Monday, May 11, 2015


"I love Amsterdam. The city is vibrant and alive. It's fresh and so open. It's definitely one of my favorite places." - Stefon Harris
Today We Disembarked From Viking Bragi. It Was Sad To Say Good-bye To Fellow Cruisers We Met. Also Sad To See The End Of Our River Cruise. After A Hearty Breakfast At The Viking Bragi, A Taxi Driver Picked Us At The Lobby. We Noticed That Taxi Drivers Here In Amsterdam Have A Formal Uniform. Very Neat and Slick. Soon We Were At Our Hotel Doorstep, Andaz Hotel Amsterdam (A Hyatt Hotel) Which Was Located At Prinsengracht, Right On The Canal In A Picturesque Neighborhood Away From The Busy And Noisy City.

At The Lobby Of Andaz. It Was A Very Modern Hotel Which Was On Top Of Every Techno Trend. You Will Not Find Your Usual Reception Desk But Simply Complete Your Checking In By iPad. The Andaz Lobby Married A Whimsical design W/ Outstanding Hospitality.
As Soon As We Walked Through The Door The WOW Factor Hit Us. A Huge White Bell W/ Chandelier Attached Inside Was Hanging From the Top Of the Atrium Into the Reception At The Lobby.  

The Modern View Of Sculptural Lights With Blue And White Deft Wall Paper From The Elevator As We Ascended To Our Room.

Another View Of Modern Interior From The Elevator. The Building Used To Be a Library, Which Inspired The Decor. Very Modern W/ Traditional Dutch Touches.  

Sitting Among The Crimson Tulip Shaped Chairs In The Lobby.  This Place Screamed "Trendy!"

The Funky Decor And Chair Was Probably Not Everybody's Cup Of Tea But We Loved It.

Traditional Chandelier At The Lobby But W/ Modern Ebony Color. 

A Nice Curvy Nook Wall Papered In Blue & White Deft Design. Complimented W/ Two Trendy Black Chairs.

The Rooms Are Updated Amsterdam Chic. There Were References To Dutch History Throughout The Hotel. A Huge Blue Fish Dominated The Head Board Wall. All Rooms At The Andaz Were Individually Decorated And Designed By Marcel Wanders.

Inside Our Beautifully Designed Room. Extremely Modern Furnishings, W/ Yellow Trendy Chair And Curvy Modern Black Lamp. 

  What A Coincidence! My Outfit Matched Our Room Decor. Hurray!

Modern Shelving W/ Efficient European Design. No Wasted Space, Clean Lines Was In Effect And It Worked Really Well.
Extremely Modern Open Bathroom Concept  W/ Out Being Cold. Funky But Done So Very Well. The Vanity Was In The Middle Of The Room.

Beautifully Painted Blue Ceramic Sink. The Well Designed Bathroom And Powder/Wash Room Was Really Innovative.
The Toilet Was The Only Part Of The Bathroom That Was Private. It Also Had Different Wall Paper W/ Bits Of Amsterdam History. Reading The Stories On The Wall Kept You Busy While Doing Your Business In There. 

Enclosed Large Glass Shower As Viewed From The Vanity.

Pathway To the Hotel Garden. The Andaz Hotel Was Beautiful Inside And Outside.

Andaz Garden W/ Nicely Trimmed Topiaries.

Another Part Of The Garden W/ Black & White Modern Art. 

Rhod Posing Beside The Crazy Shirtless Screaming King Statues. The King Statues Were Everywhere Inside The Hotel And Garden.

Smiling During Our Relaxing Lunch At The Hotel's Restaurant. It Was Such A Treat To Be Able To Stay Here At Andaz For Three Nights. We Used Our Hyatt Points To Enjoy This Hotel. 
"We travel for romance, we travel fot architecture, and we travel to be lost." - Ray Bradbury


"And this was my impression of Brussels as a whole; it seems as if an interior designer had carefully and tastefully created the whole city. Everything seemed to match: beginning w/ a standard flower arrangement on Grand Place, up to the eye-catching ornamental patterns on the buildings." - KleesButterfly
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - APRIL 5, 2014 - (Morning Tour)

Welcome Back To Brussels, Belgium! Our First Visit Here Was In 1987 During Our Grand European Tour With Brendan/Globus. It Was A Beautiful Summer Night When We Had Our First Glimpse Of Brussels. Felt Lucky To Have Seen Brussels At Night, The First Time. The Memory Of That Beautiful Night Never Faded From Our Memories. For Our Second Time Around, We Joined A Day Trip With Viator Tour. Brussels Was Only Two And A Half Hours Drive From Amsterdam.  Brussels Was Also Beautiful At Springtime. The Pink Cherry Flowers Were Blooming Riotously.   
Another Close Up View Of The Cherry Blossom Tree In The City Of Brussels.

The Famous Atomium In Brussels. We Didn't See This Amazing Sight During Our First Trip As We Arrived In Brussels At Nightfall. Luckily, During Our Brussels Tour Today,  This Was Our First. The Atomium As seen Through The Maze Of Spreading Branches Pointing Upward.

Welcome To The Atomium! This Was A Spectacular Must - See- Sight in Brussels. It  Was Built For The World's Fair Expo '58. How Wonderful To Finally See It!
Atomium Was 335 Feet Tall. It's 9 Large Spheres Were Connected W/ Tubes To Form The Shape Of A Unit Cell Of An Iron Crystal, Magnified Of Course, To 165 Billion Times.  It Was Outstanding And Creative To Use Idea Of (Atom & Bond)  Into Building A Unique Feat In The History Of Architecture.
  The Atomium Today Was The Most Popular Attraction In Brussels.

Our Tour Bus Drove Around The Beautiful City Of Brussels. Like Amsterdam, This City Got Canals Too But Not As Many. Here's A View Of One Of The Canals W/ Big Sculpture Nearby. 
A Closer View Of The Canal W/ Row Houses Along  

Photo Of Downtown Brussels.

There Were A Number Of War-Related Monuments Around Brussels. This Was The National Infantry Monument (Covering WW1 And WW11).

The Monument Of The Unknown Soldier was Buiried At The Foot Of The Congress Column, The National Monument Of Belgium.

"Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get." - Forrest Gump in "Forrest Gump" (1994)


"Amsterdam was a great surprise to me. I had always thought of Venice as the city of canals: it had never entered my mind that I should find similar conditions in a Dutch Town." - James Weldon Johnson
AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND - April 4, 2014 (Part 2) 

The Andaz Amsterdam Hotel Was Perfectly Located In Prinsengracht  Area Near A Beautiful Canal.

Front Of The Andaz Hotel  As Seen From From The Canal Walkways. 

Another View Of The Front Of Andaz Hotel.

Side View Of Andaz Hotel W/ Bikes And Canal Nearby.

Anothe Side View Of Andaz Hotel.

A Beautiful View Of Andaz Hotel And Nearby Building & Rowhouses From Across The Calm Canal.
Rhod W/ A View Of Andaz Across The Canal.

Ebb W/ View Of Andaz And Cruise Boats Across The Canal.

One Of The Cruise Boats Along The Canal Named "See Amsterdam." We Already Did The Canal Cruise. We Preferred A Walking Tour By Ourselves This Time.

Lets Walk Leisurely Around The Neighborhood Of Prinsengracht. Let Me Paint One Of Those Magical Springtime Moments Along The Canal.   

Another Beautiful Walking Moment Along The Charming Canal.

An Inviting Gold Bicycle Parked Along The Canal.

How About A Bike Ride Along The Canal? We Preferred Walking Instead And Lingering  On The Canal view. Amsterdam Was Handsome At Springtime. 

Beautiful View Of The Canal And Tower Near Our Hotel. Amsterdam Was Lovely At This Time Of the Year. Ahhh.....Spring! Spring!

A Different View Of The Canal, Boat And Tower. Felt Like The "Small World" Of Disneyland, U.S.A. But This One Is A Real Setting, Not  A Fantasy Image. 

A Momentous Moment In Time As The Incoming Boat Was Captured Through The Lens Of Our Digital Camera.  

A Nice View Of The Bridge And Building Along The Canal.

Another Nice View Of The Bridge & Buildings Along The Canal.

Medieval Rowhouses Along The Canal. During Our Springtime Visit, The Landscape Was Very Lovely. Amsterdam Started To Smell Of Refreshing Green Leaves And Exploded In A Green World Of Emerald, Sage, Lusty Charteuse, Neon Green, etc. 

I Smiled Upon Seeing This Familiar  Scene Of The Drawbridge Which Immediately Reminded  Me Of Vincent Van Gogh Oil Paintings About "Langlois  Bridge." He Painted This Drawbridge Many Times While Living In Arles, France. This Subject About Drawbridge On A Canal Reminded Van Gogh Of His Unforgettable Homeland.  

Walking Along The Narrow Streets Of Prinsengracht W/ Cobblestones Pathways & Browsing Through Cute Boutiques.

Spectacular Springtime In Amsterdam. What A Lovely View Of The Bridge And Budding Trees Along The Canal! Amsterdam In Spring Felt A Bit Like The Beginning Of A Crescendo. There's Music Humming On The Air. The Longer Spring Days Painted A Colorful Canvas In Amsterdam And The Netherlands. Trees Appeared As If They've Been Outlined With A Lime-Green Highlighter As They Finally Started To Leaf Out. What An Exciting Time To Be Here In Holland! 
"Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen....." - Earnest Hemingway

We Capped The Day W/ A Delicious Chinese Dinner At China Town In Amsterdam.

After 10 Days Of Feasting W/ Cruise Fare We Missed Our Own Native Food. At Least Asian Cuisine Will Satisfy Us. So Here We Were At This Chinese Restaurant Named  Nam Kee. The Food Was Delicious & Authentic. We Ate Peking Duck, Shrimps Chow Mein And Beef W/ Brocolli.  Yum! Yummy! 

Days Were Longer At Springtime. Here's A Reflective View Of The Amsterdam Canal At Dusk.

Amsterdam Was Still A Very Busy And Beautiful   City At Night. The Reflections On The Water And Canal Reminded Me Of Van Gogh's Oil Painting On The Rhone River In Arles, France. Van Gogh Thought That The Night Was Far More Alive And Richly Colorful Than  Day Time.
“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”  ― Vincent van Gogh