The Most Spectacular Sight of Spring

 


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It was the most spectacular sight I have ever seen. Fields with row after row of colorful, vibrant, dancing tulips! There is only one place in the world to get such a majestic view and that is the Kukenhof Gardens near Amsterdam, Holland. Over 70 acres of a beautiful park including over 7,000,000 (that’s right – million) tulips and other flowers are on exhibit. My pictures explain much better than I can write just how fantastic these fields and gardens are to see.

I took a river boat cruise to see the sights of Holland. I decided on the 7 day Holland Viking River Boat Cruise because my (childhood) friend loves gardening. Me, I’d rather spend time in a museum. So this Dutch Journey cruise fit the bill for both of us. I have never taken a more personal and enjoyable cruise before this. And what a fantastic value! All of your meals are included plus a different excursion every day with English speaking guides. Each cabin offers a river-view with comfortable amenities and an attentive staff. We easily made friends with other cruisers. We found groups to visit the “Red light” district of Amsterdam or to dine with. I found this to be a wonderful way for women traveling alone or with other women to enjoy a trip full of camaraderie and fun.

We started in Amsterdam. Here I was able to feed my hunger for museums by visiting the Anne Frank House, Rembrandt House and Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum was part of the cruise and included a guide. The Rijksmuseum (National Museum) set in its historic building is the largest museum in the Netherlands. It included the famous Rembrandt painting called “The Night Watch”. Our guide furthered our education explaining that the picture is a militia painting. It shows a group portrait of a division of the civic guard. Rembrandt depicted the group of militiamen in an original way. He did not paint them in a neat row or sitting at their annual banquet, rather, he recorded a moment. This moment is when the group of militiamen has just moved into action and are about to march off. She explained the use of light and movement along with modern day x-ray to discover Rembrandts painting techniques.

We were supposed to be on the Viking Pride but a barge accident in the Rein River prevented our ship from making it to Amsterdam. Instead of canceling the cruise, Viking pulled the Viking Sun out for us to cruise on for the first few days. This fairly new ship and the crew made us feel just as welcome as our Sun crew did when we finally boarded our original ship later in the week. Both boats offer a comfortable lounge, library, and restaurant.

We delighted in the centuries-old windmills of Kinderdijk and learned about the country’s ongoing battle with the sea at the Zuiderzee Museum. We also admired the artistry of hand-made porcelain in the Delftware factory, considered ourselves experts at discovering the “fakes”, and dropped a pretty Euro on some souvenirs.

Tours often included walks over cobblestones like in the village of Enkhuizen. I discovered the owner of a “Ship in the Bottle” shop who had recently been hired as an extra in a movie about the Ship-Boys of Hoorn (a statue of which we later got to see). Mr. Bontekoe was a man who was famous in the 17th century because he survived an explosion on his ship. They made a journal about his terrible trip and later on they made a children’s book called “The Ship-boys of Bontekoe”. That book was a bestseller back in 1924 and is now being made into a film. My “actor” friend impressed me when he showed me the old water lock in his building that still could control the water running through the town.

We learned about Edam (and the cheese), Marken, Volendam, Arnhem and Rotterdam. We learned the role of Arnhem during WWII and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kindedijk, home of working wind mills. More importantly, we learned where the phrase “Dutch treat”, “going Dutch” and “Dutch door” all came from!

I highly recommend River Boat Cruising to everyone. The average age was probably 50, we had a 13 year old and 91 year old on board with us. Viking River Cruises offers great cruises along the Rhine, Main, Moselle, Danube, Elbe, and in France, Russia and the Ukraine. Call me for more details to book your river boat cruise today. 1-800-691-0243 or 720-200-0243. Contact me by email at Ellen@SpecialOccasionTravel.com. Visit my website http://www.specialoccasiontravel.com for other fantastic vacation ideas. Above all, get out there and visit the world!

Owner Ellen Keralla, received her travel agent certificate from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. She has traveled all over the world from Europe to Asia. She is a member of IATAN(International Airlines Travel Agent Network), ACC(Accredited Cruise Counselor) and CTO (Caribbean Tourism Organization). Visit http://www.specialoccasiontravel.com for contact information.

She has visited Costa Rica to find the most romantic resorts along with Hawaii, the Caribbean and even France. Her favorite romantic honeymoon destination is Tahiti. She also has helped numerous clients with their honeymoons, anniversaries and destination weddings. You can reach her at 1-800-691-0243, http://www.specialoccasiontravel.com or Ellen@SpecialOccasionTravel.com

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