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April 22, 2022
Amsterdam: Welcome aboard Viking Vili

Our adventure begins

The good news is our flight from San Francisco, California, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, was non-stop. The bad news is it was an overnight flight, and Russell is the only one who can sleep on a plane. We had paid extra to get economy seats with actual legroom, and the plane was not completely full. Nevertheless, Gail and Cameron got very little sleep by the time we arrived in Amsterdam at 10:30 am.

Our arrival went well. Multiple Viking representatives met arriving guests outside of baggage claim, and our van delivered us to the ship in half an hour. Russell and Gail are in a stateroom with a wraparound balcony, while Cam is by himself in a stateroom with a Juliet balcony (the floor-to-ceiling glass door slides opens, but there is no balcony – just a railing).

After lunch aboard ship, we went for a two-hour walk around Amsterdam. This would be our only chance to see the city, as the ship sets sail this evening. Viking basically invented modern river cruising and has been doing this for years, so their ships get the best berthing spots. We were right next to the train station, a short walk away from the center of town.

Amsterdam is the capital of the Dutch Netherlands. Its patchwork of waterways forms about 90 islands connected by 1,500 bridges. While the city is renowned for its Dutch Golden Age painting masters, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, we would not have time to see much of their work.

Instead, our walk was mainly to shake off jet lag, so we just wandered randomly down the streets alongside the canals. Our route took us through the infamous “red light district,” but it is simply a heavy-tourist area with absolutely nothing unsavory (at least during the day).

Some postcards from Amsterdam

Gail was fascinated by all the old shutters

Amsterdam is famous for its canals…

… tulips…

… bicycles…

… and legalized marijuana

Gail was particularly fascinated by the architecture of the old Amrath Hotel, just across the canal from the ship dock

We were back aboard ship by 4:30 pm, in time for the evening’s activities:

The ship has a capacity for 190 guests, but we currently have only 133 on board. We have already met some very nice people. As far as we can tell, Cameron is the only guest under the age of 55.

By the end of dinner we were exhausted. We skipped the evening’s entertainment for an early evening. Tomorrow we have to be up and at breakfast by 7:00 am, before our 8:30 am excursions. There are no sea days on a river cruise and the days in port are jam-packed, so we are expecting to be exhausted by the end of two weeks.

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