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Monday, 01 March 2021

Exploring Amsterdam and its ‘Big Three’ Museums - Page 4

Written by Russ and Emily Firlik
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2. There were no beggars, panhandlers, or dog poop - We only spotted one homeless person, and not badly dressed, on the streets of Amsterdam. In fact, we only saw four dogs this entire time. There are no cats on the street, very few motorcycles, although some noise eminated from the moped motors. We also noticed many BMW’s, a few Mercedes, one Aston Martin, a couple of Porsches.


3. We learned to be very careful crossing streets and tram lines. The trams have their rights, the bikes have their rights and autos, coaches, city buses have theirs. For us pedestrians, however, we had to be vigilant to stop and look constantly both ways. In addition, we still had to watch out for the bikes coming in both directions on their red brick lanes which were sometimes a larger area than the sidewalks. The cycle lanes have an excellent infrastructure with white lines, cycle signs and dedicated traffic lights. Given that the trams can’t be steered, we had to listen for their rattle and stay clear as well. We observed that bicycle riders travel at a very fast pace and frequently jump red lights and ride on sidewalks. This was not England's Oxford or Cambridge riding where bikes travel at a leisurely pace moving ever so slowly with their baskets on the front handle bars and gently ringing their bells to notify you that they are near you. No, No, in Amsterdam you better watch out because the bikes are coming with an undetermined speed. They are all going someplace special! If you happen to unfortunately be on their bike lane you will hear a ghastly horn sound that makes you look like a fool!


Nonetheless, Amsterdam is a city that everyone must see in their lifetime. It is different from our many visits to Venice, but with the same type of buildings. That is, all the buildings in both cities are on wooden or concrete beams that force the building to stand together next to each other. Some end buildings are tilted badly due to the beams shifting or sinking. Some beams are sunk at 54 feet in the marshy soil. Amsterdam does not have to worry about flooding as Venice does because of its dyke system. Interestingly, during the summer the canals are frequently drained to clean them. In fact, there are swimming trials and meets in the cleaned canals. The point being, the canals are very clean in the summer.


These are merely our observations as slow travelers on a fixed budget. The museums were fantastic, the people very friendly, polite, and everyone spoke English. The spiritual beauty of the canal buildings and the cultural attractions made Amsterdam one our most favorite cities.


©Russ and Emily Firlik, “Nothing without Joy!”


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Last modified on Monday, 01 March 2021

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