Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunny Amsterdam

Is there a medical term for a sore butt from cycling? Whatever it is, it kept me up last night. So despite being ensconced in a friend's lovely appartment in Amsterdam, I didn't sleep that well last night. On the other hand, I didn't have an alarm waking me up either, so there's that. But a lazy morning was definitely in order. We finally got out of the appartment just south of 1 pm to a gorgeous sunny Amsterdam day. I'm going to go ahead and assume that this not-a-cloud-in-the-sky weather is typical. Because I'm optimistic like that. 

We hopped on a tram and bought a 1-day transit pass that turned out to be a great deal, since the trams in Amsterdam, even on a Sunday, seem to run very frequently. We spent a few hours exploring the city: the Royal Palace and Nieuwe Kerk (which nevertheless dates from the 15th century), the Begijnhof, the flower market and a few other places. The nice weather apparently lured every single person in Amsterdam into the streets, because it felt like mid-summer as far as tourist crowds go. All the brasserie terraces were chock full. A little overwhelming after the past week of small, quiet South Holland towns. 

Google then led us to a nice craft beer bar that served only Dutch craft beers. The Proeflokaal Arendsnest is impressive but expensive. E8.50 for two 25cl glasses of standard draft is pretty steep, even for craft beer. 

Still, it was nice to sit by the Herengract and watch all the boats go by. 

Then it was on to the train station to find out about getting the train to Bruges next week. The Belgian train operators may go on strike next Wednesday (which the Dutch woman at the ticket counter seemed to find both funny and exasperating), so we may delay our departure to Thursday. 

Even after over a week in Holland, the bicycle culture here continues to amaze me. It's truly a model that North America should follow. To see this huge bicycle parking lot at the train station is mind blowing. 

Then in was home to do a few groceries, cook supper and do some more relaxing. Tomorrow, if the weather cooperates, we plan to cycle the Waterland area northeast of Amsterdam. 

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