July 9, 2004 (Fri) Charlottetown, PEI to Sydney, NS (Day 7)

Sights: Bay Ferry, Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Driving Distance: 227km

Accommodation: Delta Sydney

Driving along Cabot Trail
Bridge to Cape Breton Island after the 75-min ferry crossing from PEI to Nova Scotia
Scarecrow Village, Cabot Trail
Gorgeous scenery along Cabot Trail
Car transporter across St. Anne’s Bay to Englishtown, NS
Lovely harbour view from the suite at Delta Sydney Hotel

July 7, 2004 (Wed) Moncton, NB to Charlottetown, PEI (Day 5)

Sights: World’s Largest Lobster in Shediac, Parlee Beach, Confederation Bridge, Musical: Anne of Green Gable

Driving Distance: 164 km

Accommodation: Rodd Charlottetown

World’s largest lobster
Beautiful Parlee Beach
Amazing quilted landscape at PEI’s Visitors Info Centre
one “FOOT” of the Confederation Bridge
The 12,900 m Confederation Bridge
Watching the musical, Anne of Green Gable, at the Confederation Centre of the Arts
Setting of “Anne of Green Gable”
View of Charlottetown Harbour from hotel’s rooftop patio

July 4, 2004 (Sun) Montreal to Quebec City (Day 2)

Sights: Old Quebec, Chateau Frontenac, Montmorency Falls

Driving Distance: 255 km

Accommodation: Loews Le Concorde, Quebec City

View of Quebec City and St. Lawrence River from our hotel room
Chateau Frontenac & St. Lawrence River
from Loews Le Concorde’s outdoor pool to indoor pool… you need to dive under the partition…pretty cool!
Montmorency Falls…spectacular with the suspension bridge on top!
Sunset at Montmorency
fondue dinner at La Grolla ( 815 Côte d’Abraham)

Crystal Bach Rhine River Cruise – Day 8 – April 7, 2019 – Amsterdam (disembarkation)

Enjoying our breakfast onboard the Crystal Bach, we said goodbye to our cruise buddies and the dining room waiters and waitresses. After breakfast at 8:30 am, we checked to make sure that all our luggage was in the coach’s luggage compartment, then just 4 of us (another couple were on transit to Denver via Toronto) took off to the airport. For just the 4 of us, Crystal sent a rep with us, other than the driver. Then Crystal had another rep at the airport, waiting for us to lead us to the Air Canada counter. Since we had priority check-in, we went through security in 20 minutes and arrived at Aspire Lounge at 9:50 am. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 11:55 am, so we should have over an hour to spend in the lounge before boarding at 11 am. The lounge was very pretty.

Unfortunately, due to full capacity reached, we were denied entry though we had Lounge passes. Instead, we were offered a voucher of 12.50 Euros each to eat anywhere inside the airport, or wait for people to leave. We figured that since we only had about an hour, we’d rather eat somewhere else, so we chose to take the vouchers.

Having eaten western food for 10 days, we decided to have Ramen at Kebaya.

It was delicious and we had to pay just a few more cents to have a drink with the ramen.

On board the aircraft, we had very spacious first row seats of Premium Economy and I could stretch my legs straight, very comfortable with the inflated foot stools. The flight was on time and we got to Toronto at 2:40 pm as scheduled.

Feeling relaxed and revitalized after a wonderful cruise! Time to start planning for our Alaska cruise in July.

Crystal Bach Rhine River Cruise – Day 7 (con’t) – April 6, 2019 – Amsterdam (overnight)

Docking Location: De Ruyterkade Oost No. 3

After lunch on the boat, we walked to Amsterdam Central Station which was only 10 minutes on foot. We did our flight check-in online which was quite easy. I was very happy with the 1-month O2 UK SIM card that I bought in Canada for CA$29 + tax = CA$32.77. The store I bought it was on the 2nd floor of the same plaza as T&T on Kennedy & HWY 7. It’s a Pay-As-You-Go card with £10 preloaded and I got 500 minutes, 5000 texts, plus 2 GB data to use in 30 days max. For my 10-day trip, I used it for almost everything and I still had data left. It received better than the boat’s satellite so I had it on all the time. It covered UK, France, Germany & the Netherlands that we went, but we bought a $10 data card to cover Switzerland as an add-on.

Fast & reliable International SIM card

At the Central Station, we bought a 24-hour public transport pass from the iAmsterdam store for €7.50 each. A single-use ticket is available on the tram or bus at a cost of €3.20, so one return trip will cost €6.40. We could also get the card from a ticket machine in the Central Station.

We took Tram 2 or 11 or 12 from the Central Station to Leidseplein and the journey took about 15 minutes. On the crowded tram, I got pickpocketed and my wallet was found hanging outside my backpack like this:

Even with a Pacsafe bag, the pickpocket could undo the zipper of the backpack and undo the zipper of my coin wallet in less than 10 seconds & took the contents inside my wallet. Luckily, I just used up all the coins so there was just a folded passport photocopy that the pickpocket took but there was no money nor credit cards inside. Lucky Me!! My husband was standing right behind me and after he looked at the bus stop names on the bus screen, he saw my backpack open with my wallet that was supposed to tie to the inside by a long connector, now outside the bag. I was lucky that my real wallet was tucked at the very bottom of the backpack, with lots of things on top of it so it was saved. What a blessing!

The reason why we had to take a tram to Leidseplein was that we had to check out the starting point of our evening canal boat location, operated by Blue Boat Co. I paid CA$32 for 2 people online but on site it was advertised a lot more. if we joined the ship tour to do the evening canal cruise, it cost US$89 per person. I was so glad I did some homework before our trip and we know how to get around Amsterdam since we were there many times. We saved A LOT!

As we had to pack, we took Tram 2 back to Central Station and walked back to our boat. It’s definitely the least favourite time of the whole cruise: packing (BIG SIGH!!!) We finished packing in about 30 minutes as we only brought 1 big suitcase & 2 carry-ons. Beside, we only had to leave our bags outside our room 45 minutes before our assigned departure time of 8:30 am on disembarkation morning. No rush like the ocean cruises that we had to pack the big bags the night before disembarkation.

Our waitress, Gessica, and waiter, Stelios, were excellent and incredibly efficient in their service, knowing that we had to get out to town for our canal cruise. We finished our dinner in 45 minutes without rushing and got out to Leidseplein at around 8:15 pm. It was not even completely dark so we took some beautiful pictures of the canal.

The jetty of Blue Boat

As our tour was booked for 9:30 pm, we asked if we could be switched to the 9 pm cruise and the sales rep was kind enough to help us change. We still had around 45 minutes to spend so we went shopping nearby.

We did daytime canal cruises many times so we were very thrilled to do an evening one. It felt really different this time. This was the canal boat we were on.

Little motor boat in the shape of a clog
Passing by many well-lit bridges
House boats in front of many buildings with slanted facades
The Red Light District

We even sailed by our boat, the white Crystal Bach, with the black AmaSerena doubled-parked on the outside.

We could purchase drinks and snacks on the boat for only a few euros and the commentary in English was clear and easy to follow, wearing the headphones. After 1.5 hours, we took the tram back to Central Station and walked back to our boat, just in time to spend the last hour of the day at the Palm Court. At 11 pm, there were only 2 tables of guests there so we had a very nice chat with the bartenders and the servers before retiring to bed.

Crystal Bach Rhine River Cruise – Day 7 – April 6, 2019 – Amsterdam (overnight)

Docking Location: De Ruyterkade Oost No. 3

Though we have almost come to the end of our cruise, this is the most colourful page of the whole blog. I feel so cheerful and happy just by looking through all these wonderful and colourful pictures.

In Amsterdam, we had to triple park, so Crystal Bach was the one in the middle, with Belljour closest to the dock and AmaSerena arriving after breakfast on the outside.

Very busy Amsterdam river dock

At 9:30 am, we started our tour to Keukenhof Gardens which was a 1-hour drive from Amsterdam. We were all super excited to do the highlights of our cruise. Keukenhof was only open for 8 weeks throughout the entire year, from March 21 to May 19 in 2019.

We had only 2 hours to spend in the garden, so we had to fast track everything in order to visit all the different pavilions. My husband took a map and plotted a route so we could cover most of the gardens. We were only able to visit Oranje Nassau, Willem-Alexander, The Mill, Beatrice and Juliana/Tulpomania. We didn’t even have time to line up to order tulip bulbs. Oh well…next time!

As soon as we walked in from the main entrance, we were greeted by a sea of tulips.

Beautiful floral displays inside the Oranje Nassau

Then we walked to Willem-Alexander where we spent the longest time.

We didn’t have time to walk to the front of the windmill. Just the back will do for this time.

Garden staff dressed up in flower costumes of all kinds.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Exceedingly beautiful Cherry Blossoms!

Inside the Beatrix pavilion:

Not just tulips, there were also beds of hyacinths.

…and daffodils…

Flowers galore

There were also some exquisite flowers:

Farewell, Keukenhof!

On the way back, we passed by many tulip fields.

Praise the Lord for a gorgeous morning in Keukenhof Gardens!