Netherlands Bike Tour – Acclimation Day

The jet lag feels like a warm wet blanket.  We did not sleep at all well on this first night and we were done with it some time before 6:00 am.  Hungry, and without the energy to get prepared and out the door in search of food, we took the easy way out and went downstairs to the hotel restaurant.  Here in the Netherlands the breakfasts are typically European.   Breads, cheeses, thin meats, yogurts, fruits.   All stuff I like so that worked well.  Little heavy on the cheeses for Honeys liking, and a little light on the pastries for mine.  Good, just a little overpriced. The restaurant is on the ground floor, at the end of the train yard.  The longer trains that make brief stops at the station, will leave passengers looking out their window, and directly into the windows of the restaurant less than five feet away.  A bit odd to look up and see somebody gazing in at you from outside.  After breakfast, took another look through the masses of bikes in the parking structure.

Biek parking outside Centaal station

Then decided that maybe we could sleep more and napped until 1:00.  Then, time for some exercise and exploration.  We took the bikes out for a shakedown cruise to verify that they were set up and working correctly, and to find the best route to get to the boat for tomorrows departure.  Google and a little looking around earlier, got us a possible route and with a little wandering around we were confident we could find the paths that we liked.  The bike traffice in Amsterdam is like nothing else we have seen.  Bikes are everywhere, riders are coming and going in all directions, and there are dedicated paths, lanes,  and markings capable of leading a rider anywhere they wanted to go.  This is not a city where you look out for cars.  You must be aware of bike traffic coming from any direction. All the cross walks have pedestrian traffic signals, bike traffic signals and car traffic signals.  With just a couple of map consultations, found the dock where our boat would be.  It was in fact already there, having gotten in the night before, with the previous weeks riders.  Had a brief chat with one of the riders capable of speaking English, met the captains wife, and then rode on, happy that we had that part of our travel connection verified.  Rode back the 6 kilometers to our hotel,  along the canal and over a bridge, using a much more direct and simple route.

Ride back from Boat Dock

Hotel and bike parking

We returned to our room to find the cleaning crew hard at work.  The manager was in the hallway as well, and I alerted him to the leaking toilet line in our room, and he quickly got his maintenance guy to fix it.  It was good to meet this guy, since he would come in very handy later on in our trip.  Picked up tram tickets that would take us through the city and out to the museum district in search of the Van Gogh museum. We used the tram ride as a mini tour of the city, and another way to find a place to eat.   One stop was on a block with a large terrace full of outdoor dining tables, all covered with umbrellas, partially encircled with a ring of restaurants and bars.  Each cafe or bar had tables assigned to them, with their menus.  In Amsterdam it seems that there are an equal number of outdoor settings for bars as for cafes. We hopped off, and found a table dedicated to a cafe that we liked, had lunch, then hopped back on the next tram heading our way.

Van Gogh Museum

The half hour wait to get in to the museum was worth the opportunity to see so many his works, where you could walk right up and touch them.  You could, but I didn’t as I think they are pretty sensitive about stuff like that.  Later we walked around the city and stopped at an Indian restaurant that Honey had previously found.

Amsterdam canals

We sat right by the open front door where we could look out at the traffic going by.  Predominately bikes.  At a rate of perhaps a bike every minute.  An informal survey revealed that, in the 40 bikes that went by during this survey, 20 were men, 20 were women.  Then, back to the room to pack everything up in preparation for the barge tour.  Watched TV as late as we could, and hoped that on this night, we could sleep.

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