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A cruise around the port [July 5, 2009]

Advertised in the Parool a few weeks ago - a cruise round Amsterdam Port, the bits where ordinary mortals can rarely go. Seemed like a good idea so I booked two tickets and off we went on Sunday afternoon.

All aboard the good ship Euro (wierd name but there you go). Sunshine so no places left outside - the early birds had grabbed chairs and tables to make themselves comfortable. So we were stuck inside, which had the other disadvantage... we could hear the guide too too well.

We should have known it was trouble when she started off rattling on about how they built the IJ tunnel and the Noord-Zuid metro, while we sailed off in the opposite direction. I'll spare you the details, but she said zeg maar an awful lot.

And she did not know much about the port either.

Coal mountains

Apparently artificial fertilizer is used in the making of soft drinks.... And coal, zeg maar, is not healthy so the people who work in the coal dock are asked to wear masks... And that is a big ship but I won't zeg maar, tell you its name. (The Rochdale 1... owned by housing corporation Rochdale which is at the centre of a major corruption scandal). And those white round things there zeg maar are used to store oil and other things like chemicals. The words storage tank completely escaped her. And cocoa beans have to be kept dry and are used to make chocolate zeg maar.

Then as we neared central station again and passed the modern monstrosities which have obscured Zandhoek from the sea, she told us that the Houten Hoofd (she meant stone or Stenen) was popular with families and you could have a nice meal there and that roof terraces are popular in Amsterdam and no-one can see you.

Oh boy... by the end of the trip we were not much the wiser about the port but in near hysterics. Needless to say she did not get a zeg maar tip.

Hollyhocks on the Bloemgracht on the way home

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