Date: May 9, 2015
Written by: Xiaoqing Fu and Elaine Zhang
One day in Amsterdam
Time went by so quickly and none of us could believe that today is the second last day for this trip in Europe. Today, we were not assigned to do any specific visit or lecture; it was a free day in Amsterdam. Everyone is very excited about this and we divided into small groups according to our interests.
The adventure in Amsterdam city started with taking a train early in the morning. This was the first time we took a train in Europe. In fact, public transportation in the Netherlands is very convenient and well established, and those trains run 24 hours a day across the country between various cities.
We chose the option of group day pass to get the best deal. It took around 70 minutes from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, and the travel frequency was every 15 to 25 minutes.
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ Capital City. The city was famous for its elaborated canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades. Amsterdam has more than 100kms of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The 3 main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersqracht, dug in 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, from concentric belts around the city, known as the Grachtengordel.
We chose canal cruises to see the city’s canals and also the beautiful and historical buildings around the sides of the canal. It was an amazing experience taking the canal tour, which not only gives us an overview of this spectacular city, but more importantly, it shows how human’s wisdom from generation to generation can create and maintain the things.
Cycling was one of the city’s characters and we could see bike everywhere. According to one of our tour guides, Amsterdam is both the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world and, with an urban area population of over 1.1 million people, it is also the most bicycle-friendly city with over a million people in the world. In Amsterdam, over 60% of trips are made by bike in the inner city and 40% of the trips are made by bike overall in the greater city area. Walking in the city of Amsterdam, you can really see bicycles everywhere, with people coming and going.
During the day, some of the group also visited the world famous and biggest flower garden- KeuKenhof Flower Fields. Being the most beautiful flower garden in the world, KeuKenhof have more than 7 million bulbs in bloom this spring, with a total of 800 varieties of tulips. The highlight this year in KeuKenhof is the spectacular flower bulb mosaic of a ‘self-portrait’ of Vincent van Gogh made up of thousands of tulips.
Our amazing and unforgettable one-day tour in Amsterdam finished with a late train back to Rotterdam. As we all have to pack our stuff and leave for Edmonton early in the next morning, we had to say a quick Good-bye to this beautiful city.