29 May, 2013

RECAP:: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

FLIGHT: Lufthansa
On Friday afternoon we flew into the Schriphol Airport in Amsterdam. It was our first time flying with Lufthansa and we were definitely impressed. Either Lufthansa keeps their planes in pristine condition ... Or we had the good fortune of flying on two newer airplanes. Both were so clean! 

Several friends had recommended the Holland Pass so RC & I purchased our passes in the airport. This was super convenient because one of the tickets covers 24 transportation. Allowing us to take the metro from the Schriphol Airport to Central Station - Then from Central Station to our hotel via the tram. I am so glad we went this route. We both feared a taxi would have been pretty pricey. The public transportation in Amsterdam was fantastic. 

HOTEL: Best Western Delphi Hotel
We had a tram stop less than 200 m from our hotel. The two main lines (5, 24) came to our stop 'Apollolan'. They took us to almost all of the major attractions we wanted to see. The Rijksmuseum and I AMsterdam sign were just 2 stops away. Most of the time we would take the tram to the area we wanted to explore. Then walk around and sightsee. It really cut down on time which allowed us to see so many of the city in the short time we were there. 

Bicycles are everywhere in Amsterdam. It is the main way of transportation for locals. I think I read that somewhere around 60% of people use bikes within the city. There is a special bike lane throughout the city for cyclists. We had seen this in Munich, but not on this level! The bike lanes have their own traffic signals and you better check the bike lane before you decide to cross the street! They fly and you better hope you're not in the way. Normally they'll ring the bell on their bike before they approach an intersection to remind you that they're coming through. 

Somehow I was able to take a picture of an empty street so you could get an idea of what one looks like in Amsterdam. On the far left you have bike lane which is often a different color from the rest of the street. In this case, it's a burnt red. Next is the car lane. Most people do not commute by car as parking is expensive and with so many pedestrian areas it's overall discouraged. You will mostly see taxis in this lane. Across the checkered median to the right is the track for the trams. Bus stops can also be found in this center area. Crossing the checkered median again to the right is another car lane and then bike lane. Finally on the outside you will have the pedestrian area. 

Now fill this street with cyclists, trams, buses, cars, & people and imagine crossing in total about 6 lanes of traffic. 
At times I felt like it was a human game of Frogger! 


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