On the 16th of May, after a pleasant stay in Dinant we headed north towards Amsterdam. We decided to stop in Antwerp for burgers and a little stroll. Antwerp has been influenced by the Dutch over the years, especially in its architecture, and so it felt like a natural transit point. We returned our rental car in Amsterdam which we had driven all the way from Milan, Italy. It was the fourth and final rental car of our journey. Word to the wise….don’t try to drive in Amsterdam!
Arranged through Homeexchange.com we had a small attic apartment waiting for us in Amsterdam. The apartment was small but sufficient. It was an old canal house on Kerkstraat near the Rijksmusem which means it was very centrally located just outside what was once the old city walls, a 20 minute walk to the train station.
If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam you know that it is nothing less than a feast for the senses. It doesn’t matter where you go, the canals, the bicycle traffic, the unending rows of medieval homes, and the raucus energy of the colourful locals and visiting party goers, together, are almost overwhelming. In just a week we were able to take in two incredible walking tours, a visit to the Rijksmuseum, the Holocaust Names Memorial, and the Van Gogh musuem, the Amsterdam Dungeon, three long bike rides and dozens of long walks through the serpentine streets.
It’s hard to choose a highlight but something that will surely stay with us is hearing the gratitude that, all these years later, our tour guides expressed to “the Canadians” for liberating The Netherlands in World War II. We also loved being immersed in the bicycle culture which we hadn’t experienced since visiting Copenhagen in 2015. Europe has so much to teach us about how to build livable cities.