I got up very early this morning to catch some of the sail into Amsterdam along the North Sea Canal. It was areas of agriculture and industrial areas. I enjoyed it, and ultimately, came back out again for the sail out of Amsterdam and through the locks at Ijmuiden. Our friend Mirelle Stolte took time out of her busy schedule to meet us at the ship for a private guided tour of Amsterdam. Mirelle had arranged for a taxi to take us to the center of Amsterdam from the Waterland Pier outside of the city. Mirella Had prebooked a canal cruise for us to see the sites of Amsterdam. This was Ann’s first time in The Netherlands, so the canal cruise was a perfect way to take in the highlights of Amsterdam and for me to photograph the most picturesque sites that the historic canal area has to offer. The cruise provides unique view of the UNESCO World Heritage canal belt district. We passed by; the Basilica of St. Nicholas, Bears Van Berlage Concert Hall former stock exchange, Oude Kerk, Skinny Bridge, Eye Firm Museum, the Technology Museum, charming merchants houses, the historic city center and majestic facades. After the canal cruise and to warm up we stopped at cafe for refreshments, coffee, ginger cookies, coke and genever (Dutch liquor). Then we took a stroll along Amsterdam’s famous Damrak Street for some souvenirs and Dutch liquorice. We made our way to the lively Dam Square where overlooking the square is the Royal Palace, the official residence of King Willem-Alexander and his family. Being Liberation day in Holland, the National monument was decorated with flower wreaths commemorating the Liberation of Holland from the Nazis by the Allied Forces at the end of World War II. Next, we walked along the canals through Zeedijk – Chinatown and into the infamous Red-light District. Completing a loop of the central city we returned to the iconic Central Train Station to catch our taxi ride back to the ship. We returned to the ship and said our fond farewell and thank you to Mirella for a wonderful day. On our visit to Rotterdam in July, we will have the pleasure of seeing Mirella and her husband Phillip Stolte once again. It is a special treat to visit a city with a friend as your host…a memorable day in Amsterdam. On our next visit to Amsterdam our plans are to tour the Dutch countryside. This blog is in three parts; the first is the sights along the North Sea Canal and locks at Ijmuiden, and the last two parts cover our wonderful day in Amsterdam….