3 July 2019

Amsterdam, one of the worlds great cities, presumably because it was built and is inhabited by lots of smart Dutch people, and they are smart too, and they all appear to be bilingual! Perhaps that's why so many tourists come to visit, it's too easy? There's a lot more to Amsterdam than sex, drugs, canals and bicycles, so we weren't going to run out of things to do once we'd tried these. Fortunately we had some local hosts to let us in on the less well known benefits of living in Amsterdam.


We did of course do some cycling, in the countryside though. While the city is really well set up for cycling there seemed to me a large number of hazards for cyclists there. Firstly, other cyclists who didn't seem to give way and squillions of tourists who seemed to just keep stepping out on to the cycle ways without looking or thinking. Still the city clearly demonstrates that cycling can be the main and a very effective form of human transport in a mega city.


Greater Amsterdam and indeed much of the Netherlands really is a hive of industry, both heavy and technological. One of our hosts, Ruud, a Master Craftsman, also introduced us to some of the guild of Master Craftspeople continuing important services and traditions for those living in this remarkable city.


He even gave Annie a free lesson in wood planing!

One of the things that surprised me about Amsterdam was the number of trees that have been planted, it is quite a green city. Even in the narrow old streets countless trees have been planted for shade and ambience.


Amsterdamers enjoying their trees after work on a hot Friday night.

The trees appear to be actively managed, with tree pruners apparent, and we have seen this ouside the city on the country roads where long avenues of trees have also been planted. But with the narrow city streets access can be difficult. We saw this crane hauling a tree which had just been cut down in another street, the tree then brought up form the street and out into some space where it could be cut up!


Amsterdam has been one of those cities I have always wanted to visit, and now I have, but five days just wasn't enough. I think we have only scratched the surface of this place of people, culture and industry. Many thanks to Ruud and Ireen for pointing us in the right direction away from quite so many tourists!

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