EU Day 75-76: Riding Rotterdam (NED) to Amsterdam (NED) and rest day

Today’s ride didn’t start off very well, my GPS died and it rained enough to make all my handwritten directions soggy, as well as my shoes and socks. The rain cleared after an hour and didn’t come back for the rest of the day. There was a headwind for most of the way and the skies were looking gloomy, so I only took one photo during the ride.

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When I arrived in Amsterdam, I was impressed by the sheer number of bikes, they outnumber people 10 to 7. I planned to see some museums before dinner, but there was only 90 minutes until closing time for the Van Gogh and Rijkmuseum, both with big lines, and the Anne Frank museum was closed. I wandered around the canals instead and took advantage of the endless sweets and baked goods stores.

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The city is so beautiful and it was easy to get lost in all the streets. Even though there are 165 canals, they have each have little differences like flowers on the bridges, houseboats and boutique shops.

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Dinner was pretty great, I had a steak and some apple pie for dessert. For the rest of the night, I went out to listen to some live jazz at the coffeeshop around the corner.

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The next day was quite rainy, but I was happy to get up early and skip the big queues for the Van Gogh museum. It was amazing to see his art transform over the years, especially after he moved to different cities and discovered new artists. There was also an incredible range of the letters he wrote over the years, mostly to his brother Theo. Unfortunately photos weren’t allowed, they just had stock standard walls for people to take selfies.

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Afterwards I checked out FOAM, the photography museum which had an exhibition called Magnum Contact Sheets. Magnum is a photography agency and the contact sheets are like the drafts of each photographer’s work, containing the negatives of the other shots which were never published. They had the notes from the photographers, explaining what they were looking for, their mistakes and flukes. It was awesome to see some iconic photos in the past hundred years, ranging from wars and political figures to obscure villages.

Before I knew it, it was lunch time and I sought out some fries and the famous stay sauce. I researched a reputable place and the line out the front was a good sign. I went for the large portion and easily demolished it.

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Next up was the walking tour, which was good fun, there was loads of stuff and so many stories. The first bit through the red light district was strictly no cameras (unless you want to be chased out of the streets by one of the ladies) but after there were loads of photo opportunities.

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Afterwards I went to the cheese museum with Sam, a kiwi from the tour and sampled heaps of delicious cheeses. We went to the pub next door for some drinks and decided to try the cheese fondue.

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It looked like a kilo of cheese and we barely made it to the half way point. We were laughing the whole time, wondering how the guy on the other side of the bar was scraping the last bits of cheese with his left over bread. I felt so full and uncomfortable walking back to the hostel, I was really hoping the cheese wouldn’t backfire on me when I cycle tomorrow. I really enjoyed Amsterdam but it was exhausting, I’m looking forward to some proper rest later in the week.

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