Monday, December 12, 2005

Going Dutch

Hi folks! I'm checking in with you tonight from the lovely city of

Amsterdam. Well, maybe 'lovely' is a debatable description for Amsterdam -- there's lots of lovely here, lots of charm, lots of the absurd here though! I'm in Europe for 10 days ... mostly business, but of course with a little sightseeing thrown in.

Where do I start? Oh, without a doubt ... I know exactly where to start: Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles! As you can imagine, I fell in love with this city five minutes after sitting down for an espresso at a cafe on a cold Sunday morning and watching dozens and dozens of cyclists ride by. Old style bikes, no gears, no high tech clothes, no helmets, just an entire culture going about their daily lives via the art of pedaling. Biking to work. Biking to the store. Bike baskets full of bread, of flowers, of gifts. Couples biking side by side. Young kids on bikes -- people in their 70s on bikes. People in suits on bikes -- in dresses -- in uniforms. Bike racks everywhere. Bikes as far as the eye can see -- against buildings, against benches, all along the canals (which are everywhere in Amsterdam). Wonderful bike lanes have overtaken the city. It's so easy to fall victim to the intoxicating charm of an old European city -- throw in the fact that Amsterdam is THE city of bikes -- and well, you can see why the temptation to hop on a bike and pedal along endless canals for days on end is almost more than I can resist.

I spent the weekend roaming the city ... I took it all in: the quaint and the chaotic; the conservative residential areas and the liberal -- well, liberal everything!; high tech and centuries old; up-scale and "wouldn't step foot in after dark!" Off to a great start in the Netherlands ... but, back to work now! I'll check in later once I've explored the city more. Ciao for now!


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