What a wonderful week on board the AmaVerde. I have to say that my experience on board this ship over the past 7 nights, 8 days was truly a nice return to river cruising. Of course, Rosa was with me and so we shared a great deal of time and returning to some of the places I had not been to for well over a decade was eye opening. As I have said before, seeing things through her eyes was truly enjoyable. She wanted to be a tourist and not a guide and she was on board not to be a guide. However, she sometimes reacted to the guides we had in various places. I also want to thank the crew of the ship for their professionalism and warmth during this past week cruising from Budapest to Giurgiu and everywhere in between. Some places I had experienced years and years ago and some were brand new. Even those places I had been had changed and really, the whole experience was worth the time. If there was a bad thing, a few kilos were added, but I will be back on track again where I was, especially with all the walking I will be doing.
First of all, we are together here on the AmaVerde and I am so happy to be together in person with her. Even a month a part was too long for me and now, we will enjoy a week long cruise through many wonderful places and that is very exciting.
The highlight, for me, however and everything was great was at the general session and the special guest, Wolfgang Puck, and his conversation, even if it was supposed to be an interview, was highly motivating and very entertaining. He told his story and he did not have filters. He recently opened up a new Spago, his signature restaurant, here in Budapest. If there were time, we would go, but there is always next time.
Beyond the time here in Budapest and we leave here tonight, I had time in Vienna, where I explored for a day, and left a rose at Rosa’s hotel. Did I mention she had meetings there after I left there, with a colleague, so I surprised her before I left Vienna and yes, had the 87th and 88th Hard Rocks in the collection and one more on the horizon and connecting and re-connecting with friends and colleagues while here in Budapest. In the end, the best was reconnecting with Rosa and being together again.
As always, stay safe, stay healthy and always look for the best in a situation and be patient as the best things in life are worth waiting for. Thank you as always for your support of my crazy little world and my small business. As always, I look forward to your comments, questions, concerns and continuing the discourse through whichever means you read my posts!!!
While that was the main reason for coming to Berlin, I only did two of the three days at the show and the last day, the 9th and my birthday, I opted out. I explored on my own a bit, went to Checkpoint Charlie, which is by no means what it was like when I was there back in 1985, when there was a real border there and you had to exchange monies, in this case 25 Deutsche Marks for 25 East German Marks, which were essentially worthless and could not be spent, except in the local shops. If you tried to use the worthless currency in the western style mall, which today is in Alexanderplatz, they said “nein” and wanted more hard currency. In the end, I spent the money in local shops, buying something they called “pizza” and warm flat beer and a plastic set of bears that represented East Berlin. I also remember trying to speak German to the East Germans and they would not speak with me. They were afraid and so little conversation took place. In the end, Checkpoint Charlie is a tourist attraction and there was a Hard Rock Shop there, so I purchased my bling. I also went on a foodie tour in the east that day and hung out with some good people. Even a little birthday cake.
When I arrived into Amsterdam, just the other day, I hit the ground running and have not stopped since. I have enjoyed a foodie tour in the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam, explored the Resistance Museum there and, yes the 81st Hard Rock, not up to 84th. It was no so much that I wanted to see all of Amsterdam, but more so to experience it and I essentially had a full day. I wandered the streets, met people and simply felt my way through my day. It has been many years since I had been there, so as with other cities where I had been before, but also many years before, it was from a totally different perspective. The first time I was in Amsterdam was some 37 years ago, and yes, I have been there since, but it is always different to simply gain new insight and while I was there for a couple of specific things, I gained a new appreciation for this city.
As this first few days in Europe has been a bit of a whirlwind, the past few days, have been no different and while it was in a way planned around Hard Rocks to add to the collection, Rotterdam was the exception. It does not have one and I had never been there before, and so when I hopped the train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, a short trek away, about an hour, I was absolutely impressed and when I arrived, stored my luggage, got a map and my google maps and, with the help of a colleague, went on to explore this wonderful city, which was burned to the ground, with little exception, during WWII as it had been a main port city and very important, so the Nazis destroyed it. I explored all around the city in about 6 or 7 hours, plenty of steps in about 18,000, roughly, but I saw life here. I would have to say the highlight was seeing the New York Hotel which was the home of the Holland America Line with the ocean liners between Rotterdam and New York City, but there were many wonderful things. Is a day enough, by no means, but not having been there before, it was certainly worthwhile.
Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin