The paupers have traveled through many cities in Europe, but Amsterdam remains a favorite. We have returned to the city several times and the last time, we decided to get a taste of Dutch life by biking through the country side.
We were staying at a lovely hotel along the water (Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Center) and discovered that we could rent bikes right in the basement through AmsterBike. As we were examining various bikes, we were told that an option we had was to go with a guide on a four-hour ride through the dutch countryside. It required no convincing and a few minutes later, we were following our guide along the waterfront to catch a ferry from where our tour would begin.
The simple act of getting on a bike in a city full of bikers already felt like we were blending in with the locals. The ferry was packed with many other bikers and as soon as we had crossed the river, we were already a world away, biking through small town Amsterdam, passing traditional homes along the water, passing acres of open dutch landscape, entering a small town with a tiny church and a windmill, and returning along modest towns watching kids and adults go about their daily routines.
While we had heard many a recommendation to commute within the city on bikes, cycling through the countryside was a more tranquil experience, one that did make me think a few times of my favorite painter Vincent Van Gogh and how he must have looked at similar countrysides in smaller places when he started painting.
If your travels find you in Amsterdam, please do take the time to rent a bike and experience the city the Dutch way. Whether you take in the city or veer to the countryside, you will cherish the experience all the way.