Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Bikes n Boats

We were in Amsterdam (a lifetime spent saying it wrong, as they pronounce it Um-ster-dum) for 30 hours and and bikes and boats was the theme of this city for us.

After a very early morning start in Bern, Switzerland)  we caught the 6:00 am train to Zurich, the 9:20 am flight to Amsterdam and arrived close to midday. Our immediate destination was the Avalon cruise boat, Expression, 135 metres long and to be our home for the next two weeks.  Once we got our arrival registered and our baggage stored we set off to explore for four hours.

On our drive into the city from the airport we noticed the prevalence of bikes and how their riders appear to have no regard for the traffic trying to flow around them, but my first step out onto a footpath nearly resulted in me being flattened by a bike that wasn’t stopping for anyone.  No-one wears bike helmets, and the bike paths are co-shared by bicycles (many, many huckery old bikes), motor bikes, people on mobility scooters and the odd skateboard variation. 

I loved seeing the families on a bike with a big tub that 2-4 little kids were perched in. We were told that this city of 700,00 people has 1 million bikes. We were fascinated by the well organised bike parks where bikes were able to be stacked several layers deep - and the way people seemed to be able to locate them again!

The keen bike rider in our travelling team got himself a bike (our canal boat has a few for folk to use) and went for a long ride the next day, catching the ferry across to the North Shore and seeing the sights like a local. That's him waiting for the ferry in the photo at the top of this post.
I went for a 6km jog/walk along the canal front and saw a few sites of my own that I may get around to writing about.

The boats in this city range from tiny wee tubs to vessels heading for the ocean and everything in between. Our boat is very comfortable and we spent the first night on it still docked in Amsterdam, so it was at least 24 hours before we got to experience it moving anywhere! On the second day we were all taken on a city tour on small canal boats and were wowed by the variety of house boats we past as we travelled the streets of Amsterdam by water.

I guess having two weeks ahead of us living on a boat will lend itself to a few more posts about things nautical….

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