gmhTODAY 16 gmhToday Sept Oct 2017 - Page 94

grape vines that run straight up the sides of mountains. We took a photo or two to share with our wine making friends here at home. In Koblenz, J.Chris and I had a private tour of the 19th century Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, a Prussian fort build to defend the region from the French. It was so formidable that it was never attacked! However, it has been occupied by several occupying German, French, Nazi and American armies. It was bittersweet docking in Amsterdam. We had extended our trip a couple days so we would have time to explore the city but found it hard to say goodbye to the Alruna, the wonderful crew and friends we had made during our voyage. We will keep in touch with Laurie and Mark MacShane from Minnesota and Kathy and Tim Grannan from Ohio. We’re already planning a trip to Chicago to see the sites and enjoy their company in October. If you are a little ADHD, Amsterdam is a difficult city to be in as many of the home are very old and all are built on piers in the bog like soil, many homes lean left or right. Some purposely lean forward, which allows the residents to hoist furniture to the top floors without touching the windows below. Our English friend, from our cruise, who had been a construction manager, had a bit of a difficult time in Amsterdam as he found them to be disorienting. One of the highlights of our time in Amsterdam was a canal tour. What a fascinating adventure! New areas are being filled in for new building while other areas are returning to the sea. Some canals are wide and busy; others are small and impassable for larger boats. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed Amsterdam and would have liked to have spent a little more time than our two- day extension. One last remarkable observation. One day during our time aboard the Alruna, a supply truck missed the rendezvous due to an accident. The trucks caught up to the ship later in the day and the whole crew, including the captain, formed a human chain to load the supplies on the ship in order to keep on schedule. Even a few passengers joined in. Well done, Viking River Cruises. 94 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017