After a late evening arrival to Amsterdam, I saw the city in daylight for the first time this morning. It's objectively one of the most picturesque European cities I've been to. Every street corner is a postcard.
Oddly, as I walked up from the outer canals, I noticed one thing: At 8:30 a.m. on a Friday morning -- rush hour, by all known Western standards -- I was the only pedestrian on the sidewalk.
Everyone -- EVERYONE -- was on a bicycle.
I knew Amsterdam was a cycling city, like Copenhagen, but I don't think I REALLY knew.
In anticipation of traveling to the famous Keukenhof in the afternoon, I had a nice lunch at Vinnies, which is close to the central train station, where my tulip adventure was to begin.
Vinnies is small, but the menu is very good. I chose a warm lentil salad with asparagus and a poached egg, and it was really delicious! I half-planned to come again later in my trip since there were some other things on the menu I wanted to try, but I never did make it back.
No photos, sorry, but the presentation was lovely.
I chose today to see the tulips because the weather forecast for the rest of my time in Amsterdam was iffy. As it turned out, I needn't have worried for opportunities. But it was still nice to see Keukenhof on a weekday -- as it was, I can't imagine the madness that is a nice spring weekend!
I took a train from Centraal Station to the airport, then a bus from the airport that goes straight to Keukenhof. The ticket price is a bit exorbitant, but I paid it, figuring it would be the only time in my life I would.
The park is big, well-manicured, and very, very, very colorful. And when it's crowded, it's a bit of a zoo, honestly.
There are some big buildings that house particular flower shows and events, but the most enjoyable part for me was finding a patch in the sun near some blooms and watching the people pass by.
I'm not really a flower person, so I don't think I appreciated it as much as I could have, but I'm glad I went -- if nothing else than to see what all the hype is about.
After being deposited safely back at the central train station in the late afternoon, I wandered south(west) in the direction of my AirBnB. Along the way, I stopped in this lovely shop, Thuykskamer, because it had some unique things in the window display, and there was a sign that they served tea.
When I went in, there was a friendly dog, Max, waiting to greet me. He wasn't overly enthused to receive a petting, but he was a pleasant enough installment. When I asked about the tea, the shopkeeper seemed genuinely surprised -- it must not be asked after often.
But she served up a tasty cup, and I asked her a bit about the shop. She said she had been there a year, and it was tough. She'd have to make a decision in September about whether to continue renting the space -- she was waiting to see how business went in the summer months. At any rate, she was planning a one-year celebratory party anyway. As she should! I don't envy small business owners like that. There's a lot of stress.
The shop was nice, and I bought a small notebook to replace the one I always keep in my purse that's almost full.