Saturday, September 1, 2012

Holland & Belgium and the Floriade, August 2012

My wife and I have done many ocean cruises but not a river cruise till now. She wanted to see the Floriade (a once a decade horticultural Expo in the Netherlands), so I decided we might as well go on a river cruise which covered this expectacle. Guess why she wanted to see the Expo...because her sisters gave her a glowing account of the one they saw ten years prior! Talaga naman!!
I asked her to make all the travel arrangements and I just reluctantly loosen my wallet when the bills came. Story of my life!
I had no idea what a river cruise boat looks like but I was relieved our floating mobile home was not this one LOL. 

The Royal Navigator is astronomically different from the cruise ships I am familiar with but it floats and looks good!

 Corridor leading to our cabin

 The bar and lounge area

 Our cabin with the beds folded up

 Beds ready for the night

 The dining area

When we arrived at Schiphol airport from the long flight from LA, we were met by a representative of Vantage and bussed to a hotel within eyesight of this view.

...and this one.

This was a bike country when I first visited in the late 70's and I can see, it still is. I hope it stays that way. I hate to see the two-wheeled motorized transports that dominate Saigon's chaotic traffic replace the noise-free and pollution-free pedal-powered bikes in Holland.

The hotel where we were assembled prior to being transferred to our riverboat is just a few minutes walk to the world famous Red Light District. At the instigation of our female companions (yeah, right!), we explored the area with the free time we had.

These guys were taking pictures of something so I walked in closer to find out the object of their interest.

Kaya pala! Condoms of all size, shape and color are boldly displayed.

Sex shop! I was tempted to walk in to find out what they sell LOL.

When my buddy and I found out that our riverboat was berth just a 15 minutes walk to the fame district, we sneaked out and checked the place again that night. We were strongly forwarned by the locals that taking pictures of the "working girls" in the "eskaparate" is banned. My point and shoot camera is not up to the challenge of surreptitious night shots anyway. This was the best I could do.

Some forbidden drugs in the US and other countries are openly advertised and legally sold here...and so is sex. What a country!! As old as I am now, I do not think my wife will let me take a vacation here by myself LOL.


sheng said...

I saw a carrot shaped condom on the picture! Or is that one, coz it sure is like it?

Anyway, I am relieved that you were with the wifey, otherwise, you might have gone back home with a certain disease you will have to regret the rest of your life despite the condoms and all the warnings. haha! seriously, I will feel so ignorant if you see me faced in such a canvas of different sized condoms and the sex slaves in the city. Makes me nauseous. Ugh! But then again, we are a diverse universe after all!

Christian | LAKAD Pilipinas said...

Wow Amsterdam! Netherlands lang napuntahan kong bansa outside the Philippines :)

Photo Cache said...

omg, i also wanted to try the river cruises, pero they're way over my budget. can't wait to see what i'm missing when you finally post teh photos.

bertN said...

sheng, it is a condom shaped like a carrot indeed. I do not know who came out with the idea LOL.

Christian, you now have a good reason to revisit the country. This time put Amsterdam in your Do Not Miss list.

Photo Cache, give river cruising a try. I think you'll like it as I did. If you consider that almost all the local tours are included, there's free wi-fi and they let you bring in booze on board, it is just a tad more expensive than an ocean cruise.

BlogusVox said...

Nag "window shopping" pala kayo...
found any interesting item on display? LOL!

Tito Eric said...

Wonderful photos, bertN! I don't have to go on those splendid cruises, I just have to enjoy your posts :)

bertN said...

BlogusVox, we found a lot of interesting stuffs, but our prior authorization from our wives was that we can only look but definitely not buy LOL.

Tito Eric, thanks! You are giving me confidence in my "point and shoot" camera. DSLR cameras capture better images but they are too bulky to lug around.

Rizalenio said...

What a colorful trip (and I'm not talking about the condoms). Lights, bikes, food, drugs...and yes condoms. :)

Happy weekend, Sir! :)

bertN said...

Rizalenio, this is my second trip to this country and I can't wait to do it again.

Missy said...

Where in Belgium did you go to? I didn't notice from your pictures? hehehe (well Grand Place lang naman napuntahan ko dun e lol). We passed by Netherlands when I had my training there but never had the chance to see beautiful places just the gas station hehehe.....your cabin was so small! grabe, you can't even sleep beside your wife? hehehe but I wanna try that river cruise, looks fun

bertN said...

We visited Antwerp. There will be some pics I took there later. Actually, I enjoyed river cruising more than ocean cruising with their humongous ships and thousands of passengers. There were only about 130 of us, kaya lang puro matatanda na tulad ko. Not much fun with the oldies LOL.

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docgelo said...

wow, bert! this is so recent! while most of our mortals are struggling at work (with uhmm, delayed salary!), you're on a cruise again! seriously, your travels are awe-inspiring!

i wish my wife would have more passion for traveling too like yours; however, i need to thicken my wallet first before that happens, haha!

europe remains to be on top of my bucket list.

bertN said...

Kundan Kumar, many thanks for dropping by.

docgelo, struggling at work? Not from where I see it - you are having the fun of your life while working to thicken your wallet.

Give yourself a few more years and all your travel plans will come to fruition. You are already doing well as it is.

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