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23 May 2012 @ 05:57 pm
Amsterdam – Of bikes and trams… (transportation)  

“Goedemorgen” Good morning as they would say in Dutch (Let’s assume I wrote this in the morning so I can sound smart with a word I actually know!)

So A will be writing about all the fun stuff later however I really wanted to talk about the transportation in Nederland because it is very practical.

I guess the best way to talk about it is to break it down by methods of transportation:

1) Cars – Who even drives there? Ok, so you will see cars there but really there is nothing special about them. in fact, all there cars look outdated and less luxurious. The streets are less crowded with cars than in Toronto which makes it faster to travel within the city.

2) Bikes – As we may have all heard, Nederlands are big on bikes. If you think Toronto now has a lot of bikes due to those BIXIE bikes being installed across the city, think again.

Some locals told us that every single person in Amsterdam has a bicycle! So if the population is 800,000, you can just imagine how many bikes are rolling around and that doesn’t even include tourists renting them.

They have their own dedicated bike lanes, I don’t mean like a small little space in the streets like in Toronto, but a full half sidewalk just for them. They even have their own traffic lights!

What really threw A and I back were how they had parking lots for their bikes, not 1 floor but 3 floors for only bikes and yes they were completely full.

So pay attention when you’re walking around because you don’t want to get hit by being in the wrong lane :)

This is the 3 floors of bikes!!

Lots of bikes!

3) Trams – similar to streetcars, they are quite efficient but a little more advanced than Toronto.

They have stop announcements and a digital screen that shows the next stop. Not too impressive but still good.

They have a digital “tap” machine where you need to tap your card to get in and tap it again to get out. you don’t even need to get in through the front, there are back doors you can enter through.

This is me, waiting for a tram.

What I really likes was how organized their schedules were. Some stops had digital boards that tell you how long, thanks to GPS, the next tram will arrive. Also, you know when you read the bus stop maps and try to figure out if that bus is going to where you want? Well here, they don’t show you a map. They simply show you each stop it goes to and shows you exactly where you are so you will never get confused.

One of the types of digital boards. We didn’t get a shot with the time on it.

I recommend taking a Tram to get around or renting a bike if you feel brave enough to engulf yourself in the sea of bikes! Beware, you may be given an orange bike meaning you are a tourist so that locals know to avoid you :)

Me and A waiting for a tram.

4) Other – You can also take boats I’m sure visiting your neighbour as everyone has a boat in their backyard. No lie! And then you can even take the subway!

This makes Amsterdam looks really beautiful.

Here’s the entrance to the subway.

That’s it for now but I’ll be back as a guest blogger.