Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands is a unique city for so many reasons. Aside from the aesthetic beauty of the buildings that range in date from the 16th century thru recent times, you have the canals which give the city the nickname "Venice of the North" and while I haven't been to Venice yet (but will be at the end of May!), I can understand how it gets that name.
And speaking of canals, here is our next batch of numbers. There are an amazing 165 canals with 1281 bridges that span thru the city. The canal that we stayed on, which was by the intersection of Nassaukade and Rozengracht was in a great area. Close to things that were happening, not overly touristy, in a residential area but easy walking distance to everything and most of all, away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets of the Red Light District and many of the "coffee" shops (coffee shops were everywhere but clustered quite a bit in the center of the city).
Some of the many canals we saw (and you will see MANY more pics as well!)
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to stay on a houseboat that we found while searching http://www.homelidays.com/. I'm sure you guessed it, but here are some more numbers. Did you know that there are 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam? Given that there are 165 canals, that's a lot of boats lining the canals' edge!
Outside of our houseboat
Aidan watching a movie by the windows
But I have to say, the most astonishing numbers that I found actually did not surprise me in the end. It was the bicycles. There are 600,000 bicycles for the 750,000 residents that are from 175 different countries. I have never in my life seen so many bicycles a part of every day life. I loved it!! I think it's so wonderful how the Dutch ride their bikes everywhere - not only is it good for you, but it's great for the environment. There were still a ton of cars on the road but the bicycles absolutely are a primary source of transport. There were bicycle lanes on every street and the people rode their bikes like it took no effort at all. I actually was more afraid of getting hit by a bike than I am about getting hit by a moped in Barcelona (the largest population of mopeds in the world are here)!
Some pics of day 1:
Liam LOVES flying and is always fascinated with what is going on outside... I think he's all Josh here!
Speaking of by the numbers...how many countries can we eat McDonalds or Burger King in?? Answer - too many!
Home of Amstel Beer (not this particular bar, but the city)
Westerkerk Church near the Anne Frank House - this is the tallest church in Amsterdam and was built in the 1630s.
Yumm.... herring... (insert sarcasm here)
Yummy pancakes / crepes here that a friend recommended
Liam has not been visiting the smoke shops - this is just his natural reaction to chocolate milk!
Josh and Liam at Sara's Pancake House
Yes, this is the "pancake" - huge!!! And delish!
Must have sunglasses!
The "Dam" which is also in the city center
One of many "coffee" shops in the city
One of many flower booths
And of course pot seed booths!
The Royal Palace
This was the coolest thing and you could only find it in a city like Amsterdam - literally a bar on wheels. You drink and you pedal along the streets. Josh and I were trying to figure out how in even a super liberal city like Amsterdam that they were able to get this thing on the road, but all I can say is wow! I've checked out the website and for those in need, there is also a karaoke beer bike!!!
We had a great time both in and out of the city so keep an eye out for the next few entries with windmills, tulips and more!!!