The first real day of our cruise started with breakfast. There is a “buffet” breakfast in the restaurant, with a chef making omelets – made to order.
Our ship, the Gefjon (gef’- ee – on) is named after a Norwegian goddess. Interesting.
Our first excursion took us to Kinderdijk (kinder-dike), Holland (the Netherlands).
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We saw a building with three huge Archimedes screws.
From the original 150 windmills in the area, only 28 are left, and Kinderdijk has the largest collection of working windmills in that small area – 19 in all.
We saw the windmills – went into one – and saw the polders the windmills gather water from. The windmills are used to pump water from the polders using internal or external scoops into reservoirs on two levels. We were amazed at the size of the mills, and sails that are placed on the blades – it is all mechanical. We were also amazed to see that the caretakers actually lived within the windmill. Small spaces, and usually when the father died, the son took over.
The one we went in was old – made entirely from bricks. The newer ones looked like they were made from “shingles.” Most of these windmills date from 1738 through 1740.
The ship supplied us with “receivers” and ear pieces that we plugged into the receivers that hung from lanyards around our necks. Each tour guide had a “channel” that we tuned into. That way they could talk normally and we couldn’t hear what the other guides were saying (different channel). It was a very convenient way to do the tours. We had them with us at all times on our excursions. The ship also supplied us each with bottled water on each excursion.
Back on board, we began our sail to Cologne, Germany. Still being rather tired, we both took a nap, until it was time for the mandatory safety drill – including wearing our life jackets. We have to get over that jet lag!
We had a light lunch in the Aquavit Lounge. Usually set up as a buffet on the Terrace – much quicker and as good as in the restaurant.
After lunch we checked on our e-mail. Fred got one of the hostesses to set up our phones to receive e-mail.
We took in a Dutch teatime in the Aquavit Lounge. They served lots of goodies, and flavorful, interesting hot tea.
Nearing dinnertime, there was a “Toast to Our Guests” by Captain Marcel Stephan and Hotel Manager Harald Halswanter in the Aquavit Lounge.
It was a welcome time for the guests of the ship. That room was used for many things, including the daily briefing about the next day’s excursions by Program Director, Carl West. Carl followed the tours on each excursion, taking pictures. Each evening, those pictures would scroll through the two monitors set up in the lounge. It was fun to find pictures of yourselves on those monitors.
Dinner in the restaurant. Everyone at the table had the Chateaubriand, and it was wonderful!
Our table mates were Steve and Jane from Colorado, and Lola and Judy from Minnesota. Jane had recently had back surgery, and while in physical therapy, fell onto her back and re-injured herself. She was moving rather gingerly and always used a cane when she walked.
Another long, busy day, and the bed felt really good!!
~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~