Although you “know” that Amsterdam has loads of bicycles, you’ll never appreciate just how many are there ’til you see it for yourself. The photo here is just one spot from many cycle parks that are all over the city.
Because of this concentration on cycling, you’ll find that it’s very much a city to explore without your car and doesn’t have anything like the level of pollution that you would normally get in a city of this scale. That’s not to say that you can’t use your car, just that you don’t need to.
Just walking round the city and its many canals is very pleasant and you’ll come across untold numbers of attractions even if you just wander aimlessly. Don’t miss the Anne Frank museum though which is much, much smaller than I had imagined from the books. Although the queue is quite large it moves quickly so the wait usually isn’t that long.
As you’ll know Amsterdam is home to a red light district and, yes, the prostitutes really do use red lights in the windows to indicate that they’re available. It’s not nearly as much “in your face” as you might expect though and certainly during the day feels more like a tourist attraction than a “den of iniquity”.
We found that the best thing to do was to pick out an out of town hotel near the airport and get the train in and that’s what we’ll be doing next time we visit. The hotel we stayed at has an airport shuttle so that followed by a short train journey took us into the city centre very quickly and pleasantly.
This is part of our expanding Whole Earth Guide.Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.