Amsterdam: Part 1

red light canalThe city of Amsterdam is just about as different from any city in the United States as you can possibly imagine. Bikes are everyday transportation for the masses. Canals form a network of waterways for boats and also confound straight  line navigation. Trams wind through the city every few minutes from every direction going everywhere. It’s laced with twisty and narrow streets, few cars, and has buildings that date from many centuries ago.

red light windows

You can window shop for hookers, buy pot in a coffee shop, and ride a bike from any point in the city to any other easily and safely on a separate bike lane. Did I mention that Amsterdam was selected the most bicycle friendly city in the world last year? Any one of these makes it a far different place than US cities, but Amsterdam has them all! We chose Amsterdam as a destination because of the very strong bicycle culture. We were not disappointed.

Bikes & Canals

The absolute first thing we noticed were the bikes. Bikes are EVERYWHERE! Notice the capitals. EVERYWHERE! Amsterdam has been in the news recently for the difficulty in parking all those bikes. Sidewalks, posts, fences, street sign all have a bike locked up to it. I don’t think it’s possible to be standing anywhere in the city and not be within 30 feet of a bike. When I think of Amsterdam, I’ll think about many things, but I’ll remember bicycles EVERYWHERE!

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