Barbara and I flew from Phoenix to Minneapolis, where we caught a flight to Amsterdam at 7:31PM. This was the beginning of our journey on Viking's Hlin and our Rhine Getaway to Basel, Switzerland.
When we arrived in Amsterdam, we were greeted by a Viking Cruises representative. Our luggage was handled and arrived in our stateroom. This welcoming sign is right outside the airport. This day 1 of our river cruise.
After having lunch on the Hlin, a Viking guide took us on a walking tour of Amsterdam. Several members of our group did the two day pre-cruise excursion in Amsterdam. We chose to take a post-cruise excursion in Switzerland. This is St. Nicholas church.
This huge brick building is the Amsterdam Central Station. Notice the hundreds of bicycles that are parked outside the station. There are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam!
This is a typical view along the canals that run through the city. Notice the steeple in the distance.
This is the Royal Palace. The King and Queen do not live here and the building is used for other purposes. Notice the Viking guide holding the sign for group 32A in the foreground. The signs are called "popsicles." In busy tourist areas, these are really helpful and keep one from getting lost. : )
This is a close-up of the steeple that we saw in an earlier picture. I don't know the name of this building.
This is a close-up of the war memorial.
On our walk back to the ship, we went through the Amsterdam Central Station, a very attractive building.
The next few pictures are on the Viking Hlin, pronounced "lin." This picture was at the top of the stairway between decks 2 and 3.
The lounge was at the front of the ship on deck 3. Entertainment and daily briefings were held in the lounge. Some of our Scrabble games were played in this room.
This is the sun deck at the front of the ship on deck 3. When this picture was taken there was actual sunshine, which proved to be a rarity on this voyage.
The top deck of the ship had two putting greens, shuffleboard, running/walking track, and a covered area in the middle with canvas covers. Some of our Scrabble games were played in the sheltered area. There is another Viking ship moored next to us. We actually entered our ship by going through the one on the outside.
This is the front desk and office.
There is only one dining room on the ship for all passengers to eat at one time. Breakfast and lunch were buffets, with a limited number of items that could be ordered off a menu. Dinners were all ordered from the menu and there was only one serving time, 7PM.
While we were in port, Holland America's newest cruise ship was moored next to the ship terminal. This ship dwarfs all of the other ships in the Holland America fleet.
The tall building has recently been sold and the new owners are making into a multi-purpose structure with shops, apartments and a dining room on the roof. To the left, the low white building is an entertainment center.
Day 2 of our trip was an excursion from the ship in Kinderdijk, Netherlands to visit the UNESCO word heritage site. This is the largest concentration of windmills in the Netherlands; 19. It rained during most of this excursion.
Our tour guide, one of about 200 volunteers who lives nearby, explained how the windmills were built and worked. You can see by his rain gear that he was prepared for the weather.
A closer look at the windmill's operation.
Much of this part of the Netherlands is below the water level. This pumping station was put to use in 1972. The water is pumped off from three large Archimedean screw pumps, driven by three diesel engines. The screw pumps have a capacity of 1,500 meters per minute.
A windmill which is part of the Museum Windmill Nederwaard. All of these windmills were built in the 18th century.
A picture with 9 of the 19 windmills.
You walk across a bridge to get to this windmill which is open to the public. You can see the mechanics and living quarters, which are quite cramped. All of the windmills, except this one, have tenants who take care of property.
Windmill families tended to be quite large. One wonders how they could get so many people into a windmill.
Inside the windmill the stairs are quite steep. They recommend going down the stairs backwards.
A living quarters.
A closeup view of the windmill.
Houses and a church along the Rhine River.
Day 3: Cologne, Germany, the Old City. The Cologne Cathedral construction began in 1228 and was completed in 1880. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe; 157 meters high. Constant repairs, note the scaffolding, are being made.
The front entrance to the Cologne Cathedral is quite ornate. The piece to the left that is white, is actually a replacement section which was built following the minor destruction during WWII.
Peter was our guide. He was quite knowledgeable about the history of Cologne and he had a good sense of humor. His English was near perfect.
A closeup view of the statuary in the entrance to the cathedral.
Inside the church, there are stained glass windows throughout. Enough to fill two football fields. All of the windows were removed during WWII, and replaced after the war was over. Pictures were allowed, but our guide was not permitted to speak to us in the cathedral.
A sampling of the Cologne Cathedra'sl stained glass windows.
A separate area within the cathedral.