Wednesday June 13, 2018

WE ARE, AS YOU’VE PROBABLY GUESSED, HOME … and I feel duty-bound to wrap-up this Baltic blog before you totally lose interest.

Three days ago we ended our Baltic & Norwegian Fjords Adventure right back where we started, saying goodbye to the Koningsdam and its friendly crew at the cruise terminal in Amsterdam.

This remarkable Dutch capital is built across 70 islands … connected by 1000 bridges … and famous for its bikes, dykes, canals, bridges, houseboats, windmills and cheeses. Amsterdam is a tourist’s dream, with endless things to do. So we spent our final day in Europe doing some of them.

With hats on our heads and bags in storage under our coach, we ventured forth … visiting first a tiny ‘hidden’ Catholic church (hidden when the Protestants took power) … and touring the WW2 hiding-place of teenager Anne Frank (whose moving memoire of the Nazi’s reign of terror is second-only to the Bible in print-numbers and translations). We then roamed the stunning Van Gogh art museum (Van Gogh’s brightly coloured paintings include some of the most recognised masterpieces in the entire world – Sunflowers, Almond Blossoms, Irises to name just three) … visited a farm that specialised in cheese and clog-making … and, lastly, climbed aboard a glass-covered boat for a leisurely canal-cruise along tree-lined waterways, past houseboats, old crooked warehouses and steep-gabled mansions.

And that was pretty much that! Our fabulous Mad Midlife cruise was over … the “fat lady” had sung … … and the only thing left to do was catch a plane at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for Godzone or parts unknown.

We’ve had a BALL, we truly have! We’ve seen so much, done so much, learned so much, and laughed so much that we don’t know where to start! We’ll never forget our lovely long weeks in Northern Europe … and we’ll never forget each other.



PEOPLE-NEWS: One last chubby Pink Pig left the pen in Amsterdam and took up with its new owner …

  • MAX earned himself our ‘Flower Show Award’ – for walking around Amsterdam with his fly open. An unsubstantiated rumour has it that, as he passed by a Dutch florist, a lady rushed out and offered Max five Euros for his dried arrangement.

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. Our upcoming 2019 TOURS are filling nicely, but there’s still room for you. Why don’t you join us?

  • in March 2019 we’re off to Vietnam & Cambodia for a tour plus luxury river-cruise: MIDLIFE MADNESS ON THE MEKONG – ending at the fabulous temples of Angkor Wat.
  • in May 2019 we’ll enjoy a grand top-of-the-line tour through the historic lands of flamenco paella, sangria and tapas: MIDLIFE MADNESS IN SPAIN & PORTUGAL
  • in Sept 2019 we’ve scheduled a train-ride through the spectacular Canadian Rockies and a luxury cruise up the glacier-clad shores of Alaska: MIDLIFE MADNESS IN ALASKA

For more details and a free Tour InfoPack, phone Glen (our bookings manager at House of Travel Ellerslie) on 0800 323 333 … or email

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Hi Coons … We soooooo loved our time in Amsterdam too… what a great place with such interesting and diverse cultural and scenery delights. What an amazing trip you’ve had.
    Thanks again for letting us walk this trip with you albeit vicariously through your awesome pix and entertaining dialogue. Love and hugz The Kerks xx

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