Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


I admit it. Holland, the Netherlands, windmills, Belgium, polders, Dutch, dykes, tulips, who's the Queen? It's all very confusing to those of us Americans who are weak on geography and misspent our youth in the Pacific and Far East rather than the Atlantic and Europe.

OK, so Google says Belgium and Holland are not part of the Netherlands and Netherlands means “low country:. Amsterdam and Rotterdam are the main cities along with The Hague. Dutch is a language as in the expression ...”It's all Dutch to me.” and also a demonym (name used for the people who inhabit a region) .

 Dutch is the main language and Rotterdam is the largest port in the world. The current monarch is probably not a Queen whose name is Wilhelm Alexander. The government is a unitary parliament constitutional monarchy.

We first hit the Museum Park which has three fine museums. Due to time constraints we only visit the museum of Natural History which is compact, interesting and well-organized.

 Next we attempt to locate a small Dutch pub on Gaffenstaat but are foiled by a strange street numbering system. We make our way to the third objective (the train station) and enjoy the rest rooms, coffee, wifi and a chocolate chip cookie.

 I learn that the Trip Adviser App allows one to download entire cities for walking around convenience. That is the hopefully the end of my map problems. ( I dislike the words "hack" and "app" very much...hackneyed IMHO)

 Rotterdam has stunning architecture. It reminds us of Chicago with one amazing structure after another. The Allies can take some credit for that since they bombed Rotterdam into rubble in sort of an early urban renewal plan.

 The main hazards of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are being run down by bikes.

We make our way to see the Kubus houses which were built in 1984 and the nearby amazing Marthal Market which opened this year.

 We lose our map somewhere near the old harbor but eventually wander around for about an hour and find the Dutch pub where Mrs Phred wants to eat.

Back at the boat, I discover that I've lost my passport somewhere during our seven hour wander in Rotterdam. I call the pub on Skype and find that they have it. Time is running out on the ship departure si I grab a cab and arrive at the pub at 9 PM only to find it locked and shuttered. I bank on the window and the cleaning crew hands me the passport. I arrive back at the ship before it sails....a little excitement...I've always had what you might call sloppy good luck...its better than no luck or even bad luck...

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