The only close to that experience I can remember is being in Prague in September :). So many tourists on the streets, it’s difficult to walk. Weekend or weekday – does not matter. Lot’s of people everywhere. Lots of bicycles. People, cars, and bikes are trying to get from point A to point B and back without even pretending they are following the rules :). If it were by me, I would choose different dates to come here.
The city tries to survive this tourist invasion. Honestly, I can’t even blame anybody. On the big scheme of things, that’s their city; it belongs to people who live there, not tourists. My local friend commented on the poor quality of service here in Amsterdam, and in Holland in general. And sadly, I have to agree with her. But once again, I can hardly blame anybody.
In addition to really wild traffic on the sidewalks, the next problem we’ve faced was the operation hours of most of the places where you can eat. Being not just American, but also from the North, and even for a person from the North an extremely early riser, not being able to get breakfast on Saturday before 9 AM was a real problem. I am up by 5 AM regardless of the day of the week, so you get the situation :). On Saturday morning, although my sleep time was adjusted for the previous 31-hour day:), I was up by 6-20. We tried both breakfast places recommended by our host, but one was closed till 9, the other one was opened by 7-30, but they said, that they might have some breakfast “in an hour.” A couple of other places where just opened (about 8 AM), but took our idea to have breakfast in such a time on Saturday as an insult :).
Finally, one place close to the central train station was opened and had decent food, good coffee, and even fruits 🙂
Most of the time we travel, we enjoy trying some local street food, and I have some “calorie budget” allocated for that. One very satisfying experience was baked potatoes:
I am well aware of the fact that in the very touristy places the street food is geared toward tourists:), and I leverage my expectations. Here I was somewhat disappointed with the quality of “tourist-oriented” sweets: they were way too sweet, so my hopes of Amsterdam being a cross of Helsinki and Genoa did not come true.
ris says that I should not project Helsinki to Amsterdam because Helsinki is “not a tourist city.” I think the Helsinki can be quite a tourist city at times, and I know for a fact that cakes and pastries there are always excellent, regardless of the location.
Only by the end of our stay in Amsterdam, I’ve figured out how to find good sweets. The church cafe ended up to be the best!
We did not use any public transportation at all, and I do not think we needed it. The max walking time we had to walk between any two points was 40 min, most time less than that, and we’ve enjoyed each and single moment of these walks, even when we would get lost occasionally.
The weather was fabulous all the time, with one sweltering day (which was just a typical summer day by my standards), and the rest just right, even though the original forecast looked cooler. We’ve been outside most of the time or at least significant portions of the time, and I’ve noticed that I’ve got not too much tan, and nothing close to a sunburn. Of cause, I did apply sunscreen, but it won’t save me in Illinois!