Robin's Adventures

River Cruise: Rhine and Moselle Rivers
Adventures with Medieval Castles and Charming Old Towns

The Adventure Begins

Our adventure began with a 3 1/2 hour flight from Los Angeles to Houston, where we sat for five hours waiting to board our flight to Frankfurt. It took ten hours to get to Frankfurt, where we sat in the airport for about two hours before finally departing for Amsterdam. One and a half hours later, we arrived in Amsterdam ready to begin seeing the sights. Total flight time: 15 hours.

After a couple of days in Amsterdam, we boarded the Amaprima for a leisurely sail down the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Along the way we stopped to explore some interesting towns with beautiful old world charm. Each town seemed to have similar elements: cobblestone streets lined with beautiful half timbered buildings, a tall church steeple, and a castle on the hilltop above the town. Each town also had its own unique flavor that could be savored as we strolled through the narrow streets.


Amsterdam is a city of canals, cobblestones streets, bridges, and bicycles. Space for building along the canals was limited and homes were taxed based on their width, so canal houses were built very narrow and tall. The wealthy then adorned their homes with grand gables and ornate scrollwork and statuary. It was fun to walk along the canals and see Amsterdam's unique architecture.

Seen about Town

As we wandered along the streets, we noticed some unique contrasts. For example, Steve found some very small cars and Robin noticed a very large shoe. Then, in Dam Square, which was the site of the original city center where the dam on the Amstel River was built, Steve found a Dam Good coffee shop.

We also spent some time checking out the shops and stalls in the flower market and then visiting the historical Amsterdam museum. One of the interesting exhibits at the museum showed some old ceramic guild signs that were used to mark various places of business at a time when literacy was low and pictures were a helpful way to show what was available in your shop.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was originally built, in 1655, to be a Town Hall. In 1806 it was converted into a residence for the royal monarch and it is currently one of three palaces in the Netherlands that is available for use by the monarch.

The central hall of the palace is 120 feet long and 90 feet high. It is adorned with elaborate marble statues, including a statue of Atlas balancing the world on his shoulders.

That's Entertainment

There were many delightful street entertainers out and about in Amsterdam. We enjoyed the creativity, talent, and sense of whimsy as we paused to enjoy what each performer had to offer.


The Rijksmuseum, which has about 8,000 art and historical objects on display, is the Dutch National Museum. The museum houses a variety of paintings, sculptures, Delftware, and archaeological artifacts that date from 1200 to the present day.

The variety of exhibits was refreshing. We could enjoy a Dutch woman's dollhouse cabinet from 1686 with elaborate decor and furnishings as well as a grandfather clock exhibit with a blurry figure inside that draws and erases the hands of the clock to indicate the time.

More Rijksmuseum

Rembrandt's work, along with paintings by many other Dutch artists, is showcased in the Hall of Fame with a special emphasis on his painting Night Watch.

Cruising along the Canals

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without taking a cruise along the canals. The city has 165 canals with a combined length of about 60 miles. In addition, there are more than 1200 bridges connecting the canals. The most famous bridge is the Mager Brug, fondly called the skinny bridge. This drawbridge opens about every 20 minutes to let boats go by.

It is interesting to note that the tall narrow houses are all built with hoisting beams attached to the gables. Stairways in the buildings are very narrow and it is impossible to move furniture and other belongings into the homes so furnishings are brought in through the front windows using the hoists.

Along the water we also saw some interesting buildings, such as the central rail station, and the modern looking EYE Film Institute Museum, as well as the NEMO Science Museum. There are also more than 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam.

Zaanse Schans Historic Windmill Village

Zaanse Schans is a quaint and picturesque open air museum of homes and windmills modeled after an 18th and 19th century way of life. There are wooden houses, mills, barns, and workshops that show what life was like in a village of the past.

More Historic Windmills

Windmills had a variety of uses. Perhaps the most important job of the windmill was draining water out of lowlands, but they were also useful for other things, such as grinding grain into flour, pressing oil from seeds, and sawing trees into lumber.