The bikes are everywhere. Amsterdam is super bicycle friendly and you need to develop an extra sense for them when walking out and about in the city. Cyclists have right of way (pretty well at all times, even when you wouldn’t think so) so they tend to be a little assertive in exercising that right. You don’t want to mess with an Amsterdammer zipping along on her bicycle. You would lose that fight. But the city wouldn’t be nearly as charming without all those bikes. Apparently, close to 60% of all trips in the inner city are made on bicycle. In fact the whole country is mad for them. Watch out if you’re taking a stroll between 8-9am. Two million bicycles are estimated to be on the roads during morning peak hour.
So, remember back on Day 14 where I talked about how everyone is addicted to crack? No? Let me remind you. We were with friends, discussing what food (or drink) we considered to be our “crack”. In other words, what food can you simply not live without? For what consumable would you be willing to take hostages?? Or, if you are a recovering crackhead, what grub can you not touch with a five foot pole in the fear that it will trigger a binge of epic proportions?? For me, I can’t go near chocolate or bread. But the crack that I do allow myself to indulge in is the stroopwafel. A stroopwafel (for the uninitiated) is composed of two thin, chewy, round waffles smeared with thick caramel and squeezed together. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail about it. I think we are all in agreement that this must be the most delicious confection known to man (thank goodness only available in Amsterdam – if you know of anywhere else, PLEASE don’t tell me).
Amsterdam is the furthest north I’ve ever been in the world and this might explain the gorgeous luminosity of the light here. It is crisp, clean, clear, fresh and beautiful. And I just want to gulp it down as a powerful antidote to the hazy, cloudy, thick, sandy, gluggy atmosphere of Dubai. But as well as the glorious natural light which bathes the city, there is a time of day, every evening, just as twilight starts to lose the battle against darkness, when a warm, inviting, golden glow starts to emanate from the inside. Most of the houses in Amsterdam, and particularly the canal houses, have huge windows (probably to let in that gorgeous light I’m talking about). And in the evenings, when the chill and darkness settle in, there is nothing more welcoming and heartwarming than walking through the streets taking in that gorgeous glow.
There’s lots more I’ll miss. It’s a beautiful place.