Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Welkom in Amsterdam!

By, Jan Ross

You know what? There are no overweight people in Amsterdam. At least, none that we saw in our journeying around today. That's probably because virtually everyone in Amsterdam rides a bicycle. There are approximately 750,000 people living in Amsterdam and over 1,000,000 bicycles. We saw people of every age merrily riding their bikes, even on the first day we arrived when it was cold and rainy. Didn't seem to bother them at all. Many had children on their bikes and some had other items - we even saw one young woman bicycling along, balancing a large cake box in one hand!

Well, look at this! We saw this when we came out of the Central Station and proceeded to call it a typical "Dutch parking garage"! Dozens of people were leaving their bikes and heading to work and school.

Seriously, have you ever seen so many bikes?

Our first day, we had to decide how we wanted to see this beautiful city. We had taken the train from the airport, but we were not really interested in touring by train or bus; we wanted something more interesting. Then we realized that Amsterdam is called the "Venice of the North" for a reason - we needed to see the city from its scenic canals. We did some research and decided the Canal Company was our best option. There are several companies that offer canal cruises, but we liked this one because they offer several different routes and you can "hop off and hop back on" whenever you want. We bought 48-hour passes, cruised on two routes today and plan to do the other two tomorrow.

If you are ever in Amsterdam I really recommend this. The boats are warm, clean, comfortable, on time and it is truly a great way to see the city. They stop at a variety of places but, luckily for us, one of the stops was right in the canal in front of the Movenpick hotel, where we were staying.

We bought our tickets from the concierge at the hotel, boarded our boat and set sail! And one of the first things we saw was this. And we knew we were really in Holland.

A windmill by a canal. Can you get more Dutch than this? I don't think so.

We sailed under bridges...

And by dozens of houseboats...

and I have to add that the people of Amsterdam seem to be a pretty easy-going bunch. We cruised by one houseboat where an attractive blonde woman was casually sauntering around in her black underwear with the curtains wide open. She casually glanced over as we cruised by, apparently not at all concerned that a boatload of tourists could see near half naked.

We cruised along the canals and the river Amstel, for which Amsterdam is named...

and saw the gorgeous houses that line the canals. Then we had a traditional Dutch lunch. Oh, I kid. We actually ate here.

Oh, yes we did.

But then we strolled along here. Just to remind ourselves that we are actually in Amsterdam.

We have one more day in Amsterdam before we embark on our fabulous wine-tasting cruise with AmaWaterways. And, as much as we are enjoying Amsterdam, we can't wait for the cruise to begin!

When you are ready to travel to Amsterdam The Travel Authority is ready to help you plan that trip. You can call 1-877-AXP-1515 for information and details about these cruises. Be sure to print out this post or mention the code BLAMA to get the best deal on your trip. I would love to hear your suggestions for future blog posts. You can comment below or contact me by email at Thanks for reading - I truly appreciate it!

Safe travel!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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