A Travellerspoint blog

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Last Day

rain 18 °C
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We had a great last day! Went went to the Anne Frank House this morning and it was excellent. It's a worthwhile visit for anyone. It's been many years since I read the diary but actually being in the house was a very moving experience. I purchased a new copy of the diary so we can both read it again and share it with anyone else interesting in reading the story. We walked through the Red Light District this afternoon and that was certainly an eye opener. The finale of the day was a Canabis Walking Tour explaining the history of canabis in the Netherlands and a tour of several coffee shops including some frequented by locals rather than tourists. It was very interesting and right now we are sitting in a coffee house drinking a coffee and using their internet. Next stop is catch a bite to eat and back to the room to pack. See you all soon! We'll be adding more pictures after we get home so check back if you like.

Posted by 60somethin 30.09.2009 18:56 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Amsterdam, Netherlands

rain 20 °C
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We arrived in Amsterdam yesterday afternoon and only had time to get oriented, have a great dinner, and visit a coffee shop. Today we did a Canal Cruise, went to Amsterdam's famous outdoor street market, toured the Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijksmuseum. Loved Rembrandt! The Van Gogh museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings because of course he was born here and we enjoyed it because we also were in Arles on this journey where he painted his best works. Then we had a delicious Indonesian dinner which was a traditional selection of dishes which is called a rice table in English - can't remember the proper dutch word. Right now we are sitting in a coffee house with internet because the WiFi in our room doesn't work for some reason. We love Amsterdam - it really is a beautiful city - like Venice with green space. The weather hasn't been the greatest - kind of drizzling all day but hasn't really stopped us from enjoying ourselves. We are travelling around by Tram - quite the puzzle to figure out where we should be going sometimes.

Posted by 60somethin 29.09.2009 11:04 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Bacharach, Germany

The Rhine River

sunny 26 °C
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We arrived yesterday in Bacharach and have had a very interesting time here. Our hotel is built right on top of the original wall for the city and overlooks the 820 mile Rhine River and the railway. Surprisingly the trains did not bother our sleep. Yesterday we did a walking tour of Bacharach (compliments of Rick Steves) which included a climb to the top of a city tower. This gave us an incredible view of the medieval town below and the Stahleck Castle above which is now a youth hostel hosting 40,000 travellers per year. For 300 years (1300 - 1600) Bacharach was big (population of 4000), rich, and politically powerful. Like Rothenburg the 30 year war and plague, and fires, did Bacharach in and there are now only about 1000 people. The oldest building in the town is Altes Haus from 1368 and some of its windows still look medieval as do some in our hotel - small flattened circles as panes pieces together with molten lead. The glass pieces are small because that is all the glass blowing technology of the time would allow. Today we travelled downstream by train to St. Goar and returned to Bacharach by a Rhine River cruise boat which took a little over an hour. At St. Goar we toured Rheinfuls Castle, once the biggest castle on the Rhine, built in 1245. It withstood many seiges until 1797 when the French Revolutionary Army destroyed it. Today while still mighty it is only 1/5th of its original size. This hollow but interesting shell offers the single best hands-on ruined-castle experience on the river. It was very interesting and also houses a museum - we spent 2.5 hours exploring. The Rhine Cruise back to Bacharach offered incredible views of more castles including Katz Castle, built in 1371, which got Napoleoned in 1806 and rebuilt in 1900. This castle stands empty, purchased by a Japanese businessman for $4 million in 1995. He was unable to carry out his renovation plans of this protected historic building so it stands empty and deserted today. At Oberwesel which is a Celtic town which was established in 400 BC and then became a Roman military station. Here above the town we saw the Schönburg Castle. A little further along we passed Gutenfels Castle and the Pfalz Castle built in the river in the 1300`s. This stretch of the Rhine from St. Goar to Bacharach, although very short, is apparently the most scenic. The weather is still beautiful and the leaves are really starting to turn colours. Tomorrow off to Amsterdam and then home!!!

Posted by 60somethin 27.09.2009 17:21 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Medieval Town

sunny 22 °C
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Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval town on the Tauber River in Germany. It is a major tourist attraction because it is Germany´s best preserved walled-town. It was saved from destruction near the end of the 2nd world war, according to the Night Watchman, by an American general whose mother had visited Rothenburg before the war and he had grown hearing stories about the town and seeing the pictures. Speaking of the Night Watchman this is German fellow who has probably created himself the very best job ever. For eighteen years he has been leading tours from the town centre nightly at 8:00 pm for 6 euros each adult. He is dressed as the night watchmen from the medieval times complete with a black robe, hat, lantern, and combination weapon (spear, axe). When we gathered in the main square in front of the town hall there were probably already 50 people waiting for him. When we left there were at least 100 and as we walked through the town we gathered more people - he is like the pied piper. You pay on your honour at the end of the one hour tour and even discounting the freeloaders he is making a fortune. The tour is very informative of the the times, and entertaining and humorous. There is wall completely encircling the old city and you can walk around the top as the guards would have back in the 1100 to 1400's. All of the buildings in the old town including our hotel are at least 600 years old. Only pictures will help to describe!

Posted by 60somethin 27.09.2009 10:06 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Munich, Germany

Walking Tour

sunny 25 °C
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Our second day in Munich we did a walking tour mostly in the huge pedestrian area of the old town. In the Marienplatz square we saw the ´New Town Hall´ which has the famous clock tower called the Glockenspeil. Munich was the capital of the Nazi movement. Between 1933 and 1945 the swastika flag, the symbol of the Nazi regime of terror flew above the New Town Hall on Munich´s Marienplatz. It was interesting because there is an upcoming election in Germany and while we were on the Marienplatz there were political speeches going on. This was the historic place for many public events for the Nazi party. When the Americans took Munich the New Town Hall was occupied by the American forces.

Posted by 60somethin 27.09.2009 09:57 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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