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Amsterdam: the City of…

Let’s play a guessing game! (Yes, I know it’s impossible to do so, but just humour me, please?)

Here we go.

Can you guess the one word that came to my mind when Mike told me he wanted to include Amsterdam in our itinerary?

.

.

.

.

.

No, it wasn’t prostitution. Get your mind out of the gutter!

It was bicycles. No lie, I thought of bicycles first before anything else. I  contribute this to my traumatic childhood experience of being hit by a bike while trying to cross the typically narrow residential streets of Indonesia. I mean, how thick can I get, right? There I was, mindlessly crossing the street (alley), in my red and white polka-dot Minnie Mouse dress, complete with the Minnie Mouse ears my uncle had gotten me from Disneyland, when a bicycle came out of nowhere and collided with me. BAM! Just like that. All I remember from that evening are my bleeding knees and my ripped dress. But I digress.

As it turns out, Amsterdam is the best place to be for cyclists. As of 2012, there are approximately 1 million bikes, 100,000 of which get stolen and 25,000 of which end up in the canals every year.

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So, it was no surprise that we saw A LOT of bikes while we were there. It reminds me of the motorbikes in Hanoi. Everybody bikes everywhere, and rightly so, as the city is laced with extensive bike lanes with their own mini traffic lights. Furthermore, the local government actually discourages driving by charging exorbitant parking fees and implementing numerous street closures within the city centre. Toronto cyclists will be happy here!

As we wandered through the narrow alleys of city centre, I couldn’t help but notice the many bikes parked along the walls and on the railings of the canals.

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Some look like they’re brand new…

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… One is on sale…

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… One is upside down…

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… One is of the basket variety, making things easier if you need to do grocery shopping or take your kids somewhere…

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… One is motorized – a rare sight, this one! …

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… Some of them are abandoned by its owners and left to the elements. They’ll likely to rust on the side of the street, before eventually being removed…

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… And lastly, 3 of them were rented from Mac Bike and were used to explore the city by 3 kids from Canada…

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I was sworn at several times in Dutch and came close to being hit by one, but I managed to swerve and avoid any collision during my time there. HA!

When you go: 

Renting a bike is truly the best way to see the city. We rented ours from Mac Bike for 3 hours and that was more than enough. It’s hard to bike when you’re not used to it, yo! Mac Bike has many locations throughout the city, but we got ours near Centraal Station. If you stand facing the station, it is located a short walk to the right of the building. They’ll “fit” you to a bike and teach you how to work the locks and keys. Give them a try!

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2 responses »

  1. That red one hanging off the bridge is hilarious.

    Reply
  2. That sounds like so much fun!!!

    Reply

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