Hello there! It’s been a while, I know. But this is a vacation, therefore I have been avoiding the computer. But I have to tell you about Amsterdam!
Knowing what everyone knows about Amsterdam – the Red Light district, readily-available weed and other mind altering substances – I had imagined a seedy city full of drug dealers, prostitutes, and tourists showcasing the worst side of America.
Happily, I was waaay off!
Amsterdam is the most cheerful and cute city I have ever been in. The first thing that struck me, and Katherine made our way out of the train station, were the trams that cheerfully ding-dinged as they made their way about the city. They were much more comfortable than the lumbering, groaning, exhaust-emitting buses in other cities. Though sometimes I thought they might cheerfully run over pedestrians or cyclists.
The next was the bikes. Bikes everywhere! Bikes in their own bike lane, physically separated from the road by a curb, parking lots of bikes, herds of bikes, seas of bikes stretching away toward the horizon.
Fashionable young women on bikes, old men on bikes, mothers on bikes with a little baby in front and a toddler on the back.
I’ve found that while it is much too easy to look like a grumpy-face while you wait at a stoplight in your car, no one can look grumpy while they sit atop a bike, legs pumping up and down at odd angles, grocery shopping in colorful saddle bags behind them. So cute!
We even stayed at the Bicycle Hostel/Hotel, where you can rent a bike to take around the city. It was cheap, yet clean and welcoming. I totally recommend it.
Amsterdam itself was a charmer too. The houses that line the canal are like wedding cakes with pretty molding and embellishments. The Rijksmuseum, even while under renovation, has a beautiful collection of artwork worth seeing.
Of course, we also went out to some of the clubs, which -if you are cute- will tempt you in with free drinks. We didn’t partake in the drug scene, so I can’t testify to that. But we did stay out until 3 in the morning, and made quite a few friends.
Also, the Heineken experience, though cheesy, it pretty f-ing cool. Above is a picture of prototypes of a bottle that would have a second life as bricks. Pretty, pretty cool, right? It never went into production. Why not??
All in all, a lovely trip. I wish we could have stayed longer! But I was heading on to Berlin, which I will write about later, when Katherine isn’t telling me to get off the computer and get in the shower. (I still smell like the club last night…ew.)