, the bulbs had not fully opened up and there was more green than any other colour. Others on the ship who had visited before claimed to have seen much more impressive displays than we experienced. The service provided by Jerry van Dyke was as outstanding as usual, their slogan, "We treat you Royally" is well deserved.
Nonetheless, it was enjoyable to see new places, reacquaint with places for the past and generally be in a different atmosphere. Some of the passengers in the last few days said they were ready for home and it could not come quickly enough for them. I, on the other hand felt a deep sense of regret as I walked through Amsterdam Airport for the last time, wishing I was not homeward bound just yet.
AS always, Christine took many of the photos, though, I think for the first time, I contributed my fair share, possibly due to a new camera with some neat features, a very wide angle lens and the ability to take panorama shots within the camera, however, I lack the artistic ability - or patience - to capture the scenes that Christine seems to do with ease.
Well, that is it for this trip, and probably for this year. Our immediate plans are more local, and next year's are still incubating, but hopefully we will meet again this way in the not too distant future, I just do not know where that will be.