Not Exactly on the Road Again

fullsizeoutput_13f6As nearly everyone who read my motorcycle adventure blogs in the past knows, this year’s daily missives will not involve a motorcycle.  As I sit here writing the words you’re reading, I’m in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, polishing off a modest but savory bottle of French Grenache-Merlot, and anxiously anticipating the next 17 days that will see Marilyn and me sail on a Viking Cruise Lines long ship on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.  It’s an appropriate way to celebrate our 50th anniversary later this year (though I still think a small bouquet of grocery-store flowers and a box of candy could have covered it and saved enough money to buy a new motorcycle in the process).

DSCF8520We left Maggie Valley yesterday at 6 a.m., caught a noon flight from Charlotte to Atlanta then climbed aboard a Delta Airbus 330 at 3:30 for an eight-hour flight to Amsterdam.  That put us on the ground again at 11:30.  Atlanta time.  Of course Amsterdam was 6 hours later, and the sunrise was spectacular when we landed there at 5:30 a.m., having somehow misplaced the time when I normally would have been sleeping.  But that’s OK; we got two hours of non-restful REM-sleep on a cold, noisy plane and we’re young and vigorous so we can easily handle missing a night of battery charging sleep.

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Click on any image to enlarge

We hoped to check in at our hotel by 10 a.m. or so, but they didn’t have a room ready for us, so we had them store our four bulging, over-packed bags and took off for a five-mile round-trip walk through Amsterdam to visit one of the premier museums in Europe:  The Vincent Van Gogh Museum.  DSCF8573On the way there we strolled through two lovely parks dodging lithe runners and hard-body bicyclists who believe the parks’ paths belong to them.  Actually, they do, and walkers are expected to remain off the asphalt where the fleet of wheel and foot reign supreme.  Not knowing the rules, we nearly got run down several times before, with a little encouragement from vocal Sunday athletes, we figured out where our place was in the pedestrian pecking order.  fullsizeoutput_13eaDespite the dangers, we had a wonderful walk but quickly using up the two-hours of what little battery charge we banked on the plane ride across the Atlantic.

fullsizeoutput_13edThe parts of Amsterdam through which we perambulated on our way to Vincent’s art emporium were striking in their quaintness, their charm, their history, and their (over) abundance of bicycles.  EVERYBODY in Amsterdam, it seems, travels on two mostly non-motorized wheels.  Thousands of bicycles, many of them equipped with jury-rigged child and infant carriers, are locked to bike racks, trees, buildings and each other on every block we covered.  Amsterdam must have the fittest, healthiest residents of any city in Europe.

DSCF8566After a brief wait in the queue to buy our €44 museum tickets, we reveled in the chance to see the greatest, most complete collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings anywhere in the world.  Hundreds of priceless artwork hangs on the wall of this modern museum dedicated to one of the great art pioneers of the late 19th century.  fullsizeoutput_13f0Despite only producing art for a period of 10 years before he shot himself in the chest in the course of a mental breakdown and died, Van Gogh influenced the art world during his lifetime and for more than a century afterward.  His craftsmanship with a bold brush, his eye for striking color combinations and his largely plebeian subject matter secured his title as a master artist.  Seeing the works during today’s three-hour visit convinced me his acclaim was and is well given and deserved.  Despite admonitions by the museum authorities NOT to take pictures in the museum, I managed to surreptitiously digitally capture a few, two of which I offer here:

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fullsizeoutput_13f8Tired after almost no sleep and a five-mile urban hike, we arrived back at the hotel to find our room ready except for missing cushions on the sofa and a non-working USB port that was my only hope of charging four electronic devices.  fullsizeoutput_13f9I’m making do with what power remains on my MacBook Pro, Marilyn doesn’t really need her phone, her  iPad has enough juice to read e-mail and check FaceBook and my phone is currently at the front desk being charged at a working USB port.

fullsizeoutput_13edTomorrow we board the long ship Skirnir for our long-awaited cruise through the European heartland.  I’m looking forward to a good night’s rest and to the delights that lay in store during the next two weeks.  I’ll try to keep everyone informed of the celebratory events marking a half-century with a trouper who deserved better.

The wine bottle is now empty as is my well of travel wisdom.  I’m going to bed.

I can’t wait to get on the River.

13 responses to “Not Exactly on the Road Again”

  1. John West says :

    nice pics of the pics 😳 Hope y’all have a great trip. Looking forward to reading about your adventure. Take care.

  2. Richard says :

    Great pictures, enjoy ur long ship ride. If you have time while in Amsterdame stop by the Ole Nickle a B & B spent many nights there while in the AFVway back in the 60’s.

  3. George and Vera says :

    Bon Voyage!

  4. rgreenleaf001 says :

    Congratulations on your 50th and enjoy the cruise.Rich and Rainey Greenleaf 

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S®6 active, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

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  5. Kathy Carr says :

    We thought of Max as we drove by Maple Tree Vets. He will be fine, but I wish we had him. We are with you in our minds. So excited for you both. Much Love from Jim and Kathy.

  6. James Carr says :

    We only wish we were with you!………

  7. Helen says :

    Jim and I are really excited for you and Marilyn. Enjoy your journey. For me, the adventure is in the journey not the destination.

  8. Bill H. says :

    As usual with your writings and wonderful pictures I look forward to your blog of this trip. Many pie days ahead!

  9. rollingontwo says :

    Looks to be a wonderful adventure – subscribed!

  10. Ski says :

    Congratulations on the Big 50. I am going to enjoy this trip with you as usual. Glad to see Amsterdam hasn’t changed much form when I was there in 1957 ,’58.Many two wheel riders on the highway andbyways then also.Have a wonderful time!!!!!

  11. Lori Morris says :

    Can’t wait to read of your adventures! Such a beautiful place Amsterdam! I too was so amazed at the shear number of bicycles there! And don’t step in the bike lane!!! Amazing abilities of the Mums with three little children on a bicycle on their way to nursery, school, and work! And I thought getting 3 kids in the car was something!
    Congratulations on your 50 year milestone! That’s amazing, as are you guys.
    Safe travels and have a wonderful time.

  12. rollingontwo says :

    Doc and Marilyn – so fun to follow along on your cruise. Doc – keep an eye out on the shoreline for good motorcycle roads! 🙂 You may be charting our next European RollingOnTwo adventure! Have a great time.

  13. Mark says :

    Dennis, As always a great read with awesome pictures! Watch out for those quiet 2 wheelers! Congrats to Marilyn for putting up with you for 50 years and vice versa I am sure! 🙂 Enjoy the cruise and I look forward to your stories!

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