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We did a long excursion on our second day at Amsterdam – ‘Grand Tour of Holland’. Basically this was a scenic coach ride to Delft, a couple of stops there (at the Royal Delft factory, and in the town centre), another coach journey to The Hague, a walk round the Parliament Square, and then a coach ride back to Amsterdam. All told, we were away for just over eight hours.

Overall, we enjoyed it, although we were tired by the time we got back. The first part of the day was perhaps the best – a stop at a photogenic windmill, then a drive around Aalsmeer and the surrounding district, off the main roads as much as possible. This was very pretty countryside; a mixture of small villages, some grander houses, lots of canals and some much larger lakes. On the way it was easy to see how low-lying the land really is; the canals and lakes were generally higher than the surrounding land. Many of the houses had well-tended flower gardens which were very attractive.

The visit to the Royal Delft factory wasn’t really our thing. What did strike us was how small it actually was – we didn’t see very many employees at all. The pottery may be ‘hand-made’, but an awful lot of the process is as automated as possible. Of course, after a couple of audio-visual presentations on the history and technology, and a quick tour of the production area, we got to the shop which we felt was the main focus of the visit. The pottery itself was a mixture of the exquisite and the ridiculous – some vases were very beautiful, but a 13′ x 15′ reproduction of Rembrandt’s Night Watch in hundreds of Delft Blue tiles was bizarre. But there was enough good stuff on display to keep us reasonably happy, though Val would have preferred more in the history cabinets.

Then on to Delft town, which turned out to be the least-enjoyable part of the tour. It was very busy in the town centre – there was a market in the square, and a lot of people walking and cycling around – and there we were crocodiling along trying to hear the guide, and feeling that we were just getting in people’s way. We had lunch in a cafe on the square (not included in the excursion fee), which was marred somewhat by Val losing part of a tooth. Fortunately she’s not in pain so it hasn’t affected the cruise.

Then we went on the The Hague and had a walk across the Parliament Square. Our guide, who to be fair was very good and kept us entertained with good stories on the coach, tried to blag the party into one of the Parliament chambers, but the door attendant wasn’t having it. So we just walked around outside, which was OK – it was very attractive, in that Dutch ‘formal brick’ style. After that it was back to Amsterdam, with a bit of a snooze on the way.

I have to say that the weather in Amsterdam has been great. It’s been hot and sunny for almost all of the time, with temperatures well into the 20s. In fact we went for a walk around the promenade just before bedtime on the first day and it was like being in the Med – warm and a bit humid. Lovely.

One Response to “P&O Grand Event – Amsterdam day 2”

  1. […] Amsterdam, and I did a could of posts. The first one covered our activities that day, while the second one covered an all-day excursion we […]

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