As the title of this post suggests, my day in Amsterdam was made up solely of riding my bike around this wonderful city. Admittedly, this is not what I had planned, but I blame over ambition and being surrounded by such a fantastic bike culture.
I stayed with an airbnb host while in Amsterdam, whose house is in a smaller suburb Zaandam about 12kms away from the centre. My host was kind enough to have a (rather dingy looking) old bike that I could use while staying with her, so I took it upon myself to ride into the city centre, because a) I wanted to see why everyone loves bike riding here, and b) to save myself the 7.50 euro train ticket. Turns out it was a lovely ride, and I only felt lost three times.
As soon as I arrived in the city I headed over to Mike’s Bike tours. Yes, I spent an hour riding into the city then decided to go on a three hour bike tour. I am slightly insane.
Our tour guide basically fulfilled the image of middle-aged-ex-rockstar-hippy, which he wore proudly. He used to in a band in England, but now spends the six summer months doing these tours in Amsterdam, before spending the remainder of the year being a “professional” hitch-hiker and “professional” street musician – his words!
I seem to have still not mastered the art of taking decent photos on my camera, despite it being a point and shoot! I’ll get there eventually.
A Picasso sculpture in Vondle Park. In Dutch, the park is actually pronounced “fondle”. It is also legal to have sex in this park after dark. I wonder if the Dutch area aware of this irony.
Here, our tour is grouped together out the front of the “Old Church” in “Old Church Square” (the Dutch are very literal in naming something, even the name “Amsterdam” means dam on the river Amstel). This church, believe it or not, is right in the middle of the Red Light District. Behind us a lovely lady was displaying her behind from her room. You aren’t allowed to take photos in the area, so let’s just leave Amsterdam’s infamous area to the imagination.
After all the riding, it was time for a pit stop at a brewery in the below windmill.
I went on a Mike’s Bikes tour when I was in Munich and loved it, but I have to say I was a bit disappointed in this one. It was great to just ride around and experience the phenomenon of Amsterdam’s bike culture, but I felt like that was all we did for the whole tour. In Munich we stopped a lot and the guide informed us about significant buildings and the history of the city. We hardly did this in Amsterdam (hence my lack of interesting photos). The tour also ran at lunch time, and we didn’t stop for lunch. I was desperate for something to eat afterwards, so I caved and bought some of the famous fries:
My body says no, but whatever, I’m in Amsterdam.
The oddly phallic shaped town monument, just in front of the Red Light District. Ironic, yet again Amsterdam.
I wandered around the city for a couple more hours before making my way back to Zaandam. More riding! The trip involves catching a ferry, which was a bit of a novelty to me.
I must say, I am completely in love with the bike culture of this city. EVERYONE rides their bike, from kids, to business men, to families, to old ladies, to classy women in high heels. It’s fantastic, cars give way to bikes! The complete opposite of Melbourne.