Sunday, 20 August 2017
COLUMBUS 11th June 2017, Part 2
Monday 12th June 2017
I decided to have an early-morning cappuccino in the deck bar up on Lido Deck, as we sailed towards Amsterdam. I found the builders plate (Alsthom from St. Nazaire) from 1989 on the Sun Deck above, and then headed for breakfast in the restaurant. Eggs Benedict was enjoyed by several of us, which was an excellent start to the day.
We are due alongside the Cruise Terminal at 9.00 a.m. but 45 minutes after tying up at the quayside we were still waiting as instructed, as there were problems with the air bridge from landside, which was supposed to connect us with the terminal building. I had been held on stairs and had time to notice the coloured streaks of a nearby passenger's hair almost replicated the colours and stripes in a nearby piece of artwork. How delightful.
Once off the ship I collected a local map from a helpful lady at the tourist information desk in the terminal, and made my way to the other side of the Amsterdam Railway Station through public road and path tunnels under the lines.
I enjoyed all the views as I walked along, struggling slightly against a very strong breeze, but then I came to the building I was aiming for: the Amsterdam Public Library, seemingly built of glass. I took the escalators up to the top floor, and walked up the final wide staircase; there in front of me was the view over the city, from the balcony. Behind and around me was a large cafe seating area and an even better sight was the food and other delights on offer in the cafe itself. Fruit, vegetables, snacks and meals were all freshly prepared and it was quite difficult to make a selection of something to have with my coffee. I managed it though.
After that I went into the Amsterdam Railway Station and was immediately attracted by the sound of piano music coming from one of the main areas.
Someone was playing the grand piano which is available for anyone to use, and he was obviously very talented as a crowd soon gathered to enjoy his skills. I stood with a young lady who was also listening and enjoying the music, and she told me she was a graphic artist from, guess where, Texel! I explained that I lived in England, but was visiting Amsterdam on the cruise ship COLUMBUS. She had been asked to do some work on the new Texel ferry, and I was very happy to tell her I had sailed on it in March and enjoyed all I had seen of the new ship, its design and interiors. We agreed it was such a coincidence that we both knew about the new ferry, and I congratulated her on her work.
The pianist traveller played to us all for some time but then left, to great applause, and I made my way back to the waterside to take a ferry across to photograph COLUMBUS.
The sky was overcast still, with a brisk wind, so I was happy to head back to the cruise terminal. Queuing to get back on board, I was surprised to see a couple of friends going the other way, whom I know from our association with the Mission to Seafarers in the UK. They are also sailing on COLUMBUS but on another deck to me, so we had time just to say hello and goodbye before going our separate ways. We sail at 5.30 p.m. from Amsterdam.
Tonight is formal night and it was an extremely smart-looking group who met to go to the Show, before pre-dinner drinks in the Dome Bar as we watched us sailing through the lock on our way to the sea.
Formal dinner this evening was enjoyable, with a Baked Alaska parade, chefs and staff progressing through the Restaurant and napkin waving from many passengers. We are now on our way to Antwerp.
Ships seen: Columbus, ferries number 56, 60 and 61
To be concluded...