Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hans Brinker and the Silver 10-Speed

I have never seen so many bicycles in my life as in Amsterdam. The Dutch must be in great shape - at least their leg muscles and lungs - because it seems at least half or more of them are cycling to and from work and everywhere else.

The photo is of a bike 'parking lot' near 'The Eye' inner harbor near Central Station where the ferry boats, trains, trams and buses all converge. There must be at least 1000 bikes in this 100x50-foot area, and there are a number of these lots all around downtown Amsterdam.

As you walk around the city, it's not enough to watch for cars, trucks, etc. as you cross the street. You need to be cautious - on both sides of the street - for a near-constant stream of cyclists as well as mopeds and motorcycles, which are apparently allowed to use the bike lanes.

When in Argeles, our main home, I'm thinking of getting a two-seat moped so we can pop over to Spain or up to Perpignan or up into the mountains without renting a car. Donna-Lane spotted a Barbie-pink Vespa yesterday on our way back from the canal cruise, but I'm leaning to bright red.

Amsterdam is a marvelous place. We are wondering if we might do some house-sitting here for someone for a couple of weeks or three. I had been here 3-4 times on business previously but never saw much more than the airport, hotel and conference rooms. So yesterday's no-agenda exploring was a great way to soak up both the sunshine and the culture.

We met up with D-L's cousin Sandy and her professional photographer husband Kevin, who were over from Cape Cod on a working vacation. Gorgeous sunny day, so we did the hop on / hop off canal boat tour, enjoying the variety of old world and euro modern architecture, the people along the canals who were finally getting a break in the weather (including a 'Hi Mom' from the female boat driver as we drifted past her mother's balcony).

Took a bunch of photos, the better ones of which are on my Facebook page -- rick.adams.39589.

Had some good food and drink along the way, topped off with pizza milanese last night (since we had gone to Milano last week and never once had pizza nor spaghetti sauce).

Gonna check out one of the dozens of museums in the area this morning - Sandy and Kevin chose a great little hotel right on the edge of the museum district and the Vondelpark - then EasyJet back to Geneva.

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