A Travellerspoint blog

September 2014


Where everything is fine as long as you don't hurt anyone

So we have just spent the last four days in Amsterdam. Another place where Lewis claims...I could live here. lol
Its been a nice amount of downtime for us after a hectic Paris week.
Our time in Amsterdam has been spent getting to know Amsterdam and our lovely hosts in our AirBnB accommodation, Hendra and Sid.
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We arrived in Amsterdam after taking a first class train from Paris. We both decided we could get use to first class (free wifi, free food, large comfy seats and plenty of space).
The great thing about Amsterdam is that it is small enough to walk around to everywhere and most places were a 15-20min walk. It is a very condensed city especially compared to Paris and Auckland. We have spent most of our time exploring the canals through the day and at night. The canals are beautiful (and no they don't smell...apparently I have that to look forward to in Venice).
Everyone bikes here...I was amazed when I got off the train and saw how many bikes were in front of central stations (100's). Biking is the way everyone gets around here and due to everything being so close I can understand why. It is faster than any other form of transport here and bikers tend to have their own lane and/or right of way on the road. It can make it pretty crazy to cross the road.
We have found that Amsterdam definitely has its American side (american chain stores - clothes and food) as well as a more authentic side. Both seem to merge nicely in this busy city. Amsterdam understands it's tourist market and definitely accommodates it well. It seems everyone makes allowances for tourists here.

We have tried not to walk too much in Amsterdam (Lewis has hurt his knee and I have had massive blisters from my shoes..Yay! Not!) Though we did still explore a large amount of it.
One of our first discoveries was the traditional market which has a little of everything including Lewis' favourite fresh WAFFLES (he nearly had waffles daily!).
We decided to do a free red light tour which was enlightening.. to say the least. We learnt about the different sections of the district and that it only had a 1km radius. It was interesting how it mixed with police headquarters then crazy sex shops, preschool near still used windows (where prostitutes promote themselves). The tour was a great way of us seeing around this famous area of Amsterdam without getting lost or turning down the wrong street.
The next day we went on a bike tour of the countryside to see a slightly different side of the Amsterdam landscape and of course to get on some bikes. We biked about 30km all up (over 5 hours) and mostly on the flat so it wasn't too exhausting. It was amazing to see how much the country side changed so abruptly on the way out of Amsterdam.
We biked out to the east and saw one of the only windmills near Amsterdam (no longer in use but in great condition) and then went to a slightly crazy (well bonkers really) farmer who made dutch cheese and clogs. The whole process was explained. Cheese was tasted and no clogs were brought (we have to carry everything we buy and our packs are heavy enough!).
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It was interesting to see the process and how passionate he was about his product. Our bike tour was great and Stuart our guide even made bubbles as we biked along the straights just to make the Dutch country side even more magical. We learnt a lot about how the Dutch control the water in Amsterdam and how they have had issues in the past. We went through the major parks in Amsterdam and through the Museum quarter. The day was a great way to get a bearing of Amsterdam and some of it's nature as well as learn a little about it's history and its current water issues.

That night we had the best Thai we both had ever had. It was amazing! (If you want Thai in Amsterdam go to Bird but the snack side not the restaurant) from the Chinatown area. On the way home twilight on the canals was amazing and a beautiful end to the day. The canals are magical at this time of night. Lewis discovered a new type of tripod at the canals...a bike back carrier. (Good old Kiwi Ingenuity)

Today has been a day of getting odds and ends sorted really. We also made it slightly North of Amsterdam to the eye film museum. The basement in that place is awesome! It has lots of interactive displays to illustrate old film techniques and keys concepts of films.

Our AirBnb here in Amsterdam has been amazing. Our apartment is central and great. They are a lovely and interesting. We have had numerous great chats.

Tomorrow we head to Cologne at 7am so an early night for us tonight.

Posted by chellebelle 12:57 Archived in Netherlands Tagged amsterdam bike cheese clogs redlight airbnb Comments (2)

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