Since our tour did not leave until 12:30, we had a leisurely morning. I was very thankful since I still felt pretty lousy. My sore throat was gone but I still had congestion and a cough. I was noticing lots of other sneezing and coughing on board as well. The sickness was spreading!
We grabbed a quick snack at the buffet and went on the pier to find our bus. Outside was pretty chaotic. Lots of people standing staring at four busses for the same tour. They didn’t assign bus numbers but said they would call us to a bus. I really didn’t understand how that would work. There was one man who would wave groups over to busses and would yell the number of people in a party he wanted. People just started walking to a bus. This made him pretty mad and he screamed at the crowd a few times to remain there until called. Eventually, we got on a bus. Not a great start.
We docked in Ijmuiden which is about a one hour ride into Amsterdam. This was one of the reasons we decided on a NCL tour. The bus was not the most comfortable but we made it to Amsterdam. Our first stop was the canal tour. We had a short walk to the canal boats. We lined up next to a boat and then another group lined up next to us. I saw our guide on his phone and didn’t think that to be a good sign. The other group boarded the boat and our guide announced they did not have enough boats. He was going to break us up among the other boats. Great. They’ve already boarded those boats so I thought we might not get to sit together. We did manage to find seats together and we were shortly on our way. It had started raining so we were thankful it was a covered boat. I was also glad it was not hot as the boat seemed like it would get very stuffy on a warm day. We went past the Anne Frank house which was a highlight. The rest of the boat ride was pretty dull. The guide on board talked non-stop and you couldn’t really get good pictures through the glass. People seated across from us decided to stand on the back outside to get photos. Chris wanted to move to their side as it would be better viewing facing forward. I stood up to switch sides and CRASH! It was a loud noise and the boat went backwards. I fell into the seat. The captain hit the bridge we were to pass under. He backed up and hit it again. People clapped but I was more scared and wanted off! We passed other boats that offered beer and wine. That might have made it more enjoyable. We finally reached the destination and met up with our original guide.
We began the walking tour. The audio systems did not work great. Mine was mostly static so I decided not to wear it. I figured Chris would share anything interesting. The walking tour was pretty dry. We seemed to just walk past nothing of interest. The guide stopped at the floating flower market. Here he said he would give us 20 minutes. There were no restroom breaks but he did say if it was an “emergency” to use McDonald’s. That didn’t sound good. I decided to find a Stroopwafel to salvage my day. We didn’t have to walk far to find a souvenir shop which sold fresh Stroopwafel right in the front of the store. A Stroopwafel is a made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle. We watched each one made fresh on the waffle iron. Wow! They were piping hot and so delicious. He made one at a time but we had plenty to look at to distract us, space cakes, weed candy bars, giant dildos and penis salt and pepper shakers. We took our goodies back to the meeting place and enjoyed them. It was then time to walk to the bus. We walked past a coffee house but the aroma sure wasn’t coffee beans! We stopped for a minute at a Rembrandt statue and continued to the bus. We had to wait a few minutes for the bus to arrive but we quickly boarded for our ride back to port. Amsterdam was not my personal favorite. I think if we docked at the port close to town I might have a different opinion. I did realize that we made the right choices by planning our own tours in the other ports.
I ran back to the boat to use the restroom. Four hours is a long time! We went up to get a drink before changing our clothes. Veronica and I both wanted a soda with crushed ice. We listened to the end of trivia and then changed for the evening. Tonight was not the best night at the buffet. I really did not want anything. They had an arrangement of sushi but I’m not to keen on room temp sushi on NCL. My respiratory virus was also messing with my appetite. We went to Shogun to get some noodles. I mostly ate the broth to which I added a heap of sriracha.
After dinner, we went to Galaxy. Tonight it was the Latin Fiesta Duo’s turn to have the stage. We stayed until half way through their last set. Not many people were dancing but had a few dances. They were pretty merengue heavy in their selections. We called it early into the Fiesta Latina to go to bed. Lorena, the cruise director was there dancing. She stopped Chris and told him that we did cross the Arctic Circle. That was pretty decent of her to remember and to admit. Kudos to her. I do wish they would have acknowledged the crossing but maybe most people are not that interested. Off to bed to prepare for the final port, Belgium!!
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.