Happy Sunday! It’s a glorious day here in Amsterdam.
Ding dong, ding dong….. on Sundays the nearby church’s carillon rings every 15 minutes. Now that’s commitment to one’s religion. We still slept quite soundly though.
After a glorious breakfast …. (I overstate myself). It was good. By now, the reader knows what we ate.
Helen & I headed off on our first “unmonitored” fiets excursion — only because Marc was still sleeping
Amsterdam is extremely cycle-friendly. There are dedicated bike lanes along all major arteries. Plus, bikes rule. Really, they do! Cars & pedestrians (to some degree) must yield to bikes. This creates an interesting scenario where (some) cyclists appear to be a bit cocky (not us!).
The conundrum happens when you get to any intersection as it is sometimes difficult to figure out who has the right of way. I saw some intersections where the signals were red, but cyclists continued through anyways. These are the more seasoned Amsterdamers (Amsterdamites?). Things just flow, with cyclists merging with others. Sort of like what you saw in my Hanoi cycling video. Marc explained it as being more about anticipating what will happen ahead of you.
It all worked out quite well as Helen & I adapted quickly and were soon looking like locals (Not!). This theory was proven almost immediately when we were approached by some hapless tourist (aren’t I bold!) asking me for directions to his hotel. Luckily I had just exited the VVV (Dutch tourist office) at the train station and am pretty good at picking up on important things on maps. I was actually able to guide him to the ferry behind the main railway station and give rudimentary directions to his hotel. I hope he enjoys Copenhagen (oops).
Author’s Note: There is a VVV (Dutch Tourist office) in every major town. They are easy to find and everyone knows where they are. The people who work there are pros and take great pride in knowing their area. You can book everything from tours through to hotels (small service charge). So, if you come here, use the VVV.
Apart from a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, the rest of our day was spent riding around Amsterdam aimlessly. I only had a basic map of the city. But it didn’t matter as sooner or later a recognizable point would surface and we would be back on track. Remember, you can ride absolutely everywhere on your fiets in this charming city.
Our day ended with a wonderful Thai dinner with Marc and a celebratory beer at one of his (many) favourite haunts.
Some pics for our day – followed by a Flickr slideshow of some of Helen’s more favorite shots (when we get a faster Internet connection!).
…. and in case you haven’t seen enough!
Read, comment & enjoy!