Thursday, October 7, 2010

Netherlands: Amsterdam and beyond . . .

Did you know that Holland and the Netherlands is the same place? Or that one quarter of the Netherlands is actually below Sea Level?

Did you know that Holland still has around 1,000 working windmills?  Or that it has the highest concentration of museums in the world, with 42 in Amsterdam alone? I'll be visiting two of their most well known. 

Did you know that Amsterdam has 1,281 bridges and that Holland has more than 4,400 km of navigable rivers, canals and lakes and 15,000 km of cycle paths?

And finally did you know that the Dutch are considered to be the tallest people in Europe?  Now at 5’2” I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb.  :)

I've been reading my guidebooks and various websites chronicling the history of the Netherlands (Wikipedia) through the years which is all very interesting, but I am also finding these additional tidbits of information about the Netherlands very unique and interesting as well.  Pre-Trip blogging is a wonderful trip planning technique I learned from fellow blogger, Sandrac, to help me focus on what I want to see and do on my trips and it has definitely helped me a lot for the past two trips to Spain and Scotland. I'm leaving in 35 days (eek!) and in the next few weeks, I hope to write a few blog entries about some of the highlights of what I hope to see and experience on my 2010 Vibrant Europe Trip. 

Many thanks and appreciation to all of my blogging friends (AnnieNC, Marta, Menehune, Barb, Nancy, Maya, Jane, Sandra, Girasoli, Shannon and Anne) who have been so supportive and helpful in providing some very helpful tips on food, art, museums, weather, shops, history and transportation.  Upon hearing about my trip to Amsterdam, fellow Slow Traveler and blogging friend, Marta, wrote two very cool entries on her Postcards from the Trail Blog, Amsterdam and Window Shopping in Amsterdam. Marta spent several months living and working in the Netherlands and posted some of her beautiful photos and wrote about her experiences there which I really enjoyed reading a lot.  I am especially excited about seeing as Marta put it, the “whimsical” side of Amsterdam in addition to their amazing museums, shops, flower market, canals and architecture. 

I have two weeks in Amsterdam with a two night day trip to Bruges in Belgium, before I head to Berlin, Germany. I'm staying in an apartment near a beautiful canal called Prinsengracht (Wikipedia) and from there I will be able to explore and venture around the city by using their very efficient trams or doing as the locals do by renting a typical dutch bike to ride along on some of those 15 km of bike paths (Amsterdam Bicycles).   Did I mention the beautiful canal?  :D

People keep referring to Amsterdam as the "Venice of the North" but I would be hard pressed to compare it to Venice.  I think Venice is simply in a league all to herself.   But from what I have seen in Marta's photos and in my research, I do believe that Amsterdam with it's many canals, bridges and quaint Dutch architecture is without a doubt a very beautiful city too. 

I will have Wi-Fi in my apartment and will be able to post while there so for those of you who have already been, I hope to stir up some fond memories and for those of you who have not been I hope to be able to let you see Amsterdam through my eyes.

Next up the food, the museums, the canals, the architecture, the interesting shops and more . . . .


  1. you'll love Amsterdam, for sure :)

    One correction: up until 2009 the official total length of bicycle lanes/paths in NL was 17.000 km. Then the Cyclists Union sent out a team to investigate and measure again. Turned out: 29.000 km.

    Happy cycling :)

  2. Hi Kathy, you have been very busy in your trip planning! Those are some interesting facts that you collected. When I was a student in Spain, one year I had several Dutch roommates, and some wonderful Dutch friends. I am sure your journey will bring me some fond memories. I bet the next 35 days will fly by!

  3. 35 days! That's exciting and I'm sure you know that it will fly by. Happy planning!

  4. Hello Amsterdamize (cool blog), Thank you so much for the correction in total bike lanes/paths in the Netherlands. I love it! I shall edit my post to reflect the correction. And yes, I think I will love Amsterdam too.

    Hi Maya, thanks so much for your comments. I heard that the Dutch are not only the tallest in Europe but are considered to be among the friendlies too. 35 days I agree will totally fly by. I'm trying not to stress but enjoy the ride. :)

    Hi Annie, thanks so much for your comments. I can't believe how fast time is flying by but I'll try to just relax and enjoy the trip planning and preparations. Until I get to the packing stage that is. :) Then I'll probably hit another valley moment. :0

    Thanks again everyone.

  5. Yahoo -- I'm ready. At least this trip I don't have to pack:-) Seriously, it sounds as if you will get a tremendous hands-on feel for the Netherlands. Love describing sections of Amsterdam as "whimsical"! Mahalo for the learning adventure as well. So excited that you will be blogging as you go. Can we expect videos?

  6. Hi M, thanks so much for your comments. It wouldn't be an authentic Trekcapri Adventure without some videos. :) I really haven't seen any great videos on Amsterdam(unlike for Scotland & Spain & Italy), so I'm going to hopefully create one that will capture the essence and beauty of Amsterdam. :)

  7. You're doing a great job preparing. And thanks for the mention. I love helping if I've been there. I just wish I could go back.

  8. The planning is half the fun, isn't it?

    You are doing a great job with your research - keep up the good work! I'm looking forward to traveling with you thru your blog.

  9. How exciting! I love the countdown before a trip. I'll be really interested in hearing more about Bruges. I know nothing about it, but have heard that it's very beautiful.

  10. Hi Marta, thanks again so much for writing those two great posts. I really appreciated the information and insight into many of Amsterdam's sights. I really love the idea of going to the flowermarket & shops and going window shopping.

    Hi Nancy, thanks so much for your comments. It's very fun learning as I plan. I'll do what I can to prepare and keep an open mind when I get there to maybe go with the flow too. :)

    Hi Sandra, thanks so much for your comments. I don't know too much about Bruges yet. I'll be reading a bit more then going a post after Amsterdam. From what I have learned so far though, Bruges appears to be a stunning city with some interesting sights, one in particular that I'm really excited to see. I'll make sure to blog a post while in Bruges for you.

    Thanks everyone for the support and interest. Have a wonderful weekend.

  11. I also visited Bruges with the same friend I went to Amsterdam with. She has visited before so it was nice to be with someone who knew her way around. It is a really nice little place. I don't remember it as being too big. We took a very cool canal boat ride (highly recommend). The architecture and canals are similar to Amsterdam. It is the Dutch part of Belgium which could be the reason why. I also remember it being very famous for very good chocolate.

  12. Hi G, thanks so much for your comments. Bruges looks very beautiful and I am looking forward to my visit there. I do want to take a canal ride too, which is why I stretched it to a longer two night day trip from Amsterdam. Should be fun. Thanks for the recommendation and the insight into what to expect there. I think I will really enjoy my stay.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.