I was just a 22 year old and out of the country for only the second time in my life. Needless to say, I was wide-eyed and amazed as I walked around this new found paradise called Amsterdam. I started at a bike rack for a few minutes noticing the constant drop-off and pick-up of the bikes. There was no organization to it and there certainly weren’t any locks. People were just grabbing and dropping off communal bikes!
I walked over slowly and made sure I wasn’t going to be stealing somebody’s bike, (I’d accidentally done this one time before… long story) and when I was sure, I picked one up. It was old, yet charming. It definitely looked liked something out of the 1900’s, but I got on and started pedaling down the path. Cruising through Amsterdam on a bike was certainly an amazing experience. There were all sorts of old churches, amazing canals, beautiful people and shops full of baked sweets and treats. The smells and sounds of this amazing old city whizzed by me from all directions, I had dreamt of this for a very long time, I was in paradise.
Wooosh! A motorbike fires past me on the path. I had no idea motorized vehicles were allowed on them. I noted to myself that I need to be more careful during my cruising. As I pulled around a corner, I noticed a large group of tourists on bicycles all listening to this dutch man. It was clear to me that he ran some sort of bicycle tour, and it got me excited. I slowly crept up and joined the group unnoticed, and after a bit of a history lesson (and a reasonable payment of 60 euros), we were off on the most amazing bicycle cruise I’ve ever been on…. I wondered for a minute if it would compare to the Canadian river cruise I had enjoyed 3 years earlier.
We flowed in and out of Amsterdam’s old charming streets, we passed by thousands of flowers and we rode our bikes right past the Queen’s Palace! I had no idea biking around a city could be so fun, and I only wish that we were able to do this in my home city of Toronto. Unfortunately where I live there is no such thing as bike paths and we aren’t even allowed to use them on the sidewalk. Therefore, doing a European bicycle cruise was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life.
I can only imagine how amazing doing bike cruises in other European destinations must be. There are so many amazing destinations that I want to bike through now that I tried it in Holland. If I ever get the chance, I will bicycle all throughout Austria, Switzerland and Italy!