The one thing you can’t ignore in Amsterdam are the bicycles. They are everywhere. When you cross the street you have to watch out for people on bikes, not automobiles. This is a biking culture and you will see people pedaling rain or shine. Bike paths connect the entire country. So, you know that means I had to do a bike tour. Since we were staying in the city center and was pounding the heck out of the pavement on foot, I decided we should go out into the countryside.
After checking out the various companies that offered bike tours I settled on Joy Ride Tour’s Countryside Tour. We met our tour guide at Museumplein, directly behind the Rijksmuseum at 10:15AM for what would be a 4 hour tour.
The ride began with a leisurely pedal through Vondelpark, which among other things has the only outdoor sculpture by Picasso. Then we were off to one of the outer neighborhoods to explore a floating house boat community. The houseboat community is protected from flooding by modern working sluice gates that border a giant freshwater lake. After passing over the freshwater lock system, we rode through Amsterdam’s forest to see a 364 year old windmill.
After the windmill, we were off to a 400 year old working farm. There we discovered the secrets of how Dutch cheese and clogs are made. They had free cheese samples. Which basically were a hook to get you do purchase some cheese. And, it worked, because their smoked cheese was just to yummy to pedal away from.
We re-entered the city riding next to the gently flowing Amstel River through the lovely Queen Beatrix Park eventually ending up back at our starting point near Museumsplein.
If you want to get out of the city and see a different side to Amsterdam, then this tour is a must. Get out, breath the fresh air and take in the scenic beauty that their countryside has to offer.