- I amsterdam letters photo site (May 26)
- Hard Rock Café (May 26)
- Van Gogh Museum (May 27)
- Anne Frank Huis [Anne Frank Museum] (May 27)
- Stedelijk Museum (May 30)
- Rijiksmuseum (May 31)
- Gassen Diamond Factory (May 31)
Ring! Ring! The sound of a bicycle bell snaps me back to attention as I allow the bicycle to pass. Here in Amsterdam—along with its busy, winding cobbled streets and canals—the bicycle is the most common form of transportation. In the early morning, from the veranda of Hotel Aalders, one can hear the soft pedaling of several bicyclists heading for work or school. From the hotel, if one heads down the street and around the corner, one can see the hubbub of parents on bicycles taking their children to school. What surprise to see mothers in heels skillfully maneuvering their bicycles and charges through the traffic to school!
Prior to our tour with Trafalgar, my family and I arrived four days early in Amsterdam to explore the city on our own. We stayed at Hotel Aalders, conveniently located in the Museum-Kwartier (Museum Quarter) within walking distance of the Rijiksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, diamond factories, and Stedelijk Museum. Public transportation in Amsterdam is very convenient—a tram cuts through the center of the city, making it easy to visit the important sights of the city.
Tip: If you are planning to stay at least 3 days and 3 nights in Amsterdam, it may be wise to invest in the I amsterdam city card. The perks are unlimited public transportation usage of the metro, tram, and bus; and some free admissions or discounts at participating vendors/restaurants. There are three options: 24-hour, 48-hour, and 72-hour cards. See the official website for details.
On the dreary morning we arrived, we checked in at the hotel and then took a walk in the Museum-Kwartier. We passed by the closed museums and headed to the iconic I amsterdam letters, where we took photos. Passing through the tidy park, we passed by the ornately decorated Rijksmuseum as we headed towards the main city center.