Amsterdam and Keukenhof, The Netherlands
We loved this city! In an activity-packed two days we fitted in a walking tour of the city center with a guide that we selected (and pre-booked before we left Los Angeles) because he is one of travel advisor/author Rick Steves's guides in Amsterdam, dinner at a local restaurant, an evening canal boat trip through the city waterways, and on the following day, a trip out to the city of Lisse, where Keukenhof is, to see the tulips which were in full season during our visit.
Amsterdam: City Center
A quick cab ride in from the Amsterdam Centraal Train station brought us to our prearranged hotel, the Amsterdam Marriott. (We select Marriott hotels whenever possible as we have loyalty points that allow us to use these hotels at essentially no charge except to the reward points account.) The hotel room was delightful; it faced the street and had a little balcony that gave us an excellent floor-to-ceiling view of the street activity below. Noise was not an issue, and as the second and third photographs in the above slideshow demonstrates, we had a view of the local train route and of the canal, with a boarding station almost directly across the street from the hotel. The hotel is located on one side of the Leidseplein Plaza.
Our city guide Albert Ab Walet met us as planned, and we spent a delightful four hours together as he led us through all of the major areas of the city center. We saw the Museumplein, the old Jewish quarter, the Red Light district, Vondelpark, and several ethnic areas. We visited a chocolate shop and a "hidden" (behind a door in a wall) garden which contained an old Reformed Church. That evening we walked across the Leidesplein to a local restaurant, The Pantry, where we enjoyed a typical local meal.
A photo-extension in the Gallery section displays some of the variety of transportation that we observed as we walked through the city. Lifestyles here call for the extensive use of bicycles, and children are transported by their parents by means of creative attachments to those bikes. Children begin to ride their own bikes out on the city streets at a young age! When cars are needed they all seemed to be the small "smart" car types.
Keukenhof: Tulip Season!
A short ride (about an hour) from Amsterdam is the little town of Lisse where the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens are located. The garden is open for only a few weeks each year (check the website for the spring dates of the year you will be there).
The Gallery for this cruise features photographs sorted by location. The Amsterdam section includes more city center, transportation, and tulip pictures. Amsterdam on the Move features common modes of transportation in this interesting city.
THE GALLERY: Amsterdam
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