Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Amsterdam - Bikes, Coffee Shops, & Canals, Oh My!

Nothing says Amsterdam like bikes, coffee shops, and canals.  Bikes are literally everywhere!  In the streets, parked everywhere, and darting in and out of traffic like kamikazes.  No one wears a helmet, there weren't many baby seats (I saw a ton of babies riding in the front basket/handlebars), and people can text / smoke / hold groceries, all while riding.  Coffee shops are on every other corner and there is a significant difference between coffee shops and cafes.  I had 'coffee' at a number of places and couldn't find any strong enough (I even tried the coffee baked brownies and nada). My 3 favorite places were 2e Kamer, Barney's and Stone's Cafe. Last but not least are the canals - nothing says, "welcome to being lost" like trying to read the names of the canals in the dark: Oudezijds Voorburgwal, Oudezijds Achterburgwal, or Prinsengracht.  The best way to explore a city is by getting lost - you discover things that you would not have ordinarily found (like the "all you can eat" cheese samples).       

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