A Travellerspoint blog

Netherlands

Bikes, Bikes, and more Bikes

Our favorite bike pics and videos in the Netherlands

We thought this post would just be some great pics of the bicycles that we saw while in Amsterdam, and a little video that we made to give you a taste of what it is like to ride in Amsterdam.

Don't forget where you parked!
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Bike lanes down the middle of the road
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We love bikes too!!
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The low-profile green rental bike (green color used to warn the locals)
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Bike highway signage
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Riding through parks
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And our little video of riding the streets of downtown Amsterdam

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 06:50 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Dutch Cuisine, Netherlands

Unusual yet tasty foods

With the help of our Dutch friends, we sampled an abundance of new foods in the Netherlands! We wanted to share just a few of our favorites.

Snacks – not to be confused with ‘a snack,’ this is probably the most unique food to the Dutch mainly because of the way that you purchase a “snack.” It is even faster than fast food joints! The snacks are behind little windows and when you put enough money into the slot, you are allowed to open the window and retrieve your snack. It is like a vending machine for hot food. Snacks come in all different colors, shapes, sizes, and with different fillings – and all are deep fried. Our favorite snack was Bami – which was made of noodles.
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Stroop Waffles – these are delicious mini waffle like cookies that were invented in the town of Gouda. A single waffle is cooked and then sliced in half while it’s still hot and then a caramel syrup sauce is spread in the middle.
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Fries with “Special Sauce” – the Dutch love their ‘french fries’ and there are plenty of shops that sell only fries. The real treat is in the “special sauce” which is mayonnaise, curry, and raw onions. They also have an amazing contraption that forms mashed potatoes into long tubes that are then deep fried and topped with thick peanut sauce – these look like just like regular fries but have an entirely different taste!
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Filet American – we are not entirely sure why this is termed ‘American’ as there is NO WAY anyone in the USA eats this. The spread is made from raw beef… yes, RAW beef. It is bright red, and contains beef, tomatoes, onions.
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Raw Herring – the Netherlands has a lot of seafood, as they are close to the sea. One of the favorites is the herring, which has to be eaten in a proper fashion – by picking the raw fish up by its tail, tipping your head back, and eating it. Usually there are some raw onions on the fish. It was described to us as the “Dutch Sushi”
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Hagelslag– while Americans only put chocolate sprinkles on ice cream sundaes, the Dutch sprinkle them on top of buttered toast for breakfast!
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Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 05:11 Archived in Netherlands Comments (1)

Road Trip, Netherlands

Gouda, Den Haag, Delta Works and Gorinchem

sunny 75 °F

We were absolutely in love with Gouda from the minute we arrived. It is like a very rural, small, version of Amsterdam with walking streets, canals, windmills, and cute little shops. We met up with Ralf and had a great time walking around the streets sampling stroop waffles with the kids and talking with what must have been the world’s last living clay pipe maker.
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We then headed to the coast of Holland to Den Haag, home of the international court of justice, the flame of the Peace Palace, and a fresh supply of raw herring, which the locals like to cover in oil and raw onions and then pop ‘em down the hatch!
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Den Haag is also the home of MC Escher! About 75% of his artwork is on display in what used to be the Queen’s winter palace. It was really interesting to walk through a palace turned into an art installation. The paintings were fantastic and so were all the descriptions of Escher’s different techniques.
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Our last stop in the Netherlands was in Gorinchem where we met up with our friends Dan and Sam (whom we first met in Laos, and then again in Vietnam). We had an amazing taste of real Dutch life and visited one of the 7 Wonders of the Civil Engineering World… the Delta Works. Since Holland is mostly below sea level, there is an enormous amount of energy put into keeping the country from being under water.
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As we said our goodbyes, Dan and Sam surprised us with one last Dutch tradition – the Flugal! It is a syrup like shot that must be taken while wearing the yellow cap of the bottle on your nose, if the cap falls off, you must drink another one…
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Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 07:38 Archived in Netherlands Comments (1)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A city of bikes and tolerance

sunny 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.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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!
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Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 10:41 Archived in Netherlands Comments (1)

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