Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Holiday: Amsterdam Style!

Amsterdam:  tulips, wooden shoes, nearly as many bicycles as residents, legalized prostitution, and "coffee shops" that don't actually serve coffee.  Why wouldn't we spend the three-day Easter holiday weekend walking among thousands of blooming tulips, watch a Dutch craftsman make a pair of wooden shoes, wander among prostitutes idly standing by in red-lit window displays, and marvel at all the marijuana-smoking tourists frequenting the "coffee shops"??  We couldn't think of any reasons, either.  

Our first stop was Keukenhof Park, a wooded area along the coast where thousands of tulips blossom between late March and late May.  The quantity, color, and variety of tulips was surreal.
Tulips to be harvested
Work it, girl!
Brilliant
Not quite "Blue Steel".  Not even close.
Make a wish!
Wait, what?  You want me to smell what?  Oh yeah, those...
Jagged edges?!  What the?
Following the morning at Keukenhof, we spent the afternoon wandering around Amsterdam, trying not to get run down by beach cruisers or scooters driving in bike lanes.  Several people came to the rescue of a wayward swan.  I don't think a tourist would have been as lucky.
That way to the canal!
Cyclists dominate the city.  Nearly 40% of all commutes in Amsterdam are by bike.  Not surprisingly, bicycles are parked everywhere. 

I think mine is the black one.  Oh wait, almost all of them are black...
We saw bikes with baby seats fashioned to the front and to the rear, bikes with saddle bags, and a bike with a Heineken basket.  Now only if the Heineken basket kept the beer cold, they'd really be on to something:

Not willing to forgo the quintessential Amsterdam experience -- navigating the city & surrounding countryside by bike -- Lisa and I went on a four-hour bike tour.
The snapshot in front of a windmill:
Followed by a tour of a small farm that makes cheese and wooden shoes:
"I like cheese."
"I like cheese, too."
Lisa:  "Me?  Or the wooden shoes?"   Me:  "I like the shoes, but I like you more."
Our bicycle tour guide told us that the weather in Amsterdam, especially in spring and summer, can shift from sunny & warm to stormy & rainy within minutes.  Fortunately for us, we enjoyed three glorious days of sunshine and ~75F temperatures. This pretty much captures it:

2 comments:

  1. That's awesome man! Good times had by all!

    What's better: cheese, beer & a bike ride, oh and a few tulips!

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  2. Yeah, it was a stellar weekend. Fantastic city. Looking forward to your trip in June!

    ReplyDelete