Windmills. Tulips. Canals. Bikes.
Traveling in Europe has helped me to understand that each city has a 'feel' of its own. Amsterdam is no different. We've found that taking bike tours of various cities saves time as well as our feet, and is just plain more fun. It also allows a more hands-on approach to learning a city's personality that cannot be achieved through a bus window. EVERYONE in Holland, I do believe, has a bike. The whole country is connected with biker highways. Even in the city, biker thoroughfares are beside the main street. And, NO ONE wears a helmet. This was JUST ONE 'parking lot' outside the train station.
I booked a tour for the fam with the goal of staying OUT of the Red Light District, which just happens to be down in the older, historic, picturesque area. For those that don't know, prostitution, and marijuana for that matter, are legal here. Both of these are proudly advertised everywhere, from postcards to t-shirts. Luckily, my kinder were not too focused on details and really didn't pick up on too many 'sights' or smells.
This trip ruined me for beautiful flowers!! Can you imagine 3.50 Euros (about $5) for a big bunch of amazing tulips?
Here are a few street shops, including your average 'herring stand'. These are all over! I'm thinking the Dutch aren't big fans of hot dogs!
Keukenhof Park was begun as a 'showplace' literally for the major tulip growers in Holland. Later it was opened to the public. These pictures don't begin to do justice to the amazing flowers here. Acres and acres and acres (20,000 hectares) of every kind of tulip you can imagine. Wish I could've bottled the aroma to bring home!
This area grows 70% of the world's tulips, a 600 million Euro (or roughly $1 Billion American) industry.
What a grand way to spend a few warm, spring days!