Day 1& 2: Nov 16-17, 2017 – Amsterdam
Amsterdam—the city of Bikes, Birds, Brothels and Borderline “Coffee Shops”. Oh… and also the start of our sixteen-day Crystal River Cruise.
We leave Tallahassee on the afternoon of Nov 16th and arrive in Amsterdam on the morning of the 17th to board our ship—the Crystal Mahler. It’s a brand new river vessel built by the luxury line, Crystal Cruises, so we hope everything lives up to its name.
After we check-in on the ship, I want to stretch my legs a bit so I head into the city and walk for a couple of hours. As I walk, Amsterdam is just as I remember it. There are lots of people out and about, especially young people. There is an energy about this city and I think it is fueled by all the bikes zipping every direction and every street. While the bike lanes are clearly marked, it’s best to be extra careful when navigating the city as it’s easy to get distracted by all the sights and step in front of a local on their way home from work or out grocery shopping. In fact, there are twice as many bikes as people
in Amsterdam as it is the major means of transportation around the city. And one of the places with the highest density of bikes in the city is the Central Train Station. Lots of people have a bike they keep parked at the station as they live in another area of the city or outside of town and need a way around when they take the train into town to work. There are so many bikes that there is now a parking garage at the station just for bikes.
The train station is also a major shopping center with lots of shops and restaurants on the level above the train tracks.
One of the places I stop by is a grocery store I remembered from my last visit here. It’s always interesting to me to watch the locals as they shop and to compare the prices to those back home. Some of the best local fares here are all the cheeses and the Stroopewaffles, two thin waffle-cookies with a layer of caramel or syrup between them—super good!