15 April 2012

Seizing the Moments of my Journey with Viking River Cruises

Living in the moment in Marken, Netherlands.  I happened upon this picturesque view of a tiny drawbridge leading into a village street.  All content property of EuroTravelogue™.  Unauthorized use is prohibited.  

“The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot

In those six words, T.S. Eliot encapsulates the wondrous journey that is travel and my mission in life, but he also reminds us not to simply get from place to place, but to live in each moment along the way! Of course I agree that the destination is the highlight of any holiday and the reason for which we travel but isn’t the journey equally sublime? Can it be? Have you ever been thrust into a single moment that ignited your childlike wonder and sent it soaring to unimaginable heights? Or, have you shared an encounter with new friends in faraway lands? These kinds of moments, all too often fleeting but sometimes euphoric, are always high on any of my itineraries and my recent adventure with Viking River Cruises proved to be no different. My river cruise through the Netherlands not only delivered on my expectations of a European cruise, it exceeded them with unforgettable moments that I seized and reveled in for the time afforded me. And so it is with this underlying theme of “the journey not the arrival” that I weave together some memories from my journey in the Netherlands—unexpected points in time that enriched my “journey” along the way.

Enchantment in the Dutch Countryside

A most unforgettable moment happened after retiring for the night onboard the Viking River Longship Viking Odin. As we cruised up the River Ij en-route to Kinderdijk, I happened to glance outside my window to behold what was to become one of the most enchanting moments of my cruise. In that moment, I jumped out of bed and went outside to behold a most magnificent scene. For in the distance of the passing landscape and velvety night sky was a picturesque village cast aglow by its clock tower whose faces shone with warm golden hues—a beacon for those who lived in the village as well as fortunate travelers passing by. Suddenly wide-awake with excitement, I reveled in that moment because of its picturesque beauty and so this observer began to wonder about its people, its local sights and its culture. For a brief moment, I wanted to run back inside to grab my camera but thought the better of it, for if I had, the moment would have been gone.

Windmills, Windmills, Windmills


Just one of Kinderdijk's 19 windmills seen from the canal they pump their water into. All content property of EuroTravelogue™.  Unauthorized use is prohibited.       

Our next day, we awoke up a most wondrous land of windmills. Welcome to Kinderdijk (pronounced kinder-dike), a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in Dutch heritage and home to 19 functioning windmills whose oldest dates back to 1521. What made this an unforgettable memory was the misty-morning sunrise punctuated by these iconic and picturesque windmills looming on the horizon. Later that morning, we toured a windmill built in 1740 for an up-close and personal look at the life of a miller. Then, we climbed to the very top! I promise more on Kinderdijk in an upcoming post but for now, I share with you some pics and video of this historically enchanting place!

Looking up at the back side of a windmill in Kinderdijk, Netherlands. All content property of EuroTravelogue™.  Unauthorized use is prohibited.      

Inside the small kitchen of the Kinderdijk windmill.  Note the bedroom chamber in the background.  Most beds inside this windmill were located in little cupboards such as this one pictured here. All content property of EuroTravelogue™.  Unauthorized use is prohibited.



A Cheesy Moment


Welcome to the De Smikkelaar Cheese Shoppe in Volendam, Netherlands. All content property of EuroTravelogue™.  Unauthorized use is prohibited.   

While wandering through Volendam with my fellow journalist Mattie John Bamman who writes for EuropeUpClose.com, we happened upon a quaint Dutch cheese shop that was so inviting, we just had to step inside for a closer taste, I mean look. ; ) Currently owned by a fourth generation family of fromageres or cheesemakers, this shop was brimming with cheese of every shape, size and color. What made this moment truly special was our encounter with these welcoming folks and our immersion into the lives of Dutch cheesemaking. Not only did they share with us their heritage, they introduced us to various types of cheese and offered us the penultimate moment of cheese indulgence—some of which were among the freshest and creamiest I’ve ever tasted. Funny enough, the young guy in this photo told me to grab two of these extremely heavy cheese wheels to pose for a picture. “Are you kidding me?” I couldn’t budge the two of them so he hands me one, and with trepidation, I reached out to grab it. Thanks to my fellow cheese taster who snapped this pic, I have suspended this memory in time forever.


My very cheesy moment captured forever in time. All content property of EuroTravelogue™.  Unauthorized use is prohibited.

A Brief Encounter With A Dutch Bridge

While shooting video up on the Viking Odin’s Sun Deck en route to Volendam, an unexpected thrill was imminent! We were quickly approaching one of the many bridges that span the rivers of the Netherlands, but this one looked like it was going to be within arm’s reach of where I stood on deck. With my trusty iPad video turned on, I recorded this brief encounter with a Dutch bridge:



For now, my adventures must come to an end. I hope this journey inspires you to seek out these fleeting experiences of “living in the moment” and to remember T.S. Elliot as you live each day, each hour, each moment! If you've experienced sublime moments like these, please share them below. I would love to revel in the moment with you!

Additional Reading:

28 comments:

  1. Your experience with the Dutch countryside and the excitement you felt? That's why I sometimes come home with fewer pictures than I would have liked. Sometimes I don't want to ruin the moment or the experiences by stopping to take a photo (even though later, I wish I had).

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  2. Aww you looked so happy with your cheese! I'm so glad you had a nice time, and it really seemed like an amazing day!

    Sometimes you just have to live the moment. As a travel blogger it's extremely hard to let go, but ever so often the circumstances will oblige you to.

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  3. Hi there Jeremy,

    Thanks so much for stopping by to share your experiences and I agree with you 100%...so a happy medium is the answer which what I strive for on every journey. Thx again.

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  4. Hi there Marie-Eve and thank you so much for your kind words. It truly was a fabulous day and I loved every moment. Thanks so much for stopping by to share your thoughts!

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  5. Sounds like such a great time. I love that you savored the moment instead of going inside to get your camera.

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  6. Hi Jenna and thanks so much for stopping by to share your comments. There were so many of these serendipitous moments during my cruise..far too many to include here but just as magical nonetheless. Thx again!!

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  7. Very nice to read this about those special moments on your journey. Our experiences of living in the moment are treasures. What a fun visit you had to that cheese shop -- yum!

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  8. Wow! Did you finish all that Edam by now, Jeff? You have such good reason to grin from ear to ear. Amsterdam is so charming.

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  9. Hi there Cathy and thanks so much for stopping by to share such wonderful thoughts!! And that cheese was so tasty too!!

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  10. Hi Marlys,

    It was good to the last bite ;). Thx for stopping by to share your thoughts!!

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  11. Wonderful post, Jeff! Love your enthusiasm and joyful pics. The ship looks marvelous and the Dutch countryside almost toylike in its perfection. Truly a
    sigh-worthy trip!

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  12. Lesley, thank you so much for your kind words...and I agree, the Dutch countryside is almost toylike, especially the Kinderdijk windmills!

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  13. I didn't realize people lived in windmills! Sounds like you learned a lot and saw some beautiful sights on this river cruise. What a great experience :)

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  14. Hi there Leslie and thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, 18 of the 19 windmills in Kinderdijk are occupied by families...incredible huh? Sounds to me like the making of a fantastical movie! I did learn an incredible a lot about the workings and the lives of millers. More to come on my site about Kinderdijk soon!! Very soon.

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  15. I've only ever taken the train and driven through the Netherlands. Don't know why I've never thought of taking a river cruise; must be wonderful to sail slowly past all those quirky and gorgeous towns and villages.

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  16. Hi Sophie...oh yes, it is quite enchanting to cruise slowly by all of the picturesque landscapes of the Netherlands. I can only imagine how fantastic it would be to sail down the Rhine from Germany to Switzerland. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!!

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  17. I always thought these Viking Cruises were not for me... you've changed my mind. Nice adventure.

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  18. Thank you so much Lorenzo for your kind words. I am sure that Viking River Cruise would love to hear that as well. Actually, I am going to send a tweet to them now....Thx again for stopping by to share your WONDERFUL comments!!!

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  19. Awesome pics, Jeff!

    Holland is indeed wonderful, and you're so fortunate to have gotten out into the countryside. My visit had been restricted to Amsterdam (which is wonderful in itself!) but it would have been amazing to meander along the river and see all those lovely windmills.

    Wow! That smile of yours with the cheese is unforgettable! Keep enjoying life and your travels, my friend.

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  20. Hi Doreen and thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words as well!! That cheesy picture was a very special moment with my new Dutch friends...moments I like to seek out with the residents in all the places I visit!

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  21. It looks like you just barely cleared that bridge! How much time did you spend sailing during the day? It must be great watching the countryside pass by.

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  22. Hi Debbie...truly a fascinating adventure of the rivers of Europe! That day, we sailed all morning until lunch and for the rest of the journey, we cruised at night...lots of enchanting sights along the way. I can only imagine what it's like to spend 8 or more nights cruising through Europe! I would be in HEAVEN!! Perhaps, we'll share a journey such as that one day! Thx again for stopping by and sharing your comments!

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  23. Great article and it really gets under the skin of the Netherlands which is a country I love. River cruising is an excellent way of visiting different European cities without having to pack and unpack!

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    1. Hi there David and thank you so much for stopping by and for your compliments as well. Totally agree with you about River Cruising and this trip won't be my last. Thanks again!

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  24. your write up is great and I just thought that you might have a website as well..i write a bit and recently I wrote an article/post about Europe that is I think exactly opposite of what your blog is about. .you might like to comment on it here it is-www.myeurojourney.com/things-to-do-in-Europe

    do you do anything like internet marketing?

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    1. Hi there David and thx so much for stopping by! You certainly I have an interesting site! And yes, I do lots of Internet marketing!

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  25. Hi Jeff,

    I really enjoyed reading about your trip! I love river cruises (particularly viking cruises, I believe they are the best and often the kindest staff out there!) The TS Eliot quote is very apt, and sums up everything I feel about river cruises - I'm like a child when I'm on holiday, every new city and sight excites me. So travelling 20 hours on coach to get to an average resort just isn't for me. River cruises are the way forward! Now, I'd better book an Amsterdam cruise, because that cheese looks incredible...

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    1. Hello there my anonymous friend and thank you so much for you kind comment. I share your childlike enthusiasm for new experiences which is a great way to travel the world and to keep the mind open without prejudice, bias or other influences--a great philosophy if you ask me! Please stop back more often, I love to read comments like this!! Thank you again!

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!