I arrived in Amsterdam around 2.00pm (local time), about 24 hours after leaving Brisbane, and I was very tired. After a brisk walk and then a shower, to get the blood circulating and freshen up, I headed down to the restaurant near the boutique style hotel right near the central station to have a meal and people-watch. It is a very busy, huge intersection adjacent to the station, with buses, tourist coaches, trams and traffic – and bikes! Thousands of bikes whizzing past – no ‘one metre’ rule here! No helmets, no lycra, no rules about mobile phones! Everyone rides a bike – their dogs ride in the basket; children, grandparents and everyone in between. I saw one woman with a dog in the basket on the handlebars, with two kids on their own bikes alongside – in peak hour traffic. And all sorts of bikes. Not ‘top of the range’ racing bikes, but everyday bikes. No doubt there are accidents, but it seemed to be some sort of orderly chaos. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing. And the motor scooters share the same lanes as the push bikes.
The weather is mild and cloudy, with long evenings. A few sprinkles of rain. Tomorrow I’m going to go on the ‘hop on hop off’ bus to explore the city and then go to Anne Franks’ house and the Jewish museum. I might even fit in a canal tour.
It was very pleasant sitting with a nice merlot, soaking up the vibe of the city. It feels casual, and has a vibrancy about it. The ethnic/racial diversity is quite amazing too. Tomorrow I’ll take the camera and capture some of the interesting architecture of the city.