Wednesday May 7
It was interesting during the night to look out and see the lights on the riverbank. We were moving quite quickly but it was so smooth and quiet. Apart from the moving shoreline, it was hard to know that we were in motion.
In the morning we woke to cloudy skies. We went down to the dining room on deck 1 for breakfast and were joined at our table by a retired couple, Jan and Dave, from Rosland, B.C. Among the many things that we chatted about were vacation spots. This couple enjoy hiking and told us about a two-week hike along the 'Haute Route' in the Alps from Chamonix to Zermatt; it sounded great; perhaps a future trip for us!
Back at the cabin we prepared for an excursion off the ship at Kinderdijk to visit a World Heritage Site.
While onshore for guided excursions, the ship provides everyone with a wireless audio system that is used for the tours. Everyone has their own earpiece and the guide's commentary can be picked up from 100 feet our more. In our stateroom there are two units and a charging system for each. We take the audio systems with us which enable us to tune in to our particular guide (sometimes their are different guides so that the groups of people taking the excursion are kept to reasonable sizes). The audit units have several channels to allow for this.
We were off the ship by 9:15 and being led by a volunteer worker from the Kinderdijk windmill site who gave us a detailed narrative about the Kinderdijk. In 1997, the windmill complex of Kinderdijk was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterrupted to the present day. The site illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and 19 beautifully preserved windmills from the 1600s.
We returned to the ship and it sailed around 11:30. At 12:30, it was time for lunch, at which we were joined by a couple from Port Elgin Ontario (Howard and Barbara) and a couple from New York (Marty and Grace). Another good meal and we headed back to the cabin for 'feet up'. Gary went to a talk on the Dutch water management and then we both listened to a talk on all the optional tours.
Then it was free time until dinner. At dinner, we sat with four new folks, an elderly couple from New Jersey and two women, one from Anchorage, Alaska (Juliana) and the other from Monterrey California (Christine).
Dinner was another good meal, the main course was a Chateaubriand which nearly everyone selected. We later headed to the lounge where Joey our Program Director was giving a talk on the Dutch, their history, their lifestyle and their cheeses. He talked about the royal family, the bikes, speed-skating and other pastimes, the old masters and finally, the cheeses. It was all very entertaining.
Gary working on downloading photos off his camera and Heather wrote the diary and read for a while before calling it a day.