13 November 2017
3 Days in Amsterdam Part 2: Exploring on Foot and Nearly Dying While Cycling
Bicycles to Amsterdam are like meatballs to Stockholm. The city loves them, and there are supposedly more bikes than people (I can totally believe that!). In fact, forget about keeping a lookout for cars; it’s the cyclists that will run you over. It was equal parts fascinating and terrifying seeing so many people on bikes, whizzing through town. They were casually texting and peddling, not really looking where they are going, it was like second nature to locals.
In love with this view
Seeing Amsterdam and its surroundings on a two-wheeler is something I definitely encourage you to do. There are plenty rental options. We hired our bikes from the hotel we stayed at and it cost us $15 per day each.
I must admit I was quite anxious at the beginning. I’ve never been particularly good at cycling, in fact, I only ever learned how to ride a bike last year at the ripe age of 26! So it is understandable that when I get on and was nearly involved in an accident involving myself, a moped and me going the wrong way, I got a bit scared and upset. The truth is (and I am not exaggerating here) that cycling through the city was the single most stressful experience in my entire life to date. I’m not sure if it was stress or just me being out of shape, but I could feel the adrenaline rushing, my heart pounding in my chest and I even broke into a sweat while trying to make my way from the hotel to the city without causing another collision. This being said, I would highly recommend it. It’s part of the whole Amsterdam experience. I am glad I pushed myself to do it and I know that if I didn’t do it, I would have been pretty damn annoyed with myself right now. And no amount of panic or angry moped drivers shouting at me could take away the joy this experience brought me.
The city is exceptionally well-connected, with trams running fairly frequently and everything being within walking distance, so cycling is simply one of your many options of getting around. But it is one of those things you just have to do while there. I’d imagine it’s like going to Paris and not stopping by the Eiffel Tour or going to Naples and not trying a pizza.
Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. It’s chaos, but it’s fun. Cycle lanes were clearly signposted and allow you to get from pretty much anywhere in town to anywhere you need to go. On the downside, cycle lanes are shared by bicycles and motorbikes which wasn’t so much fun but once you get used to it, it was fine. In my humble opinion, anything with an engine should be on the other side of the road, but anyway, that didn’t stop me from having fun.
Day two and our trusted rental bikes took us to Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum, the tulip market and so many more places! (Luckily, the hospital, wasn’t one of them! Lol)
Keep your eyeballs peeled for Part 3 of the trip and what happened when I had some of the local special brownies ;)