Europe Travel

Amsterdam-cycling capital of Europe

Written by Ales Maticic

When we talk about Amsterdam, I always first think about their “Red district” and bars, where they sells and allow to enjoy and cannabis, in so called Coffee shops.

This is mainly attraction for tourist, specially for huge numbers of English people, who are flaying in with low –cost flights to visit these busies parts of town, where they offer this kind of entertainment.

These parts of town are not so popular with Amsterdam residents, who rarely visit these parts.

Pride of Amsterdam and much more interesting part are specific channels and architecture, friendly local lea markje

Further on, in my post, I will describe my journey around Amsterdam, and my traveling experience, which may also be helpful to some of you, who will read my post.
It all started one gray morning, with rain and strong wind, when the friend I was staying with told me that she already prepared bicycle for us (parked outside) and that now we can start our sightseeing.

I must admit, that taking in consideration current weather, this did sound a little bit strange.

The bicycles are the main way of transport through Amsterdam. Not taking in consideration cold weather conditions.

And the locals; it seems as they are all competing, which bicycle will be in worst condition. Bike lines and paths are almost all over the city, there are about 400 km of bake lanes in whole Amsterdam.

They also have special traffic lights for cyclists, which must be respected.

The whole city is not too big. My favorite bistro is one named Single 404, (this is also an address) and it is located along the canal, it’s pretty small and only have ten tables.

They offer amazing sandwiches, shakes, sweets and comfy & nice atmosphere.

After we had our little break, we head along canal to visit Bloemenmarkt –  a floating market, where they sell everything related to flowers, from seeds to a many kind of tulips bulbs.

We head down the canal, to visit square Muntplein, which was named after the tower, which has in some period serve as a mint of money.

It is interesting, that this square was designed by Hendrick de Keysera, an important architect.

He was known for special style of construction, which later become known as Renaissance of Amsterdam. Nearby Muntplein there are two very good restaurants; first one is small one, and has normal prices (quite cheap), called Maoz where you can taste falafel with all sorts of vegetables, the second is on street Kalverstraat, and is called La Place.

This is the Dutch chain of affordable restaurants. You choose all ingredients (as being at the market) and they will quickly prepare you a dish.

They also have a variety of different fruits, shakes, pizzas, salads, desserts,..  Kalverstraat is a pedestrian zone and main Amsterdam street with shops.

Its long a little bit less than a kilometer and it ends at the most important city hall, at Dam.

It’s very important because this is the place, where once a City hall, but today this is a Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk, a church, which held the Royal inauguration and weddings.

This place is also much known for numerous exhibitions, which are held in Nieuwe Kerk.
If you like beer very much, you should visit shop De Bierkonning, located just behind the Royal palace, which boasts with exclusivity, that you can buy there more than 900 types of beer.

After visiting the shop, we went to Waterlooplein, where we visit flea market, which is open all days except Sundays.
The next day was a sunny day, so we decided to visit Vondelpark, named after a very known Dutch poet.

Vondelpark is based not far away from city center. People visit park for recreation, in the spring and autumn they have here picnics and concerts.

This is the perfect oasis to relax after a busy day, or just to came out on sunny day and spend it outside.
Even though you are not extremely in love with museums, you should visit Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum.

In first one there is an  exhibition of Dutch artists, from the golden period (Rembrandt, Vermeer), and the second is worth visiting because of Van Gogh work.
It is also worth visiting night clubs and bars. The quite good one is the cult club, named Paradiso.

This club is in building which was previously a church, and where are frequently held concerts.

The second good club is Melkweg, which attracts guests with numerous events, from all sorts of Parties to concerts.
What is also worth seeing, while visiting Amsterdam (next to the common sight seeing places) ?

1. Amsterdam Red district is know all over the world ( some sightseeing  are lead from the former prostitutes)
2. Interactive scientific museum NEMO
3. Saturday market on square Noordermarkt, where are mainly food products
4. In Amsterdam you can swim in the lake IJmeer in the summer, and sunbath on 250 m long beach, called Blijburg aan zee
5. Amsterdam BOS is the big green field in south part of the city
6. Museum of Ana Frank, is also very popular among tourist
7. To all rockers I recommend bar Soundgarden (Marnixstraat 166), which held a pool table and its open until three a.m. at end weekends.
8. Also worth visiting is club Korsakoff, which has a free entrance and is open each day
9. Modern architecture on so called Borneo Island ( in west part of the city).

If you are not so lucky, that a local would borrow you a bicycle, you can rent it quite cheap on many palces all over the city.

Or you can also visit web pages from Macbike or Yellow Bike.
Netherlands, specialy Amsterdam is very known after its liberal attitude to soft drugs (selling cannabis is illegal, but they not treat it as criminal.

The law allows selling not more than 5 grams of cannabis to individual.

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Ales Maticic

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