BicycleDAM!

Not quite 4:00pm in Amsterdam a few days before Christmas. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
 Amsterdam a few days before Christmas. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

Look out! Don’t cross yet! Watch out for the scooter! These phrases peppered our trip to Amsterdam. The bicyclists and the sheer number of bicycles are bananas. The bicycle path is SERIOUS business. We were warned about them in every guide book and video about the city. Do not step into these lanes carelessly and be as cautious about them as cars when crossing the street. The bike lanes host motorized scooters in many variations as well and everyone is keeping speed.

Crooked buildings in a crooked town. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Crooked buildings in a crooked town. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

I think it’s great that so many people commute by bike. It’s interesting to see what it looks like when bicycles outnumber cars four to one in a city. Parking for bikes seems to be a problem. They crowd most sidewalks in front of stores and on residential streets. Small children ride seated with parents on the bike either front, back or in a covered cargo bin on special bikes. I didn’t see many under ten pedaling in the lanes. Fun fact: They say that they pull out 12,000 to 15,000 bikes from the canals every year.

Wet selfie of Andreas and the Author in Amsterdam. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Wet selfie of Andreas and the Author in Amsterdam. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

Andreas and I met my brother and his family in Amsterdam for the beginning of an eleven-day trip. Amsterdam, gray and drizzly was wonderful.

Swinging in the rain... Uncle Andreas, Auntie Fly and shorter nephew take a much needed museum break in Vondel Park Amsterdam. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Swinging in the rain… Uncle Andreas, Auntie Fly and shorter nephew take a much needed museum break in Vondel Park Amsterdam. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

I loved the canals, the tall crooked houses and the friendly, English speaking people. It was a nice break from Bremerhaven, Germany to be able to speak English with someone and not feel embarrassed about it. We stayed in an Airbnb with steep staircases, a little kitchen and giggling neighbors in the next house over; twenty minutes walking distance from my brother’s hotel.

My brother's wife can knit anywhere. Here she is in a giant chair in their hotel lobby. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
My sister-in-law can knit anywhere. Here she is in a giant chair in their hotel lobby. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

Thank God Andreas has a good sense of direction. I was always pointing the wrong way.

We walked past this awesome cheese shop. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
We walked past this awesome cheese shop. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

The six of us toured the city and the art museums. My brother’s family saw many more museums than we did for the kids. Andreas and I are pretty content to sit in a coffee shop and people watch. We did visit the Rijksmuseum which I loved. It wasn’t very crowded and there were some wonderful portraits.

Stained glass in the Rijksmuseum. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Stained glass in the Rijksmuseum. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
A favorite painting from the Rijksmuseum.
A favorite painting from the Rijksmuseum.
The Rijksmuseum also has some wonderful doll houses.
The Rijksmuseum also has some wonderful doll houses.

The Van Gogh Museum was lovely too but very crowded. I did enjoy seeing so much of his work in one space. I came away with a new feeling about the paintings.

Peeking over the crowds at the Van Gogh Museum.
Peeking over the crowds at the Van Gogh Museum.

Andreas and I travel differently. I’m used to traveling with some bread and cheese in my backpack, a couple of candy bars and bottle of water. He finds the best coffee and has it ground for the Airbnb, he likes nice restaurants and orders what he doesn’t know how to cook himself and wine. In the morning we look for bakeries and eat fresh bread and pastry. We stay in safe, clean places. I definitely prefer this type of travel. Ha ha.

Nephews entertaining themselves in a cafe' with a rousing game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Batman, Bunny Foo Foo. It's their own creation. Bunny Foo Foo trumps. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Nephews entertaining themselves in a cafe’ with a rousing game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Batman, Bunny Foo Foo. It’s their own creation. Bunny Foo Foo trumps. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
The finer restaurants have swings. Or should have for nephews. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
The finer restaurants have swings. Or should have for nephews. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

The experience in the city was a little overwhelming at times but wonderful especially before Christmas. Get to Amsterdam, it’s unlike any city I’ve visited.

Appreciating the architecture. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Appreciating the architecture in Amsterdam. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

 

 

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