Bicycles and canal boats. Bridges and flowers. Beer and wine and cheese. Tapas and pastries. These are Amsterdam. What a wonderful place! The city simply radiates energy and smiles. Our week there was the hottest on record, but normally the temperatures are moderate. The sidewalks are wide with few hills, and the city invites you to explore on foot. (On wheels? Stay tuned for brickbats, coming here in a few days.)
We quickly found the Dutch to be welcoming and helpful. The airport is clean, and the separate, accessible restrooms were a welcome change from what I typically find in the US. Language barrier? Virtually everyone speaks fluent English, and airport signage includes English.
I knew English is the unofficial language, but I was surprised when the accent is clearly American English rather than the pure form from nearby Great Britian. What could be more familiar than Starbucks in a bank?
We were too late for tulips. The famed flower of spring blooms only a short time.
That said, we were spoiled for beauty. From the spectacular floating flower market near Dam Square to window boxes adorning lovely buildings that date from the 16th century, Amsterdam is a riot of color.
There are millions of bicycles across The Netherlands. They are literally everywhere, ridden by college students, store clerks, hotel staffers, and office workers.
No blog about Amsterdam would be complete without the canals and parks for which the city is famous. They are not to be missed. I hope to visit them again.