London Take Two
Posted in Travel
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:21 pm)

Today we ended our cruise in the same place we started—Dover. We awoke to the sights of the white cliffs out our window, and had to say goodbye. After a quick breakfast and a last run-through of the room, we disembarked into the cacophony that was the Dover docks. People were everywhere digging through luggage and it was slow going out to the buses. We finally got out and to our bus, and to our great delight, Joe, who drove the bus to Leeds and Dover at the beginning of our trip was our driver once again.

First off, we had a long drive back to old London town, which was fairly uneventful. We got off the bus at Greenwich, where we boarded another boat, this time for a cruise down the Thames. It was really hot out at first, but as we approached London, somehow the sun wasn't shining so hotly and it was much more tolerable. Lorien and I both agree that every time we come to London, we always have perfect weather. It has yet to rain on us in London. We cruised from Greenwich all the way to the London Eye. Can you guess what we did next? Yes! It was the London Eye! We also got to hear Big Ben chime off at noon.

From there, we had lunch at the Rembrandt Hotel, it was very good. After that we were off on a bus tour of the town, where we saw lots of the sights you want to see on a trip to London. Fortunately, Lorien and I have already seen them and have pictures of them, so it wasn't as exciting as the first time. In fact, while considering what to do with our second day here tomorrow, we may just stay in the Crawley area (we're staying at the George Hotel in Crawley again, our room is better this time).

We also stopped at the London Temple, which was on the way from London to Crawley, at least on a way anyway, I didn't see a map, but it was fairly close to Crawley. The traffic coming out of London was pretty crazy, and it had been a long day for Joe the driver, and he was pushing it a bit. I told my wife if I ever wanted to do something illegal in London, I would hire Joe as my wheel man. She told him as we were getting off the bus at the hotel. I think he took it as the compliment it was intended as.

London Bridge

Big Ben

The London Eye

The Parliament Building

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Amsterdam
Posted in Travel
Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:55 pm)

Today we saw Amsterdam. Well, not all of it. Since most of the tour bus belonged to the LDS faith, we avoided the infamous red light district and the smoke shops. We did, however have a nice tour of the city, which is really beautiful. I was impressed with the cleanliness and overall feeling of the city. Everyone we ran in to spoke very good English. After a short bus tour, we stopped to see a traditional Dutch courtyard, which was surrounded by homes that only women have lived in for a long, long time. It was quaint, with lots of pretty gardens and no naked statues like you find everywhere else in Europe. Hmm, I wonder why…

We then went to the flower market, which is what Holland is very famous for. We walked the market, which was beautiful, and full of flowers and bulbs of just about every flower imaginable. They also had "starter kits" for growing your own weed. I'm talking about the kind that's legal in Amsterdam. I'll try to include a picture at the end of this post.

From there, we drove out of Amsterdam into the countryside to visit a place where several old-world windmills are still in operation. I think there were five of them, one grinding mustard, one of them ground paint dyes, and I can't remember the rest. There was a clog maker there, and we saw a demonstration of how clogs are made that was extremely fascinating. They use fresh cut poplar and turn the shoe on a lathe with another shoe as a guide, much like the way a key is cut today. In just a few minutes, a copy of a wooden shoe was made. Bob, the young man performing the demonstration, then blew into the hole of the shoe and a lot of water seeped out the wood—that's how fresh it was!

Deciding not to buy wooden shoes (they wouldn't take wooden euros as payment anyway), we proceeded to the cheese factory. They have their job down. They give free samples. We walked out there with many pounds of Dutch cheese, it is to die for.

From the cheese factory, we returned to our ship and had to pack up our stuff. It was sad to be done with the cruise, but it's nice to get away from all the old people, too.

Jailbait starter kit

Lorien goes Dutch

I've never heard of any of this

Dutch Windmill

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