Travel summary: Amsterdam

The scene is quite comical: a father cycling with three children sitting in front and behind; a business woman pedaling in her stilettos…

The scene is quite comical: a father cycling with three children sitting in front and behind; a business woman pedaling in her stilettos; scooters trying to get their share of the cycling path. Thousands of bicycles are roaming around the busy streets. One would have thought I was back in Hanoi

AmsterdamAmsterdam is my current destination. With its pebbled ‘straat’ (streets), arched bridges over the numerous ‘gracht’ (canals) and beautiful architecture, Amsterdam is a city you can easily fall in love with. A visit to the newly renovated Rijksmuseum is a must on the to do list, so is exploring the quaint streets in search of the best apple pie and a morning run through Vondelpark.

Of course, like most cities, Amsterdam has its ‘dark side’ too… although there’s no secret about this one! You might get a whiff of ‘herbal’ fragrance on any corner and guided tours of the red light district are common attractions. (I was told and read about the trafficking of women from Eastern Europe to work as prostitutes in the Netherlands… Absolutely awful!)

Local people are generally helpful and smiling… although my boyfriend and I met a bunch of suspicious ones outside our apartment one morning! We were welcomed by four guys investigating fraudulent apartment rental companies who asked us a whole range of questions about our stay. As we were told this was a problem in the Netherlands (entities illegally renting out rooms without being declared as companies – a stronger market since the arrival of airbnb), we were not quite sure whether these four guys were legitimate or not. Just to play on the safe side, we left no valuables behind and advised a passing police car.

Amsterdam and meAs we’re now making the most of our last day before our next stop, I can reflect on some simple lessons this city has brought to life for me:

  • Australia has a lot to learn from Amsterdam’s cycling culture
  • Better be safe than sorry
  • Enjoy life – but not to the detriment of others

Next destination: Munich.



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