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Dave's Live from Eurodam Trans-Atlantic, Aug. 27 - Sept. 12, 2013


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Hello CC’ers,


I’m back with my third blog from the Eurodam on her northern trans-Atlantic to New York, this time from Amsterdam. (I did blogs of the 2009 and 2011 sailings).


A difference this time is that I have now joined photobucket, and will try to embed photos as I go. This time, we sail from Amsterdam Aug. 27, and call in Stavenger Aug. 29 and Bergen, Norway Aug. 30. Then it’s on to an overnight visit to Reykjavik Sept. 2-3, followed by scenic cruising of Prins Christian Sund Sept. 5 and a call at Nanortalik, Greenland Sept. 6. We visit St. John’s Newfoundland Sept. 8 and Halifax, Nova Scotia Sept 10 before ending up in New York Sept. 12.


Here is a map of our voyage:






We flew overnight from Washington Dulles the afternoon of Saturday Aug. 24 to Amsterdam Schipol, arriving shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday. We had purchased the flight as part of our HAL package; because we will take the train home, we were able to get better prices for the one-way flight via HAL than we could on our own.


I researched what direct flights were available on Expedia, and then asked HAL for the flight we wanted via air deviation form (as 4-stars, it was free). We would have preferred a flight leaving/arriving a few hours later, but none were available either from Dulles or BWI. I got a confirmation email from HAL with a booking code for virtuallythere.com. I logged on and got the airline booking code. Once it was ticketed on United, about the same time as our documents were ready to print, I was able to go to the United web site and pay to upgrade the seats from economy to premium economy, and pick the seats we wanted – two on the side. The premium economy was$119 each, and bought us five inches more of leg room. That does not sound like much, but for an overnight trans-Atlantic flight, it was well worth it, especially for me (six feet tall).



More in the next post,


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Sunday, August 25




HAL reps met us after customs, and we took a mini-van from Schipol to our hotel, the Renaissance Amsterdam, on Kattegat, near the Centraal Station. It is a comfortable modern hotel, pretty typical of the Renaissance chain.


Renaissance is part of the Marriott organization, and we are members of their program. We had contacted the hotel a few weeks ago, asking for early check-in if it were available, but our room was not ready. They told us to check back after noon; it was about 9 a.m. then. So, we checked our bags with the concierge, and went looking for coffee place open on a Sunday morning. We found it at Tazzina, an Italian espresso bar a few blocks away, along the Brouwersgracht. We had read about it in a travel book, and found it to be a place for a great cappuccino and croissant.


It was a somewhat foggy morning, and the walk along the canals was very beautiful, but I don’t have photos, as I had forgotten that I had my camera with me (d’oh!). Hey, it was on what we call zombie day, after very little sleep on the plane.


We wandered about a bit more, including a visit to the large Albert Heijn store near the Magna Plaza, where we found the mouthwash we were looking for. We also wandered to Spui street, and had another coffee at Café Esprit, near the American Bookstore and Waterstone’s, a British book store.


We returned to the hotel shortly after noon, and were able to check in. Our room is European-sized, which means it is smaller than rooms in North American hotels. But, it is comfortable and pleasant for the two nights we will stay. It does not have a coffee maker, but it does have a kettle and makings for instant coffee. We had read that on TripAdvisor, and so were able to get some Via packets from Starbucks before we left home. OK, it’s not the greatest, but better than what hotels usually have for instant, and certainly better than nothing.


Photos of the room:











Photos of the bath:











Photo of the coffee area:





More later,


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Sunday, August 25 (Cont.)



Afer checking in to the hotel, we decided to have lunch at the hotel’s café, the Koepelkafe. I had read about the place on line, but could not find a menu. DW had the daily pasta special, and I had a large bowl of Dutch pea soup, which was wonderful. The menu also has bitterballen and uitsmeijter.


Koepelkafe menu (hopefully readable):




More later,


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Oh goody. Another transatlantic report about the travels of Dave and Mrs Dave. I will be loving it as it will help to relive the trip we took for real in 2009. I always enjoy your reports and we both would like to see you again on a cruise someday. :)

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We are doing the 2014 version of this cruise, so I'm espeically looking forward to your posts. Hope you'll include comments about onboard activity options on sea days, what time it gets dark, types of entertainment, temperture variance between ports and at sea (never been this far north in Atlantic and while I can get historic temps for the ports from weatherunderground, don't know whether it's different at sea), your opinions (as well as opinions you heard from others) regarding HAL shore excursions and privately arranged ones, and anything else that might be different about this itineray or ship comapred to others at HAL or Princess. Thanks for doing this.

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How fun to be able to read a "Live from ..." of one of my favorite itineraries. It's been too long since I've done this, so yours is especially welcome.

Have a great time! Thanks for reporting.

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Monday, August 26, 2013


We had breakfast at the hotel (we booked the hotel/transfer package from HAL, and it included breakfast). The buffet was large and varied, including eggs, omelets to order, bacon, sausage, beans, potatoes, cheeses, cold cuts, fruit, bread, rolls, coffee, juices, etc.


After breakfast, we returned to Tazzina for another cappuccino. It was a lovely sunny morning, much more cheerful than Sunday. And, there were lots of people coming and going to work, school, whatever, a great many of them on bicycles.


We walked along the Brouwersgracht again:









And found ourselves at Tazzina:





Where the cappuccino was excellent:





More later,


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Monday, Aug. 26 (Cont.)


We then wandered a bit, going past churches and markets, ending up at 10 at the Hermitage Museum as it opened. This is an official branch of the famous museum in St. Petersburg and features changing exhibits from the main museum’s collection. The current exhibit is artifacts about Peter the Great, who had spent some time in Amsterdam. A very good collection.


While walking past the flea market at Waterlooplein en route to the Hermitage, we spotted a café that looked promising, so after our museum visit, we returned to the Grand Café Amstel Hoeck, which is along the Amstel River, and an intersecting canal. We sat on the terrace under a large umbrella, with nice views:











We had lunch and Amstel beer -- DW a Tosti and the famous Amsterdam French fries, while I settled for the daily special:




More later,


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Monday, Aug. 26 (Cont.)


We just had a cheese plate and wine for our fairly early dinner today, what with that large lunch (4 courses for me – mussels, salad, fries …. and beer.) We are now repacking, getting ready to put our bags out tomorrow.


We enjoyed our time in Amsterdam. We had been here before and had done most of the tourist sites, so were able to relax and see some other things, like the Hermitage, this time. A couple of observations:


Language. The Dutch language is very close to English. In fact, I have read that, of the modern languages, it is the closest to English. The spelling is odd to us, but I can generally get the gist of it if it is written. Spoken is a bit different, even after learning that the “ui” dipthong is pronounced “ow” instead of the German “oy” (thanks, John!). That makes Zuiderdam pronounced “Zowderdam”, the first part of which is close to English “South”. In fact, I found myself listening closely to the people speaking and discovered that the pacing and patterns and emphasis within words was similar to English speakers. It seemed like I was just on the edge of understanding what was being said by the Dutch people, and if I tried a bit harder, I could make out the meaning. Maybe with practice, I could eventually.


Bicycles. They are everywhere, and they are not the sleek 3-lb. Tour de France composites, either. These are hefty, sturdy bikes, and they are everywhere.


Photo of a bike parking area, a small one -- there is a three-story one at the Centraal Station:








I quickly learned that, 1) at crosswalks, traffic does not stop if there is no light; 2) those little narrow side roads are for bicycles; and 3) they don’t stop either. Do you know how much it hurts when a 120-lb. woman riding a 40-lb. bicycle going full speed mows you down? … Well, neither do I, but I came nanoseconds from finding out a few times.


More later,


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Sheila, Sapper, Jacqui, Ruth, Yonnie, et al,


Thanks for the kind words; I hope you continue to enjoy my posts. DW says "hi" to all of you she has met.




Added on edit: Ine, a special thanks to you. I researched Amsterdam on the port call boards, and found several posts from you to various people who had asked in the past, with practical information we were able to use, such as the location of Albert Heijn near Magna Plaza.

Edited by RetiredMustang
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I will eagerly follow along that, in high hopes, that in a few years I will be following in your footprints. This is very high on my "bucket cruise" list.


Thanks for the live thread. Much appreciated.

Edited by 1of4
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