Tuesday, July 14th ~ Amsterdam and Volendam
We have officially started our Gate 1 tour. The Ramada Apollo Hotel offered up a decent buffet breakfast which is included in our stay. It is always nice to start the day with a warm, full belly. Our tour leader is Derek Payne, a British fellow who has been in the travel business for many years. Already he is setting a nice pace, keeping this relatively large group of 39 travelers in check, and cheerfully imparting both stories and pertinent information to us as we get in a short bus tour of Amsterdam en route to our canal boat excursion.
The one hour canal ride was nice as it gave us a slightly different perspective of the city from water level.
Back on the bus we made a stop at a cheese factory where we received a brief explanation as to how cheese is made, followed up with a chance to taste about a dozen different varieties of Gouda accompanied by a small glass of a fruity wine.
Another demonstration was how traditional wooden shoes, or clogs, are made, followed by an opportunity to purchase clogs and/or cheese. We chose to get a small wheel of a herb cheese which Tim and I both thought was delicious.
Volendam is a charming fishing village on the old Zuiderzee, at least that is how our tour literature described it. I can’t say that I disagree with the definition – it does have its charm, however I also found it to be way to “touristy” for my taste. It did allow us a lunch stop though and a chance to stretch our legs.
One final photo stop before we returned to Amsterdam was to view one of the few remaining authentic working wind mills.
Back at the hotel by mid afternoon, I decided to get my post done and then have a short nap before deciding rather or not to head back into city center for the evening. We have been tossing over whether or not we wanted to check out the red light district. It is famous the world over, so I am slightly curious to go. That old-fashioned, prudish girl inside of me, however is at war, as I have such a hard time with anything that degrades, humiliates, harms, or disrespects us as women. Fun Fact: There are over 1200 bridges in Amsterdam
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful to once again be on a guided tour. I know this style of traveling is not for everyone, but for me, it is a nice break from having to “plan” things. Once the tour starts, I can sit back, relax and know that someone else is in charge of getting us from point A to point B. We get to see the highlights of an area, although sometimes not as in-depth as I would like to. Still, in my opinion, it is great value for the money spent, and a wonderful way to make good use of the time we have in any particular part of the world. I want to extend a warm welcome to anyone who is newly following along with us. We are grateful that you are here! Please feel free to share, comment, and/or subscribe. We love having the company!