One of the first things I found when looking up things to do in Amsterdam was countryside bike tours, and from that moment on I knew that was the one thing I wanted to do! Today was our bike tour day, and I could not contain my excitement! I knew Amsterdam was known for biking, but I never knew how much it relied on biking for transportation until I arrived there. Just to give you an idea there are more bikes thank people in Amsterdam! There are around 600,000 people if that give you an idea for how many bikes! One after another the streets were lined with bikes. Our tour guide told us that it's not uncommon for people to leave bikes in different places across town, or have a leisure and racing bike!
This might all sound really cool until you have to walk the streets of Amsterdam, and then it's frightening. Bike riders don't care if they hit you or not, and if you get in their way you can count of them screaming at you in Dutch about it. Amsterdam I would relate to being as busy as New York City. Not only were their vicious bike riders, but also taxi drivers, trams, and other cars all trying to get around leaving the pedestrians on their toes, looking both ways a few extra times to assure you're not about to get hit.
It was interesting to see that in Amsterdam the bikes had their completely own lane though everywhere you went. In the more rural areas it was not common to see a car driving either. In Amsterdam only 1 out of 8 people have a car. I don't think I could even name off 8 friends, let alone 8 adults, without a car. This is how much they rely on bike for their main transportation.
The bike ride lasted 4 hours. It took us through some really rural areas of the Netherlands. We even took a ferry over to an island, this was my favorite part! We got to see 1 of the only 6 operating windmills left in the Netherlands. On our way back we are at a local dinner on the docks and it was really tasty with a wonderful view on this sunny day! The villages we rode our bikes through were the same places Rembrandt did a lot of his artwork/ painting and I could definitely see why because of how gorgeous the scenery was! From there we took the ferry back to Amsterdam and ended our tour unfortunately. A bike ride tour is something I feel you have to do when visiting Amsterdam since that's how the locals get around it truly gives you the best tour experience of Amsterdam!
After our bike tour Jessica and I went back to Rembrandt square which was probably my favorite area in Amsterdam with all of the local music and also art work! We just laid in the grass and did some people watching while discussing how different The Netherlands is compared to the states. In Amsterdam prostitution, gay marriage, and pot are all legal. These things are very acceptable in their culture and people don't even look twice at it, this was what I enjoyed most about Amsterdam. Their culture was so unique and accepting of all differences and nationalities.
From Rembrandt square we went to the Netherlands head library, 8 stories tall with a dinner on top that had a wonderful view over Amsterdam, and also a WWII memorial. Our four days in Amsterdam went by so fast, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Their culture is so completely different it is something that you could never explain until you experienced it yourself! We ended our time in Amsterdam with a Heineken, since that it is where it originated from while waiting for our overnight bus to Paris!