The sparkling brilliance of this long-awaited day had been radiating through our veins long before the sun’s first golden rays had even filtered through the early morning cloud.
To say we were excited by the wonderful experiences that lay ahead would certainly be an understatement.
Today we’d be leaving Amsterdam; heading off on our 15 night “dream of a lifetime” European River Cruise.
We were going to be travelling on one of Viking’s newest Longships, the “VIKING TOR”.
This comfortable ship was about to become our new “home-away-from-home.” It would transport us in complete luxury through 5 different European countries (Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary), 3 major rivers (the Rhine, the Main and the Danube) and through many, many significant historical sites.
By nightfall…we would “OFF AND AWAY.”
Before leaving our hotel in Amsterdam, we sourced some last minute information regarding Tor’s whereabouts from the ever helpful Viking crew (I’d have to say that Viking were always very helpful).
We excitedly packed the last of our (way too many) belongings, ate a yummy continental breakfast in the Holiday Inn Express Hotel lobby (these breakfasts had been light but oh so tasty and oh so conveniently included in our accommodation price over the past few days).
Once everything was finalized, we piled into a taxi with all of our paraphernalia and sped off towards the IJ, which, of course is the name of that very large body of water right in the centre of Amsterdam City, around which all of the smaller canals in Amsterdam are interwoven.
Truly, I mean it when I say some days are diamonds! And for the two of us this was truly one of them….right up there with the very best of the best….probably surpassed only by those other really major events in one’s life such as births, weddings, graduations etc.
Our mood was certainly upbeat. Our minds were abuzz with wildly racing and blissful thoughts as we anticipated the beautiful days about to unfold…a whole delightful 15 of them in all.
As we drove along in our Taxi, we found ourselves pondering what might lay ahead. I recall our prattle may have gone something like this:
“Hey, I wonder if our room will be ready when we get there?”
“I don’t know…sure hope so. It certainly would be just great to get everything sorted so we can then sit back and really enjoy the rest of the day.”
“It’ll sure be good to find a home for all of this luggage and STUFF we’ve been lugging around.”
“Do you think the Longships can be as comfortable and agreeable as they appear to be in those ‘oh so glossy travel brochures’… You know, like the ones we were given by those Viking Reps back home?”
“You know, I think they will be..…they sure appear to be comfy and they look really good in the Viking videos I must say.”
“I wonder what our longship crew will be like?”
Somehow I just think this’ll be really memorable experience? At the very least I’m sure looking forward to seeing all this culture and history throughout Europe… You know, we’ve come so far to do this and we just don’t have anything like it back home in Australia do we?”
“No we don’t. We’ll have to make the most of it while we’re here.”
“I’m actually getting hungry again. I wonder what delicious morsels they might offer us for lunch today.”
“Well so long as it’s all tasty I don’t think I really care. It’s just going to be sooo good to have someone else getting it all prepared…..instead of me having to do it all!”
“Yes I’m really looking forward to just sitting back……it’ll be great to be spoilt for a change!”
All in all, I seem to recall that our check-in procedures that day turned out to be TOTALLY EFFORTLESS on our part.
There was a lovely pesto chicken and salad lunch at the ready, with all of the freshest of greens plus breads and rolls laid out in convivial buffet style to greet us up on the Aquavit Terrace. With views overlooking the Amsterdam IJ, we topped off our lovely lunch with a couple of complimentary glasses of chilled chardonnay.
Oh my what a day. And here’s to the Viking crew was all I could say!
The ambiant décor was so pleasing and our Longship was certainly comfortable. It was actually rather refined and stylish and all soooo new…You could literally still smell the paint drying on the walls and the newness of the carpets under foot. We were both on cloud nine and we knew we were going to have the most amazing time. Our room wasn’t quite ready but our luggage was already checked and long forgotten! Time now just to sit back and enjoy.