Tag Archives: Amsterdam canals

Amsterdam: Canals, Bikes, Tulips and Dogs

Amsterdam is beautiful in any season, but the long days of spring add to the enjoyment. The light on the canals is particularly beautiful in early morning and evening.

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Bikes comprise about 40% of the traffic in the city.  And of course bikes make fashion statements all their own.


Tulips are everywhere.


And paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, in the 1600s, are replete with the family pets beloved then, as now.


For some reason, dogs occupy a very special place in Dutch painting.  I guess they were a big part of the good life in the heyday of Amsterdam, when trading made its citizens some of the richest and most contented people in the world.  The city today, at least the parts that tourists see, seems equally fun-loving and prosperous, if a lot more egalitarian.

Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe!

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Just arrived, late in the afternoon.  Tomorrow will be a museum day in this city of great museums.  Today was a day for walking the canals, people-watching and figuring out how to dodge trams and bikes. People of all ages ride bikes in all weathers here.  I’m sure a  bike is the best form of transportation in this compact, crowded city center. The bikes themselves are simple and workmanlike, mostly one to three speeds.  Many of them have years of patina. But a lot of skill is involved in riding one.

Just outside the Central Station, there’s a 3-story free bike garage maintained by the city.  I’d be hard put to find a place to park a bike there; they overflow into the surrounding streets.


The locals are adept at weaving in and out of pedestrians, car traffic and other bike riders.  No one wears a helmet and no one has a bell. I’ll be lucky to avoid getting hit by a bike, never mind riding one.

Tomorrow I’ll set off on foot to explore the city!