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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Using CHIP and PIN Credit Cards and ApplePay in Europe

In Europe credit cards use CHIP and PIN. In the US, most credit cards use CHIP only. No PIN. This article can show you which cards support both CHIP and PIN.

Credit Card Insider: Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards in the USA.

Since I have a CHIP only card, when I tried to use it in Amsterdam, I was required to show my license and give a signature. Lame.

When I was in Germany, at the checkout, I said I wanted to pay with a CARD, and then used my iPhone to pay with ApplePay. That worked 95% of the time and made payments seamless. I tied my ApplePay to a credit card without foreign transaction fees.

Note: When the vendor asks if you want to have them convert the transaction from EURO to US DOLLARS, say NO, because their foreign transaction fees will be high, and your credit card without foreign transaction fees will take care of it.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 14 and 15 Budapest, Hungary

Final evening view from our stateroom.

Final morning view from our stateroom.

Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 12 and 13 Vienna, Austria

Found the Apple Store. Fast internet!

Mak Vienna was a great modern museum. Fun to visit.

The subway system was very easy to navigate. We paid for a 24-hour ticket which let us get on and off as much as we wanted.

You pay for the ticket, and the first time you use it, you get it validated with a time stamp in a blue box. From then on, it's the honor system to get on and off the trains. You might be randomly checked to see if you have a valid ticket. It's a very nice system.

Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 11 Melk, Austria

Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 10 Passau, Germany

Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 9 Regensburg, Germany

Shopped in a cute supermarket.

This museum and beer hall was not open yet, but should be when you visit.


Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 8 Nuremberg, Germany

Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 7 Bamberg, Germany


Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 6 Würzburg, Germany

Wine on the bridge.


Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 5 Miltenberg, Germany


Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 4 Koblenz, Germany and Marksburg Castle


Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 3 Cologne, Germany

Sion Brauhaus:

Cologne love lock bridge:


Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 2 Kinderdijk, The Netherlands

Kinderdijk, The Netherlands

This morning we sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. Learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, and enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return on board for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and take in a culturally enriching presentation on the Dutch Golden Age. We cruise through the night.

Included shore excursion:

See the picturesque Dutch countryside and the original technological marvels of historic Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will walk with your guide into the serene polder lands of South Holland. As you cross the dike to the windmills, you will notice that they in fact are at a lower elevation than your ship, as much of this part of The Netherlands is below sea level. Built in the mid-18th century, these 19 windmills, the largest concentration in The Netherlands, stand like sentinels on a hushed landscape. You will learn why they were built and see firsthand how they work, even stepping into a working windmill to observe its mechanics and living quarters. Families who live in these mills are required to keep them in working order. This excursion provides a revealing look at these marvelous buildings that helped shape the legendary Dutch landscape.

As we sailed into Kinderdijk, we caught a glimpse of our first windmill from our stateroom. Exciting.


Viking Grand European Tour River Cruise - DAY 1 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship.* After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Rijksmuseum, or the Van Gogh Museum next door.

* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.

Getting There
Although transfers are included, we missed the transfer agent. Possibly it was because we did not check our bags, although we did go to baggage claim. We then went to the meeting area at the front of the airport where other tour companies were, but no Viking representatives were there.

We ended up taking the train ourselves, from the airport to Central Station via train. Direct. It cost 11 Euros.

First, I tried to use the automated ticket machine, but it gave me an error. That's because I was trying to use a credit card from the US that does not support CHIP and PIN. It was a CHIP, but no PIN code that can be used on automated machines in Europe.

So I had to go to the ticket counter.

Me: Do you accept Apple Pay?

Her: You want to pay with Apples?

Me: Yes!

Her: We only accept European money here, we do not accept Apples!

I paid with a 20 Euro and we go our tickets, headed to the track, and shortly boarded our train to a non-stop trip to Central Station.

Our ship, Tir, was close by.

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Sunny in Amsterdam. Herengracht Centrum.

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Best Beer Bar in Amsterdam
Proeflokaal Arendsnest
Herengracht 90 (3,456.28 mi)
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1015 BS