Wednesday, April 14, 2010

General overview of Criuse & Time in Netherlands

The following is an amplified expansion of a letter I just wrote to the Lady from the travel Bureau we used for the trip.

Trust that it is of interest to you. If not please delete and please forgive me,

Questions, questions, so many questions! So let's see if I can answer them satisfactorily.
Yes it took us longer than expected to recover from our trip this time. Possibly because both parts of it were pretty full on and not quite as restful as I expected.

The cruise was really good and enjoyable. (From Amsterdam in the Netherlands and through Germany, Austria & Slovakia, to Budapest in Hungary, along the rivers and canal systems there and going either up or down through 68 Lochs.) One can't really compare it to the Ocean Cruise, as they are both so different. The sights, (Old, Castles, Churches & old towns) although a little repetitive after a while, were fantastic and I quite enjoyed the activities planned on this cruise. (Which was mostly but not exclusively on-shore ones), most of which were included in the package deal. To do some, we had to forgo to do other things, so one never has any reason to claim to be bored.

I'm not sure what my expectations were from this trip, as most of them would have been clouded by the previous cruise, and as already said, this was so different, But we greatly enjoyed it and would probably do another river cruise before an Ocean one. But then who knows, if something interesting came up Ocean wise?

We spent one day just walking around Middleburg (Capital of Zeeland province) and greatly loved the place. The Hotel we stayed in was built in 1537 or something and had a fantastic view of the confluence of 3 separate Canals, from our first Floor room. The Service there was great too. Thanks for recommending it to us.

We didn't spend more time in Middleburg itself because Martha's cousins wouldn't let us. (They took us under their wing right from the start, and we didn't want to leave them when the time came, either.) We arrived late on Monday afternoon and rang them straight after arrival, about 6:30pm. They came out about an hour later and took us to their farm at Ritthem, about 8 Kms away that night to meet her sister and her husband, and also their parents, (Martha’s Uncle and aunt whom she hadn't seen in nearly 30 years. Her Uncle is almost the spitting image of her father, but totally opposite in nature.) It was decided by the sisters and their husbands) there and then by them that the next day, the visiting Sister and her husband would take us for a drive around the nearby tourist spots and the famous and Massive dam built there in response to the great flood disaster of 1953.

The next day the sister that lived there and her husband, took us to the places of interest to Martha, including and into the Church, where her Parents were married. She even saw the house still standing where her mother lived with her parents &10 siblings.) We even went to see a cousin of Martha’s on her Mum's side. Her of Martha’s on her Mum's side, who along with her husband run a small Washing Machine Museum & Small fuchsia Nursery out of the home she was born in. We also found out that not only was this cousin's mother alive, (but in very poor health at 84), but so was another sister of Martha's Mum, who at 93, was still living at home. So Thursday we had to ourselves to see Middleburg, and then Friday morning was spent at the cousin's place and nearby wetlands and forest and 14th century Fort ruins. And that afternoon we went to visit this aunt, whom claims that that martha's youngest sister was named after her. A new thought to what Martha had previously been told! Although the visit was done through translation by Martha's cousin on her father's side, it was all wonderful to Martha.
That night we even went to a Dutch Reformed Church for their Good Friday evening service. And of course the next morning we headed to the railway station while it was still dark, for the 2-½ hour Train journey back to the Airport and we then had our long flight back home and a week nearly to recover from that.
The rest belongs to another story, so will end here for now,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another moral dilemma for you.

Was recently in Amsterdam, (as the starting off point for our 2-week “Rivers of Europe “ cruise). On our first night there, (Before leaving the next day) we had the opportunity of being part of an organised “Walking tour” of the “Red Light District” of Amsterdam.
As you may be aware, Smoking Marijuana and Prostitution are both legalised in Amsterdam, so we are not talking about matters of legality here, simply of morality. So my query is, even if you don’t take an active part in the practise of Prostitution etc, is it still morally okay to go along and gawk at those who do actively participate in it?
Likewise is it morally acceptable for tourist organizations to organize tours of this self same activity site? I ask this because it was only tiredness, the lateness and the wet weather, that stopped me from going along for “my two penneth’s” worth. What would you have done and why?

Hypothetical Moral Dilemma for you?

When I was in Secondary School (Watsonia Technical School) in the early 60’s, the strongest drug around my school then was ordinary Cigarettes, so I missed out on ever having the opportunity to ever try Marijuana. Similarly, although it was definitely around the places I worked in, in the and 70’s and early 80’s, and I knew of people who possibly used it or had possible access to it, I never saw the need to try it at all.
Not even in the 90’s, which we spent in the Transkei area in South Africa which supposedly grew the best marijuana (Or Dagga, as it is called there) in the world, whilst still strictly illegal.
Now, shortly, my wife and I, will be going to Amsterdam where apparently smoking Marijuana is Legal. So my moral dilemma is, should I, just because it is/will be legal to do so, now take advantage of this legal opportunity to try Marijuana or not? After all I can legitimately say I am thinking of trying it to cure my ongoing and persistent headaches, thus giving reasonable health grounds for trying it?
Don’t worry, I am not seriously considering trying it, but was again struck by the irony that just because a thing is now legal, doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for you or that you must now rush out and try it, just because you can now do so legally. What say you?


This site is just to record the random thoughts and comments inspired by my wife and my, recent 2 week "Rivers of Europe" Cruise and the subsequent 5 nights back in the Netherlands visiting some of my wife's family, after an absence of 50 years.