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Old July 17th, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Talking Two months to Rotterdam (squared)

In two months we sail from Rotterdam on the Rotterdam (Rotterdam squared!)

We are going down around Iberia, stopping in Portugal and Spain, to Barcelona and then back to Amsterdam.

We are busy planning our excursions and have some wonderful ones planned.

Never been on the Rotterdam before. We have a lot of nice sea days so we are honing our Trivia skills!

Anticipation is so much fun!
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Old July 17th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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YTes - beong so close to Amsterdam Rotterdam often gets overlooked as a destination. I have been there for the christening of the Eurodam. It is a nice city but not with the same charm as Amsterdam, obviously.

I have been along the Iberian Coast, mostly I enjoy the ports in France, Gibraltar, etc. I am not a big fan of Lisbon. I spent two weeks there once when I was on Statendam during dry dock. Not much to do.

I just saw Valencia, a very interesting place. I really like how even marginally large towns in Europe will have a subway system and a busy downtown area. So much a better culture than our American car culture.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Talking Iberia

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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I have been along the Iberian Coast, mostly I enjoy the ports in France, Gibraltar, etc. I am not a big fan of Lisbon. I spent two weeks there once when I was on Statendam during dry dock. Not much to do.
From Lisbon we are booked with Tours By Locals to go to Fatima, an old Jewish temple, and the headquarters of the Knights Templar. An interesting mix of places!

At Gibraltar we are booked for the ship's dolphin cruise, and after that I guess we will take a taxi to the top of the rock. Is there more to it than go up, admire the view, dodge the apes, and come down? The taxi association suggests a two hour tour.

Everything ashore on this cruise is expensive! I am not sure whether Barcelona, Gibraltar or Amsterdam will wind up costing us the most.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 10:17 PM
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Rotterdam is a lovely ship. It's a shame they took out her aft pool but there don't seem to be too many complaints about it..... not like Veendam.

We had wonderful visits to Rotterdam and have great memories. Most of the city was rebuilt after WWII as very few buildings remained intact.

It's a quick easy train ride to Amsterdam if that interests you.
Enjoy your cruise.
Sounds wonderful.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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Talking Train

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It's a quick easy train ride to Amsterdam if that interests you.
Enjoy your cruise.
Sounds wonderful.
We do like trains, but not when we are balancing piles of luggage.

We have arranged for a private driver to pick us and luggage up at the ship, take us to the windmill village, the Delft factory, tour Amsterdam and visit the Rijksmuseum, and drop us at the hotel. Luxurious transfer and it costs a small fortune but what the heck, we deserve it!
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Old July 20th, 2012, 12:27 AM
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Enjoy.
Sounds like you have a good plan. But what about a Dutch cheese farm? A boat ride on the canals of Amsterdam?

Rotterdam VI was the first HAL ship to have a Neptune Lounge. She came from Fincantieri with Neptune Lounge and we were spoiled. Once we enjoyed it on Rotterdam and next on Amsterdam, we wanted it on all the ships. Seems we weren't the only ones as HAL listened and at dry docks, all the ships had inside cabins converted to Neptune Lounge.

A little Rotterdam VI history.......

Have a great cruise.
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Old July 21st, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Default Amsterdam

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Enjoy.
Sounds like you have a good plan. But what about a Dutch cheese farm? A boat ride on the canals of Amsterdam?
Can't do all of Amsterdam in one day. That is why we are staying over!

The next day is our travelling companions birthday. We are visiting the polders and dikes, a cheese farm, wooden shoe factory, and then she is taking us all out to dinner! A 21 dish rijstaffel maybe ...
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 12:19 AM
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Sounds fun but think about the rijstaffel.
We didn't really enjoy it that much......

Of course, that is such an individual taste thing.
There's some great food in Amsterdam.

We enjoyed the cheese farm visit and had some edam and gouda shipped to our home. When it arrived, it was so much fun remembering the day we saw it made.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Thumbs up Rijstaffel

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Originally Posted by sail7seas View Post
Sounds fun but think about the rijstaffel.
We didn't really enjoy it that much......

Of course, that is such an individual taste thing.
There's some great food in Amsterdam.
We have had rijstaffel twice, once in Curacao and once in Amsterdam. It is a dish that is exactly to my taste since I enjoy sampling various different foods. (For those who have never had it ... rijstaffel means "rice table" and consists of a big bowl of rice and an array of side dishes, usually from 12 to 25 different dishes. Some are mild, some are spicy, some are vegetable, some are meat, and they have an array of different sauces. You make a pile of rice on your plate and then try the different dishes on the rice.)

To me it is a lot of fun and something of an adventure. Trying to identify the various dishes, from fried fish skins to spicy pork to green beans in a mystery sauce is challenging.

It seems that rijstaffel is really what Amsterdam is famous for. There is not really, as far as I can find out, any truly distinctive Dutch cooking. I really am not the type to go to foreign countries and look for a good steak or a nice piece of halibut that I could get in San Francisco.

In any case it is our friend's birthday so she will get to pick the restaurant.
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