mothwing: Image of a death head hawk moth (Adventure)
Mothwing ([personal profile] mothwing) wrote on October 13th, 2013 at 11:52 pm
Crocky and I went to Amsterdam on Tuesday and came back on Friday.

The short version: we cycled a lot, were almost run over by cyclists, too, got stopped by the police, didn't get high (because the spire of the Westerkerk does not admit people with backpacks), went to the red light district, took pictures from what felt like every single bridge overlooking the famous canals, came back to the hotel smelling of weed in spite of our tee-totalling habits.

Basically every picture I took:

Of course both Crocky and I already knew that this country is awesome. [ profile] therealsnape lives there, after all.

Still, there are some areas that we didn't really know before spending the last four days in Amsterdam on a spontaneous city break.

  • People there are Serious about cycling. I had realised this during our last foray into Groningen, but the difference to things over here is still striking. And unlike in my current town, politics seems to be on their side, too. There are some initiatives to get people to cycle more, but we still don't have the level of cyclist-friendly infrastructure they have here and that we've encountered in Sweden as well. Germans do bike, but not this extent, even in car-unfriendly towns. Also, in Germany, if you are on a bike, you are basically a fast pedestrian. Of course you are technically meant to observe which side of the road you bike on, but if you don't most people won't even notice. Also, though there are laws that say that you're not allowed to cycle on the sidewalk over the age of eight, nobody really bats an eye if you do. In Amsterdam, you are basically a car and had better behave like one, too. People also go fast. Our rented bikes weren't up to much and we wanted to look around, so we were overtaken by everybody, but I still absolutely loved cycling through that city.

  • Dutch is really that close to German. I hadn't heard it spoken before a lot, but like most Germans I can read it, so I was curious. Yes, it really is that intelligible to me. I'm eyeing language classes again, because surely, this would be simpler than my attempts at Russian and I would feel less of an idiot in supermarkets on our next trips. Come to that, as I said last time we were over in the Netherlands what bugs me most about my countrymen in Germanic-language-speaking-countries is that more often than not they get by by slooowly speaking German at the natives and waiting for them to understand, which strikes me as really rude. They do the same in the Netherlands, and apparently everybody over there speaks German enough to answer the questions of unwary tourists. Nobody has ever spoken Dutch at me in an attempt to get around in Hamburg, though, and I doubt that I could muster up enough Dutch to answer, so this leaves me in awe. Linguistic super powers, they have.

  • The sweets, oh my goodness. We took home a lot of Stroopwafels, Eierkoeken, and Sinterklaas-themed sweets like Kruidnoten, chocolate cigarettes and white chocolate letters. I'm not sure what purpose the latter serve, but I'm enjoying my white-chocolate-A. I am convinced that the only reason the Dutch get away with these goodies while maintaining their divine figures is all that cycling.

  • Playgrounds over there are better than they are at home, or at least they look way better. We didn't dare go on one, but oh my goodness, who wouldn't want to frolic around in houses suspended on wires on poles with climbable nets all around.

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