A city of bikes and tolerance
09.14.2012 - 11.18.2012 75 °F
The first thing we noticed when we stepped out of the airport in Amsterdam was the bike path to the airport, way cool! Once we settled into the city we faced our first big problem: where were we gonna park our bikes?! We couldn’t stop smiling at how many bikes there were and in our stunned state almost got run over. There were kids, grandmothers, business men, everyone riding bikes! It was such a cool feeling, like being in critical mass every second of the day. There were bike paths everywhere, including special lanes in roundabouts and on sidewalks sometimes making it a challenging to be a pedestrian.
We met up with Dan and Sam (whom we met in Laos and Vietnam back in March) for an Ajax football match. We arrived a little early and headed into the fan club. Everyone was totally staring at us! It turns out even amongst the white folks in Europe we still stand out in the crowd as a buncha tourists! This game was no Wednesday night A’s game. This stadium seats up to 80,000 people who all train in from every part of the country!
We only had two bikes, so we road the Dutch way (where Robin and Sam rode sitting sideways on the back racks). Needless to say, the Dutch are very skilled at this, and you will see ladies riding with the legs to one side all the time. It took us a little getting used to, but by the time we were in the heart of the red light district we were pros.
The next day we rode our Dutch Bikes north to visit Volendam and Edam. Although Edam is about 30k from Amsterdam, it only took a few kilometers to get out of the city and into the beautiful countryside. The bike network is clearly labeled with lots of maps and routes for riders to follow. We rode through farm land, small villages, and on some of the most beautiful bike paths!
The Amsterdam history museum was definitely noteworthy. It took us through why the Dutch have such tolerant laws and how they have survived the low water table by building the entire town on pylons! We loved our stay here and are looking forward to more of Holland!