Thursday, June 13, 2024

WANDERLUST: Time out in the city of bicycles

Jamie Neben sails into the city of tulips, canals and the original Heineken factory. Welcome to Amsterdam!

Located in northwestern Europe, Amsterdam is known for its stunning tulip fields and beautiful canals. Most of the Netherlands are made up of naturally flat low-lying plains hence the name Nether-lands.

The Dutch reclaimed around 17 per cent of the land from the ocean to build entire city—little wonder, the Dutch are known to be great engineers.

Getting around in the Netherlands is very easy. They have excellent public transport and bicycles, of course! Over 70 per cent of city dwellers use a bicycle to navigate their way. So mind your step, it’s also a bit dangerous form of transport.

I arrived in Vlissingen in the southwest for a few boat repairs. Vlissingen has been an important part of shipping for 100s of years. It used to be the main harbour for the Dutch East India company and is still home to some amazing ship builders.

I recommend taking the short train ride or cycling to Middleburg. The city has some amazing architecture and windmills. The market next to city hall was a highlight of mine. Middleburg is the capital of the province of Zeeland and this is where Able Tasman got the name for New Zealand.

Amsterdam offers a three-hour train ride, north from its quirky architecture to its waterways’ coffee shops and restaurants that just do eggs or potatoes and even a vegan butcher.

Amsterdam had grown into a walled city centred on the present Dam, bound by what are now the Singel and the Kloveniersburgwal canals surrounded by wide streets and narrow alleys.

It also has some of the oldest waterways, this design makes it easy to get around by foot and bicycle. If you enjoy museums, this is the place Van Gogh and Anne Frank’s house are located, among a few! For me, the National Maritime Museum where they have full size replicas of tall ships is a place of interest.

Don’t forget to do a canal cruise and check out the original Heineken factory. One of my favourite snacks in Holland was bitterballen. Similar to a scotch egg, they are balls of finely chopped beef or veal that are seasoned with a mixture of spices, then rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried.
Until next time, it’s tot ziens.

Related: WANDERLUST: Stunning beauty! – Croatia

Jamie Neben
Jamie Neben
Notes from superyacht chef and photography buff, Jamie Neben’s travel diary.
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