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July 29, 2012

I knew we had left Germany and were sailing through the Netherlands when I saw the first field of contented cows.

No castles, no half-timbered houses, no ancient walls, just some nice, friendly looking cows taking in the morning mist and eating their breakfast.

It was definitely a leisurely day.  Everybody has to be out of their cabins by 9 a.m. tomorrow, so everyone has to pack tonight.  We have the better part, I guess, since we have to leave the ship at 4 a.m., before anybody else, so we don't have to worry about what to do while waiting for a van or bus to arrive.  The four of us are the only ones leaving that early.  Kitch and Joyce leave an hour after we do, but won't be going to the airport with us.

So there wasn't a lot of formal activity planned.  We did have a tasting of some Jenever, which is some gin-like drink, but much stronger.  I didn't drink mine.  Walt did and tried to put a Russian panache on it.

We also tasted Gouda, which I grew up pronouncing "goo-dah" but today learned it is actually pronounced "GOW-dah."

It didn't seem possible it was already time for lunch, but it was.  We had a nice lunch and began to realize that we only had one more meal with our wonderful waiters.

(Alexander is actually the maitre d' and a wonderful guy)

We missed the shuffleboard game, but did get in to the lecture on windmills and polders.  I think my brain is on information overload.  I heard the lecture and still don't have a clue what polders are!

We got to Kinderdijk an hour early and the gift shop was right there, so Walt and I (and a lot of others) went off exploring on our own.

(no, we did not buy wooden shoes!)

On the way back, we saw Kitch and Joyce on the balcony of their stateroom, which is exactly above ours.

Eventually the tour to the windmills began and lemme tell you, if Erwen yesterday was leisurely, Henrietta today was Speed Racer.  There was absolutely no way I could keep up with the group--for the first time.  Walt had rushed off in search of Mike and some nice girl decided to walk with me to keep me company, but I didn't want to drag her down, so I just gave up and took some windmill pictures from where I already was.

That turned out to be a good decision because some folks from our ship passed me and told me that when we left the store earlier in the day. Walt had forgotten to take the postcards we bought, so instead of going closer to the windmills, I doubled back and got the postcards.

We were all taking pictures, of course.  This may be my favorite picture of the trip--definitely of today.

During the cocktail hour, there was a formal farewell from the staff.

By this time tomorrow night we will be on a plane and these guys will be welcoming another 191 passengers aboard the Viking Freya to make the return trip to BudaPest.

Our last dinner was just as good as all the others before it, except for the amuse bush...

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who doesn't like mussels since Walt seemed to get most of them, but my Amsterdam cheese souffle was delicious, as was the roast chicken drumstick and pork rib.  Dessert was a very rich, but delicious pot de creme, with a pineapple mint salsa, which was a little odd, but tasted good.

So my trip tale is done (except, of course, for whatever disasters befall us on the trip home tomorrow!).  Now to pack up the computer and all the electronic gear, and hope that maybe I can get on the computer upstairs earlier than 1 a.m. so that I might get at least a couple of hours sleep before we have to leave!

See ya from California, I hope, tomorrow night.  For those in the Bay Area, try to catch Beaverbrook on KQED at, I believe, 9 p.m.  It is a film made by our friend Matt Callahan and it will transport you back to the days of your youth...and you'll love it!  It has won several film festival awards.



The Jello shirt makes (I hope) its farewell appearance!


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