Rhine River Cruise, Day Six (Part Three): Central Amsterdam

After our diamond factory tour we climbed aboard buses that took us back to our ship for lunch. Along the way we got to see a bit of central Amsterdam.  It took about 15 minutes to head back to the Amstel River, drive up a major thoroughfare called Rokin that ends at Dam Square, and then traverse Amsterdam’s main street, Damrak, all the way to Centraal Station and our ship. What we saw on the way was lots of bikes, lots of people on bikes and lots of people, period. It was midday on a sunny Saturday and it looked like half of Amsterdam was out congregating in or near Dam Square (most people simply say “Dam” or in Dutch “de Dam”).

Central Amsterdam through the windows of a bus.

Central Amsterdam through the windows of a bus.

Passing the Queen Wilhelmina statue on Rokin.

Passing the Queen Wilhelmina statue on Rokin.

The Avalon Felicity moored on the IJ harbor behind the Central Train Station.

The Avalon Felicity moored on the IJ harbor behind the Central Train Station.

After lunch we had a few choices of what to do for the rest of the afternoon and we decided to walk back to the Dam and environs for a closer view of central Amsterdam. Others decided to take an optional tour to the Keukenhof gardens and nearby tulip fields but the tulips were no longer in bloom and most of us passed on this choice. We learned that evening,  however, that the gardens — even though sans tulips — were still lovely. Another choice was a bicycle ride around the Dutch countryside but this was cancelled for lack of interest. So off we went around the train station to Damrak, the Dam and Rokin and then back to the ship.

We walked past many boats docked behind Centraal Station.

We walked past many boats docked behind Centraal Station.

A floating parking garage for bicycles.

A floating parking garage for bicycles.

A sample of Dutch architecture across from the train station.

A sample of Dutch architecture across from the train station.

A three-story parking garage -- for bikes!

A three-story parking garage — for bikes!

The stately train station sits on an island between the IJ harbor and Damrak.

The stately train station sits on an island between the IJ harbor and Damrak.

Building detail on Damrak.

Building detail on Damrak.

Looking east from Damrak.

Looking east from Damrak.

A popular spot on Damrak. The city's main street runs for about a mile and is mostly souvenir shops and cheap restaurants.

A popular spot on Damrak. The city’s main street runs for about a mile and is mostly souvenir shops and cheap restaurants.

Dam Square.

Dam Square.

The National Monument on the east end of Dam Square.

The National Monument on the east end of Dam Square.

Now where did I park my bike?

Now where did I park my bike?

The west side of Dam Square. The Royal Palace is on the left and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church, as opposed to the Old Church in the Red-Light District which was deemed too small for a booming Amsterdam in the 17th century) is on the right.

The west side of Dam Square. The Royal Palace is on the left and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church, as opposed to the Old Church in the Red-Light District which was deemed too small for a booming Amsterdam in the 17th century) is on the right.

The old Town Hall was converted into the Royal Palace by Napoleon's brother. Queen Beatrix prefers to live in her palace at the Hague, however, and only stays here three or four days a year.

The old Town Hall was converted into the Royal Palace by Napoleon’s brother. Queen Beatrix prefers to live in her palace at the Hague, however, and only stays here three or four days a year.

IMG_1889-1-2The De Bijenkorf  (“the beehive”) Department Store adjoining Dam Square.

We got this far on Rokin and then turned around and walked back.

We got this far on Rokin and then turned around and walked back.
Walking back to Centraal Station.

Walking back to Centraal Station.

It was a nice afternoon of light shopping and people-watching and we got back to the ship in time for dinner which was followed by a quiet but relaxing period in the lounge. Most cruises have their grand dress-up dinner and party on the last night of the cruise but we had our affair on Friday because the majority of the passengers wanted to take the optional Red Light District tour on Saturday night.
This was our last night on board the Felicity. Our cruise officially ended after breakfast on Sunday. This was also the half-way point on our vacation. It rained on five of our first eleven days, including three days on the cruise. And it rained all day on Sunday. But that was the last time we got wet. We enjoyed beautiful weather during our last ten days of travel in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

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About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Rhine River, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rhine River Cruise, Day Six (Part Three): Central Amsterdam

  1. thank you for posting this. my camera was stolen and along with it was all of the photos from a trip with my late wife. it was good to see some familiar sights.

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