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Amsterdam — Day 1

We arrived in Amsterdam and were at our hotel by 9 a.m. But the rooms weren’t ready. We all knew the importance of staying awake. So, we headed out for a walk and to find some food. It was colder than most of us were expecting. But that didnt’ stop the participants of a swimming race, going on in one of the canals. We found coffee, hot chocolate and food at a nice outdoor spot. And we weren’t rushed to move along, after we finished eating.

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IMG_1968Our first site, even before entering the hotel, was a police officer sweeping up glass from a bike lane. A car had its window smashed, and he’s cleaning it up!

After breakfast, we walked over to the Central Train Station. Some of us headed to the Van Gogh museum. I was more interested in a Rick Steves walking tour, and a few joined me. Upon leaving the train station, we were guided towards the bike parking. I can’t even guess how many thousands of bikes were here. We found a mechanic who told us a little about the storage. The outdoor spaces are free, and bikes can stay for up to 14 days. There is a mechanic on duty 24/7 and there is also indoor storage, for a fee.

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We continued on to the top of the Hilton hotel, for a great view of the old city:

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We walked a few blocks in the Red Light District, but no pictures here!

We crossed and re-crossed lots and lots of canals. The house boats are beautiful. And I love the bridges that can open.

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But oh! The bikes are what I’m most interested in. They are just everywhere. And wherever they are, there are tons of them. We’ve seen cargo bikes. But we’ve also just seen adults carrying other adults on the back rack. It’s hard to remember to look out for everything that could possibly run you over, when crossing the road, with bikes, cars and trams all moving, too.

We saw the flower market and lots of cheese shops. Oh, why don’t we have a cheese shop like this, in Memphis?!

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Tomorrow we head to Utrecht and will hopefully start riding ourselves. But for now, to sleep!

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