Sunday, April 21, 2024

Travel Tuesday

I'm not going to bore you with regular details of our trip. Instead, I'm going to bore you with the unusual stuff.

1. We were an hour late getting to Amsterdam because in Atlanta, some people had to be removed from out flight. We have no idea what it was all about as we were not aware of any disruption or medical emergency. Nor did police or security come on board. They just made an announcement that they had to get the luggage of the people leaving the plane. Hunting for it through the luggage of 250+ people took some time. Then, they--3 people--were escorted off the plane by the flight attendants. I wish we knew what that was all about. I'm nosy like that. It took an hour. Many, many passengers missed their connecting flights in Amsterdam. Lucky for us it was our destination.

2. There was some confusion amongst us as to what countries comprised The Netherlands. Actually, the correct term is called The Kingdom of the Netherlands which is made up of 4 countries: 1. The Netherlands has 12 provinces which includes North Holland and South Holland. The other countries are 2. Curacao,  3. St. Maartens and 4. Aruba. Okay, now that we have that cleared up, let's move on.

3. The Netherlands has the most bikes of anywhere in the world! I have never seen so many bikes in all my life. Turns out, there are 1.8 bikes per person here--881,000 while there are only 200,000 cars. On average, only 19% of the population use their cars on a daily basis. Holy smokes! Our tour guide said that leaving your bike is just like leaving your car in East St. Louis. When you get back, it's either been stolen or the tires removed! Even if the bike is locked, things will be stolen besides the tires--seats, handlebars, etc. He said that if you are lucky, you can find your bike or parts at the local flea market! Okay, I made that part up about East St. Louis, but knew that anyone who has seen Vacation with Chevy Chase, OR lives in St. Louis will know exactly what I mean! A few more interesting bike facts in Amsterdam:
    A. the German occupation in 1940 started, Amsterdam cyclists purposely slowed up convoys and refused to give way to German vehicles.
   B. There are 477 miles of bike paths in Amsterdam.
   C. Amsterdam has the largest museum in the country and you can ride your bike through it!
   D. 75% of the people still ride their bikes in the snow.
   E. 100,000 of the bikes are stolen every year.
   F. 15,000 bikes wind up in the canals every year. They are either stolen and tossed or acts of vandalism. I'm sure teens think it's funny to toss someone's bike in the water. The government organizes a clean-up day each year to fish out all the bikes.
   G. No one--including kids wear helmets while on a bike. We saw so many kids propped on the bike with their parents--even babies without proper seats. Bikers are respected and given the right of way, so there are fewer fatalities. Children here are taught road safety from the age of 5.

4. This city has the most unusual architecture I've ever seen. The ducks are huge--more like the bodies of Canadian geese. Their legs are longer too. We saw one standing on one leg. I didn't know ducks did that. 

5. They have boats with bars on them. I guess they are party boats. In Nashville, there are party buses, party hot tubs, all kinds of moving bars and pedal taverns. If we had canals downtown, there would be floating bars too!

Okay, that's it for now.

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