Monday, December 5, 2016


It was a very early start today.  We received a wake up call at 6am.  All our bags had to be packed and left outside our door by 6.45am and we had to have our breakfast and be on the coach by 7.30am.

Breakfast was pretty much the same as yesterday,  really lovely once again.  I can see we are going to be very spoilt with our meals on this tour.

We were on the road by 7.35am and had a nice leisurely drive into Holland,  It never quite feels like you have left a city or country because everything seems to run into each other,  I think I snoozed for the first part of the trip as I had a very restless night.

We stopped at Breda for a half hour break where there were several shops that served coffee.  We are now paying to go to the Loo... this is something us Aussie are not used to as we don't pay in Australia to use the public restrooms.   Lets hope we never do have to either. 

Coming into Amsterdam
The whole trip from Brussels to Amsterdam took less time than it would for us to travel from Rockhampton to Bundaberg.

 We arrived in Amsterdam about 10.50am and our first port of call was at "Gasson - House of Diamonds" where we heard about the diamond cutting process.  We also found out that the most expensive  and rarest diamonds in the world come from Australia (the red (rarest) and blue and pink.  Our guide at Gassan told us about the 4 c's of a diamond, Carat, Colour, Clarity and finally Cut.   After watching people cut diamonds for a while we were than taken into a specially secure room  (we were locked in) and where we got to view the actual diamonds  We looked at diamonds from .2of a carat right up to a 3.6 carat diamond.  Mostly they were brilliant cut or the special Gassan cut diamond,  A brilliant diamond has 57 cuts where the special Gassan cut is 121, which makes the stone really really special.

We had a few minutes to look in the gift shop, take a toilet break and then it was time to board the bus again.  Our next stop was Dam Square right in the heart of Amsterdam.

 We wandered about the square and took several photos.  We noticed the "De Nieuwe Kerk" and decided to do a tour through it.  It was built in 1408 and was a catholic church initially.  It was funded by Amsterdam's wealthest family.  It is the countries best know church and the church of the Dutch Royals "The House of Orange".  It is where current King and Queen were married and where all the royal investitures take place, but it is also the people's church, where life has been lived and celebrated for centuries.

By the time we had finished exploring the church we only had an hour before we were due to meet the bus again.  We sat in Dam Square for a little while and watched the street art, different people dressed up wanting you to pay money to have your photo taken with them.  Not us.... One lady was naked except for a narrow thong on.  She was painted with bright coloured paint and if you paid her you could stand and have your photo taken with her.

We wandered around the shops and bought an ice cream as it was stinking hot before heading back to meet our bus.

 The bus picked us up and delivered us to our hotel for an afternoon rest.  We are staying at the Aitana Hotel, right on the water front at the harbour.  Our room was Room 917 on the 9th floor and we had a lovely view of the harbour.

We had a couple of hours to spare before we had to be down in the lobby again by 5.30pm.  We headed back into Amsterdam and did a canal boat cruise through the canals of Amsterdam.  The water ways are crazy here with boats everywhere.  Our boat cruise took us past lots of land marks about Amsterdam including "Ann Frank's House".

 The canal cruise lasted a good hour and a half and it delivered us to an area of the city where our traditional dutch restaurant "Haesje Claes" was located.

We had a couple of minutes walk to the restaurant, and it was all set up for us.  A three course dinner awaited us.  We left the restaurant around 8.30pm, we were picked up by our bus and dropped back into the city to Dam Square where we did a walking tour with Gary.  Once again we used our VOX whilst he game us a run down of the history of the buildings around the square.  From here we walked down through the red lights district.  The girls were really pretty but I would think all them would have had a boob job.  It actually made me feel so very sorry for these girls.  I couldn't think of a more demeaning job for woman.  From here we walked back to the bus meeting spot.  On the way we passed quite a few buildings sitting low in the water a little like Venice.

We did learn a couple of interesting things though, the Royal Palace is made on top of over 11,000 wooden pylons into the sea to support this great structure.

We arrived back at our hotel a little after 9.30pm.  Steve and I finished our evening off by going for a walk down to the harbour to watch the moon come up and set the sun set.  It was a really beautiful way to end a very lovely day.


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