Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Rhine River Cruise - Amsterdam Day One

Amsterdam lived up to its reputation for sure - over 1200 bridges spanning beautiful canals, rain (180 rainy days per year!), and bicycles everywhere! City authorities estimate there are over 600,000 bicycles in the city.  Because of the narrow streets, canals, and lack of parking spaces, it's a major source of transportation. We found it interesting that we saw no one, I mean no one, wearing a helmet. And we were told that if there is a pedestrian/bicycle accident in the biking lane, the pedestrian is automatically at fault. Another interesting observation was that we saw very few overweight people. . .actually, that was true everywhere we visited. Europeans obviously benefit from their diet and natural exercise. And finally, we couldn't help but notice the height of the citizens of Amsterdam. Joel's brother Darren, standing at 6 foot 7 inches, did not stand out in the crowd! The women were also very tall, many in the 6 foot range. I guess the Netherlands is now the world's tallest country, but, interestingly, over 100 years ago, it ranked among the shortest. A number of studies have been done to explain the increase, and natural selections seems to be the most logical. Taller men were marrying taller women and having more than the average number of children.
Some of the "dancing houses" along the canal which are leaning as their pillar supports are shifting.
Houseboats (some not actually boats) have been added along the canals to provide more housing for the city's population.

Amsterdam is adding more bicycle parking barges to eventually accommodate over 50,000 additional parking spaces.

We were disappointed that our bicycle excursion into the countryside was cancelled due to rain, 
but we thoroughly enjoyed our time at De Zaansche - an industrial windmill village. 
Authentic windmills have been moved to this site, still operating and providing livings for the village residents. 

Changing the direction of the windmill blades of the paint mill.
One of the quaint homes

The village surrounding the windmills. 

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