Hot Damn-I finally made it to Amsterdam! I have dreamed of this trip for years and I was right-it is gorgeous AND the perfect walking city for us to explore. My Fitbit is loving me with 12,000+ steps in on our first day. Touching down at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, we fumbled our way through buying a tram ticket at the machine, dealing with ALL our credit cards being rejected before I finally got an ATM to spit out some euros with the debit card. Then, we were jumping on the #5 tram with a little help from a local who scolded us that the tram lets people off first, moves down the lane and THEN you are allowed in. Okay-I had to appreciate the orderly fashion that they follow here in public transportation vs. my fond memories of the clusterf*&k of using China mass transit.
First impressions–bikes, German beer, brick streets and bridges over impossibly picturesque canals where the tour boats glide by slowly. The architecture reminds me of SoHo in NYC with no big new ugly buildings ruining the vibe of little boutiques. We noticed quickly that every building has a large hook hanging from the roof, probably we figured out to haul up furniture and such into the apartments. Quirky and charming, our neighborhood is the perfect blend of residential and commercial.
After receiving the best service EVER from Corrodo at the Andaz Amsterdam, we checked our bags and off we went. Learning very quickly that the sidewalks are narrow with random steep stairways to lower levels jutting into your way so you have to watch every step or fall, it seemed a relatively quiet Sunday with primarily (not a helmet in sight) bike riders and some sassy scooters filling the one way streets lining the canals, I can’t imagine the chaos that will ensue tomorrow when everyone jumps on their bikes to go to work. We’ll be dodging and weaving to cross the streets for sure. I figure if I lived through China though, I’ll probably survive here.
We ducked into the local grocery to check it out-to feel the culture is to see how the locals shop. Lots of prepared foods and smaller portions (didn’t see a lot of families living around here) bread, waffles, chocolates and calories galore. YUM! Got a small bottle of wine tucked into my bag for later.
We’re saving the famous red light district for another night. More to come on that experience! I hear it is quite interesting.
For those not familiar with the weed culture like we have in Seattle, there is probably interest to visit the head shops here. I’ve smelled more pot in the hallways of our building than I have here so no big deal for us.
Tomorrow we leave for the Hague and another train trip. Every day is an adventure!