Viking River Cruise April 2014   2 comments


Corner House hotel in Amsterdam

Corner House hotel in Amsterdam

Stroopwafels! Yummm!

Stroopwafels! Yummm!

Our ship, the Viking Jarl

Our ship, the Viking Jarl


Roger with Karen & Kim (mom & daughter) from AZ


This is our party group that danced every night in the lounge.

Dancing to Charlie's music after dinner

Dancing to Charlie’s music after dinner

Kinderdijk windmills

Kinderdijk windmills

Kinderdijk: Got Wooden Shoes?

Kinderdijk: Got Wooden Shoes?

Madonna by Michelangelo

Madonna by Michelangelo in Bruges

Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens

Tulips at Schiphol Airport

Tulips at Schiphol Airport



Presenting the latest episode of

Hawaiians in Netherlands & Belgium

Viking River Cruise

April 20 to 29, 2014

We have been to Amsterdam a couple times before, but never in spring, so this year we booked a Viking River cruise, called Tulips & Windmills. It was a 10-day cruise from Amsterdam to Belgium and back.

We flew into Amsterdam and took the train from the airport to Central Station in the heart of the city, where we purchased 3-day passes for unlimited public transportation. Amsterdam has a great system of trains with trams for the city center. We stayed 2 nights at the small Corner House Hotel right on the tram line next to Dam Square, a very convenient location. On Saturday, we went to Winkel for apple cake next to Noorder Markt, where I shopped. Then we caught the tram to Heineken Experience. It was so much more than just a tour of the beer-making process and very entertaining. Of course, we drank beer! Cheers!

Jarl, our Viking riverboat, was docked far from the train station, where most riverboats dock, so we found a free shuttle to the Jarl. We settled right away in our cabin, which was very roomy and comfy. The first day, the ship stayed in Amsterdam and we had a walking tour of the red light district. The very first day, we met 2 couples from Canada, who were so much fun to hang out with. Every night, after dinner, we’d go up to the lounge with Donna, Jeff, Stewart and Brenda, where Charlie plays music and we’d sing and dance the night away.

The next morning, still in Amsterdam, we had a boat ride through the canals of the city and learned about the history, culture and architecture of the city. After lunch, we had a bus tour to Delft, where they make the special blue and white porcelain.

We toured the village of Hoorn, and had a Home Hosted visit to have tea, coffee and apple cake in a private home, arranged by Viking. After lunch, we walked over to a small herring shop, where they let us sample some pickled herring. After dinner, they had a clog demo. Clogs are made of poplar or willow, which repels water.

Next stop was Arnhem, where the Allies lost a battle to the Nazis. We toured the Paleis Het Loo the summer residence of the Royal House of Orange. After lunch, I walked back into the village with Shelby and we went to the top of the church tower and went shopping and to the Battle of Arnhem museum.

In Kinderdijk, our guide was Jack, who took us walking to see the windmills. We were lucky to watch them turn the windmill to face the wind, saw the guy at the first windmill hanging his laundry, then watched the guy at the second windmill put the canvas on the blades to catch the wind. We were able to walk into one, which is a museum for tourists to see how they lived in that small space. Even though there are modern and more technically advanced ways to move water, they maintain the old windmills so that this part of Dutch heritage is kept alive.

Antwerp, Belgium is a large port city. We went to the Cathedral of Our Lady to see three of Peter Paul Rubens’ paintings. We walked through the cobblestoned streets and saw the famous Brabo fountain statue in Grote Markt. “Antwerp” means “hand throwing” from the legend of the evil ogre that cut off sailors’ hands if unwilling to pay the toll to pass his bridge on the river. Brabo saved the town when he slew the ogre and cut off his hand and threw it into the river. Free time after lunch allowed us to meander the city streets on our own, to sample or buy Belgian waffles, Belgian chocolates and Belgian beer.

The next day, we arrived in Ghent, Belgium and rode in buses to Bruges, a beautiful old medieval city. We visited the famous Madonna by Michelangelo in Our Lady’s Church. Free time to buy more chocolates!

In Walcheren, we learned about the great flood of 1953 that broke through the dykes in the middle of the night with causing 1836 deaths and no communication. After the great flood, they built a museum to commemorate the flood and a massive storm surge barrier to protect the area.

The highlight of our trip was our visit to Keukenhof Gardens on the last day of the cruise. This 70-acre garden with winding streams, tranquil ponds and meandering paths, is a feast for your eyes! Over 7 million tulips and other flowers of every color are so dazzling and enchanting.

We made some wonderful friends on this cruise and we had such fun at dinner and after dinner in the lounge dancing and singing along to Charlie at the piano. The crew and staff on the Viking Jarl were very fun and made our cruise so enjoyable.

Posted September 1, 2014 by lariyasui in Europe

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2 responses to “Viking River Cruise April 2014

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  1. Cool Trip! Y’all made even cooler. Still brag about my massage!:o) Lee and Cathy

  2. Truly love your travelogue, travel experiences & need more pix of Roger. Thanks for including us. Gordon & Diane will go to China for the 1st time. Gordon’s Uncle is 97 and we will travel to see him in Wuhan. Trip is planned for Oct. 15. You are an inspiration to the rest of us travelers. Thanks, Diane & Gordon

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