Exploring Amsterdam on a bike was terrifying and thrilling.
There were moving obstacles everywhere -bikes, scooters, cars, trams, pedestrians- and I was never sure who had the right of way. I often say that Europeans require less personal space than Americans and I felt that on the bikes. People would crowd right in at stop lights or ride so close on my left that I was sure that I would run into them if I had to swerve to avoid a parked car.
It didn't help that my bike was big and bulky. It was too big and too small at the same time. My feet barely touched he ground, yet my legs didn't quite extend far enough when riding. I felt like I would lose my balance or run into something if I had to look over my shoulder.
But, even with the craziness it was an excellent way to get around. It's what the locals do so it was a way for us to experience the culture.
We got our bikes from Mac Bike at the train station. Sophia wasn't enthusiastic about doing a lot of walking so this was a great way to get her excited about our day.
We were initially disappointed that they were out of bikes her size however I became quickly thankful that she rode safely on the back of Kenny's bike once I saw how crazy the ride would be. She's a good, strong rider but she is only seven and surely lacking in the sophistication needed to manage these streets.
We found a flower market where I purchased some summer bulbs that I can plant in my garden when I get home.
We had lunch at Proust Cafe, just a little corner place that we happened upon. Sophia had a pancake. I had a beautiful goat cheese salad with roasted peppers and an olive tapenade. Kenny had a sandwich made with local cheese. It was a nice little stop.
And, we toured the house where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis. It was particularly sobering to visit with my own young daughter. We couldn't imagine being holed up in such a small, dark place for two years only to find that a much worse fate awaited. We were particularly thankful for our freedom today.
As we rode to scope out the restaurant where we were going for dinner the sky blackened and it poured on us. Another authentic experience. We found some shelter and decided we would ride back to the hotel to change before dinner. My jeans were soaked through and the hood of my jacket wouldn't stay on. By the time we reached the hotel my fingers could barely fumble with the elaborate lock that we have to use to secure the bike from potential thieves. We made some memories today for sure.