We woke up kind of late, as we were all a bit tired, we had gone to bed late, and we had gone forward a timezone.
We wandered off down the canals until we found a Lidl supermarket, where we bought many yummy things, and went back to eat breakfast. Pastries, cheese, bread and butter. The best sultana bread rolls I’ve ever had.
After breakfast we headed, wandered through town, enjoyed some canals, and watched one of the bridges go up and down, including pigeons getting almost stuck in them. We ended up at Max’s Bikes, where we rented 4 bikes for the weekend. They are much like all the other Amsterdam bikes, they are upright, one gear, and pedal brakes. We spent the day biking around, enjoying the not rain.
We went to Vondelpark, which is a lovely green park. Apparently, Central Park, in NYC, was based on this park. It was pretty, we saw some herons, and we found a bunch of green parakeets, who were flapping around, and arguing over who got to sit in the hole in the tree. Dale and I found an adventure playground where we clambered and climbed, and then watched the local doggies run and bark. Lots of people wandering through, and spring flowers were poking up everywhere. Mostly bluebells and daffodils though, and not many tulips yet.
After the park, we visited our first windmill. Though it no longer looks like they use it, is a bit run down. Pretty, nonetheless.
We headed into the main part of Amsterdam city, to Dam Square. So many bikes. It was a little intimidating, especially if you are not used to pedal brakes and driving on the right hand side. There were a million people on bikes, and all the locals are fast and zippy; where we would stop and look both ways, they would just continue at the same pace, and zip across the road between traffic.
There were also a few cars, mostly taxis, and a millions tourist pedestrians, all walking, meandering, and stopping in random places. Very exciting.
It seems the best way to bike around is to act like the locals do – ring your bell a lot, and zip through all the people. Don’t bother to wait for the pedestrians, just go around them. Be confident, and just keep biking.
Biking was good, we got to cover a large area in a shorter time. When it wasn’t too busy, it was very pleasant to pootle down the little cobbled streets. It was very busy at dam square, a million bikes, and probably that many people. Another billboard sign, warning everyone not to buy cocaine from people on the street, as a few tourists have died from being sold white heroin instead, without knowing.
When people used to move into buildings, they would use a rope pulley over a hook at the top of the building. Most buildings seem to still have them. This is because the staircases in most canal houses are too steep and narrow to get anything up. Nowdays, it seems they use a platform conveyer belt thing.
Rain didn’t dampen biking much, everyone still seemed to be out. Quite a range of people: old guys with long white hair, middle aged and younger, going to the supermarket or park, parents with a kid in a seat on both the front and the back, many with a simple crate tied on the front, for carrying anything from bread and groceries, to the family dog, who sits peacefully, watching the world zip by.
Later on, people in their work clothes, people in nice dresses and heels, heading out for dinner.
Also, nobody in Amsterdam wears helmets!