Railroads, Rivers, Relocation

Today, we took an RER commuter train to Paris-Gare du Nord Station, where we boarded a Thalys high-speed train. Following a three-hour train ride, we arrived in the Dutch city of Amsterdam, where we’ll be spending the next two days.

Amsterdam is a city like none I have visited before. It’s sort of a Scandinavia-Venice hybrid with a lot of unique character. Electric cars are everywhere, and the houses are tall, narrow, and lean odd directions, like something out of Harry Potter. And of course, walking down the street is like a game of Frogger or Crossy Road due to the overwhelming abundance of fast-moving bicycles. 

We met our guide for a three-hour walking tour of the city in the city’s central square. We visited a lot of the city, which is very walkable due to its relatively small size. We saw many examples of the city’s unique architecture.

Many of the buildings date back to the 1600s, when the Dutch controlled a vast colonial empire and ruled large portions of the sea. The city is also crisscrossed by eighty-eight canals and has hundreds of bridges. Trams and trolleys run through the streets which date back to medieval times. 

After our tour, we returned to our hotel (Hotel Okura), ate a pizza, and went to sleep.

Amsterdam is a unique city with its own unique culture, with awesome old houses, beautiful waterfront neighborhoods, and a generally forward-thinking culture (public transportation, walkable/bikable, and renewable energy), and it definitely exceeded my expectations. We have one more day here, and I intend to make the most of it!

- Hayden M. Strong

© Knstrong 2013