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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Day 5, March 26, Flowers And Boarding, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

It was the end of day three.  Day four began early as we needed to get back to the tour bus office for our trip to Keukenhof.  We, also, had to gather all our luggage for transfer to the longboat to begin the river cruise in the evening.  We had to hurry, again, and made it just fine.  Into the bus, bottom floor today as yesterday's upper deck stairs left us both sore. 

The ride was quite pleasant seeing more of the beautiful countryside.  Canals on either side.  Dairy cattle, water fowls and modern buildings  make for an interesting mix.  Even the sound barriers along the highways were different than the States.  I revel in the differences and being able to see them!  We arrive near the flower fields and the driver diverts from the highway.  He drives us between the soon to be fully blooming tulips fields.

The bus arrives at the parking area. A meeting place is set, tickets distributed and we were off to enjoy the beauty of the kitchen garden.  It was chilly and wet so we started the tour at the coffee shop.  A general direction is decided over the steaming cups of coffee.  We would cover only about 1/2 of the gardens as we keep a slow pace.  Of course there have to be lots of picture stops, a few souvenirs and potty visits.

Crocus, daffodils and other early flowers are in full bloom.  A few beds of tulips are coming into bloom which is what was expected with our early arrival date.  An ancient watermill is on edge of the garden.  A children's area provided some fun bunny and chicken photos.  An exhibition hall was filled with row after row of flowers.  The air was filled with the most splendid smells.  Of course a few poor folks could nor enjoy due to allergies.  Needless to say, I felt as if I was already in heaven. 

It seemed only minutes before we had entered but it was time to head for the bus.  Unfortunately a left turn instead of a right had us all the way across the park from where we needed to be.  Once again we are hurrying.  Now let me put this in perspective.  Hurrying for us means we almost keep up with the average person.  Still it gets the heart and lungs pumping on us TOFs.  We are the first to the meeting place even with the extra hike across the park.  We have time to visit with the guide and driver.   This gives us time to ask for directions to get to the longboat. 

The guide leaves to check for more returning folks.  The driver calls a friend who is a taxi driver.  We cannot believe this good fortune.  The taxi driver will be waiting at the bus stop for us.  What a relief.  We sit back and enjoy the sights along the way.  Sure enough, there the young man sat.  He took our packs and with a little help from a GPS took us to the loading ramp of the Ingvi.  The rate was quite reasonable, 20 euro.  Hubby was calm again with one more hurdle behind us.

Checked in on the ship was easy.  Our baggage was in our room.  We unpacked, stored the luggage under the bed and lay down for a bit of a rest before orientation then dinner at 7 PM.  We returned to our room to find our bed turned down and replenished water.  Thus began our next phase on this Grand European Cruise!
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