Saturday, 30 May 2009

Netherlands - Amsterdam

We saved Amsterdam for the last leg of our trip through the Netherlands, and I have to say it was a bit of a rude shock to come back to a 'big city' after the freshly-painted, neatly-trimmed feel of the small towns and countryside around.

There are the canals of course, which are bigger in Amsterdam than the other towns we'd been to, and the shear number and variety of bikes was quite amazing, but it's all just a bit shabbier than the rest of the Netherlands and has a definite seedy edge to it.

Which is not to say Amsterdam is not a beautiful and interesting city to visit, it's just a contrast to the places we had been previously. In fact the history of the city and the museums and sites make it a fascinating place to stay.

We did all the usual sorts of things you expect of Amsterdam, such as visiting the Anne Frank museum, taking a canal tour, renting a canal bike, visiting the flower markets, etc.. We may also have excluded some of the other things Amsterdam is famous for.

And, despite the generally bad reputation the Netherlands has for food, we managed to keep ourselves well fed on pancakes, indonesian food, cheese, proffertjes, bitterballen, and other goodies.

By the end of our trip we were feeling very satisfied with our stay in the Netherlands - it is a really relaxing and interesting place to visit and we really felt like we would love to come back and see it again, if only to cross off two things from our 'must do in the netherlands' list: riding a bike through the countryside; and seeing the tulips growing in the fields.

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