Rotterdam, The Netherlands December 25, 2008
We arrived in Rotterdam last night. It is the largest port in Europe and the third largest port in the world. The early morning skyline is beautiful. Although it is almost 7 am, it will be dark for a while.
It is Christmas Day and I was hoping this cruise would put me back in the holiday frame of mind I seemed to have lost years ago when I was working on my PhD. That definitely hasn't happened. I just don't seem be able to relax and recover a real joie de vivre. Sometimes I feel as if getting the doctorate actually made me even more anxious to prove myself as a person to be taken seriously.
Our first stop was the Delft Factory, which they opened just for us. I was surprised at some of the pieces and the materials incorporated into the buildings. Their cloister garden was particularly impressive. Peter bought me a very nice necklace of beads, little silver objects and some pieces of Delftware on blue and green cords with ribbons and a silver clasp and a couple of small matching pieces that I can turn into earrings. It was a very nice Christmas gift.
We had a pleasant walk through Delft. I had hoped it would look more like the setting of "The Girl with a Pearl Earring." Still it was charming although I got very cold. We couldn't go inside most of the churches because Christmas services were going on. After seeing the canals, the house of the corporation, and the Prinzenhof, we went to the William of Orange restaurant to have poffertje, which are small puffed pancakes, kind of like abelskiver. We had ours with ginger and I had a cup of espresso. We did get a chance to duck into the New Church (14th century) and see the tomb of William the Silent By that time the wind and weather changes had affected my sinuses and I had a raging headache and nausea. Various pills seem to have taken care of it for the moment although all I could manage for lunch was soup and, later, a clementine. We went up for tea and by then I could manage some lebkuchen.
We are currently sailing to Ghent. I am sorry that I will not be able to see the Van Eyck altarpiece but we won't be able to dock near the old town and there won't be time with the long day going to Bruges and the departure for Antwerp at 6 pm.
Judy, John and I had glühwein while we heard all about departure, paying bills, tipping and customs. Then Peter and I got dressed for dinner.
We were invited to John and Judy's cabin for some Cremant d'Alsace and pâté before dinner. Then we had a Christmas dinner buffet, which became rather long lines of somewhat impatient people. They had tried to send groups by table but neglected to tell the passangers in advance A served dinner would have been easier. In our itinerary this was supposed to be the Captain's Farewell Dinner and we had dressed accordingly, but evidently that is Saturday night so we will have to dress up all over again.