The boat stayed docked at Zaandam for another day to allow those who had just arrived in Amsterdam on embarkation day.

Two optional excursions were offered and we took advantage of both. In the morning we went on a 2nd canal cruise, this time on a bigger boat so we could venture into bigger canals and see some different buildings and sights. After lunch we went to the beautiful gardens of Keukenhof to see the Tulips plus other bulb plants.

Tourist boat similar to ours going under a bridge
Passenger Terminal Building near the dock

To board the canal boat, we were taken by bus to the dock at the Passenger Terminal which was where we had expected to embark the day before. One of the particularly interesting things we saw while on the canal was a section of the wall which had bulged due to the continual movement of heavy vehicles and pedestrians on the road beside it. That piece of wall is sometimes referred to as being pregnant. Our guide also pointed out a houseboat which had recently sold for 1.5m Euros and the Mayor’s house. In Amsterdam, the Mayor in office lives in the allocated house for the period of office. We also went beneath a lot of different bridges, but as we had a low boat, none had to be raised for us. On our return we were able to see some of the modern buildings on the north side of the River Ij up close. These were in sharp contrast to the ones of the Old City.

Ibis Amsterdam Centre has also been a garage for cars and bicycles
Building for climbing, swinging over the river and enjoying views


Modern building and bridge
Restaurant on the canal bank
A former Canal Control Office




Official residence of the Mayor







Orchids of every colour in the pinks

There are many separate gardens with the plants laid out in various designs and colour arrangements. There is the English Garden has winding paths and the History Garden is enclosed and has lots of explanatory boards. There is also a canal flowing through a portion of the Gardens as well as some ponds, one with a sculpture of a little girl and another had a model of a windmill and a sailing clog.

Tulips are indigenous to Kazakhstan but grew all over central Asia and, we were surprised to learn, are grown for their bulbs and not the flowers. The bulbs are very valuable. The name Tulip comes from the Persian word meaning turban, probably because the flower was thought to look very like one.

A beautiful walk
Frilled Tulips

There are over 75 species and dozens of colours. The bulbs are planted in late Autumn and early Winter and flower in Spring. The Keukenhof display lasts 6-8 weeks, depending on the number and quality of flowers, between mid-March and mid-May. We were very fortunate to see one of the best displays they had enjoyed for a few years and that was on 2 May.

Planted between some of the bulbs were flowers called Fritilata which we were told fend off squirrels, moles, ferrets and other similar animals. Unfortunately, it won


Blue Orchid
Hyacinths and Tulips in bright array

As mentioned above, not only Tulips are to be found here but also Hyacinths and Orchids. The blue and white Hyacinths were planted in decorative beds with the Tulips in the English Garden, but the Orchids were found in a hall dedicated to them. They were absolutely magnificent. I am not any form of expert on any flowers and, certainly not Orchids, but I do know what looks wonderful and these really did.



A sailing clog with white and purple Tulips
Girl statue in the canal
And there were also Gerberas

We considered it a real privilege to have visited Keukenhof Gardens and would highly recommend anyone to do so if they are there at the right time.

On our return journey we followed a different route where we, not only passed the airport but drove under a runway just after a ‘plane had landed on it. Our photograph was taken as we approached this amazing situation. Further along the highway we saw the pound where bicycles which have been parked too long in a bay or causing an obstruction were impounded. There were thousands of them and what happens to them if not claimed, we were not told.

Highway under the runway
Impounded bicycles

What a really special day we enjoyed before leaving Amsterdam at 02:00 to sail to the town of Hoorn.