Friday June 19, 2009

With another full morning to enjoy the Netherlands, we headed through the canal-laced farmlands of “real Holland” for a stroll through picture-postcard Zaanse Schans– a ‘dike village’ dating back to the 13th century. Here our Mad Midlifers witnessed a clog-maker at work … inspected some 300-year-old windmills close-up … and sampled a range of yummy red and yellow-cased Dutch cheeses.

After that, we continued to the stunningly-preserved fishing village of Edam – where we enjoyed a leisurely walking tour and lunch in one of several little cafes. Edam is 650 years old, gorgeous, quaint, oozing with charm – and we all agreed we could live there. Well, for a few more days, anyway.


Then, this afternoon, we drove back through the city to the cruise terminal where our floating hotel, the Prinsendam, was waiting for us.

We checked in (just like you do at airports), crossed the air-bridge from the terminal to the ship, and were shown to our cabins – where we oohed and aahed and unpacked. Then at 5pm, following the mandatory lifeboat-drill which saw us strutting around like penguins in our bulging orange life-jackets, the Prinsendam sounded its massive horn and pulled slowly away from the dock.

The next chapter in our Grand Baltic Adventure has begun! Eat your heart out, folks, because we’re all gonna be disgustingly pampered for the next 14 marvellous days …

TOMORROW: We’ll be cruising through the waters and locks of the world’s busiest artificial waterway – the famous Kiel Canal. So keep watching …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!