When thinking of Amsterdam usually what pops into most people’s minds are sweet thoughts of all the bicyclers. You know, since this is the most bike-friendly city in the world. I know that was the case for Derek and me.
We both had it on our bucket list to rent bikes in Amsterdam. In our minds it appeared easy. Think about it. The streets are pancake flat and there are generous bike lanes everywhere. So you’d expect biking to be quite doable.
Yet despite all the pictures you see, movies you watch, or blogs you read, you never really sense just how busy these streets are with cyclists. And until you get the grasps of the bike rules here, leisurely biking can be a bit of a nightmare.
We just couldn’t shake our yearn for wanting to try out biking here in this beautiful city. It would have been a crime had we not at least tried. So, we bit the bullet and went for it. And after a while, the intimidation seemed to melt away. The key to our survival was avoiding any major parts of town. And paying full attention, which wasn’t the easiest since there were distractions from every which way. While I know for a fact we didn’t come across as locals, it sure was fun acting like one.
After cycling through the city for a bit, we decided to spend most of the day across the river riding along the old roads of a small area called Durgerdam. This was just the sweetest little village. And to think it was only a five-minute ferry ride away. Small colorful cottages. Narrow cobblestone streets. Luscious green farmland as far as we could see. The best part: it was all so quiet.
While this area is just a stone’s throw from center city, you’d think it was a hidden piece of treasure that no one had yet discovered. The loudness of the city seemed to have somehow vanished. No tour buses. No flocks of crowds. It was just glorious! As we rode along the pathways, all we could hear were the peaceful sounds of the birds chirping above and the random hellos as we passed other bikers from time to time. For the most part, it was just us and nature.
We even made a new furry friend along the way.
She seemed to really gravitate towards Derek.
Me, not so much…
This lovely little settlement served as the perfect city escape. I really don’t know how this slice of paradise has been kept a secret for all these years, but I sure was thankful for it.