Rembrand, Tulips and a Warm Welcome Aboard
It was an early wake-up call for many aboard Tauck’s new ms Inspire this morning, with an impromptu excursion to the Tulip Auction here in the port of Amsterdam.
A last-minute addition to the itinerary, guests were notified last night that they could take part in this unique experience to see tulips (and flowers of all kinds) bought and sold at auction here in the city. Departing at 6:15am, it was too early for yours truly to partake in owing to the late time (2:30a.m.) of yesterday’s post.
The reason I mention it, though, is because it was not on any brochure or itinerary published by Tauck. This was an event that the Tauck Directors recognized was happening when our schedule allowed for it, and they in turn offered it up – complimentary – to guests.
From what I hear, it was time well spent. Nearly 70 percent of the ship got up at 5:00a.m., ate breakfast, and indulged in this unique experience. From what I understand, the thing was the equivalent of the New York Stock Exchange trading floor in terms of frenzy and fury – but for flowers, with bushels coming and going by the truck-full.
Before I talk about the day, I should mention a few things about the staterooms here aboard ms Inspire. I discovered two things last night about my own Loft Stateroom: one, the bed is fantastic, and precisely what you’d expect from a fine luxury hotel on land – yielding, but not without support. Two: the bathroom floor is heated. Both of those features make for a very nice wakeup call.
My touring began at 8:00a.m. sharp, as we set off for a cruise along Amsterdam’s legendary canals, followed by a remarkable visit to the legendary Rijksmuseum (rikes-museum).
This was the second canal cruise I’ve been on in Amsterdam, and I have to admit: it’s honestly not my favorite way to get around. Amsterdam’s such a lovely city to walk through that I feel a bit guilty for not getting out and strolling its historic streets. But several sudden downpours throughout the morning would have made that an unpleasant option – not to mention the fact that fresh apple pie and hot coffee were served onboard.
The real winner this morning, though, was the Rijksmuseum, or National Museum. Designed by Pierre Cuypers, the Rijksmuseum first opened its doors on July 13, 1885, though apparently King Willem III never got the memo: he was notably absent from the opening ceremonies, and was famously negative about what he referred to as an ‘archbishop’s palace.’
The Dutch apparently didn’t share their King’s opinion of the new museum, which was an instant hit with locals and foreigners alike. But by the turn of this century, it had become apparent that the museum was long overdue for a facelift.
Our Live Voyage Report from the maiden voyage of Tauck’s new ms Inspire continues tomorrow as we visit windmills, sample cheese, and explore the picturesque town of Hoorn, Netherlands! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.