Friday, July 31, 2015

Final London Day & 1 Day in Amsterdam

Moved from London to Amsterdam on Thursday. In the morning, I spent a couple of hours in the nearby town of Chiswick - just one tube stop away.

Wasn't planning on tipping any flies! There were some recycling bins nearby in the grocery store parking lot right below, so I'm guessing the sign has something to do with that...

Went to the Chiswick House gardens - lovely!

A plane getting to land at Heathrow. My AirBnB house was relatively close to the airport.

Very helpful for deciding which security line to go through...

Easy trip to Amsterdam; staying in a cheap but nice hotel right by the airport. Took it pretty easy last night and today. My big expedition was a Hop On Hop Off tour of the city, both boat and bus. I started with the canal tour.

Houseboats - some smashingly beautiful ones and some that are pretty ratty. You can't move them and you can't add new ones. Moorings are at high premium.

New and old mix throughout the city.

A bicycle parking lot.

The main train station - wow!

They told us it's pretty rare anymore for the canals to freeze so most ice skating is on rinks, but when there's a cold snap, everyone hopes for a freeze so they can skate on some of the canals that get closed. At the other end of the scale, there's a big swimming event once a year where people swim in the canals.

Venice has twice as many bridges as Amsterdam; 400ish compared to 200ish.

Super ritzy hotel.

THE local beer though I doubt you could call it a microbrew...

At the top of many, many homes are pulley systems which allow homeowners (who move on an average of every 8 years) to raise and lower big pieces of furniture since they would not fit up the stairs. Also, many are designated as historic, so every change (even paint color) has to be approved.

I always knew that Amsterdam was full of bicyclists, but hadn't realized how many special "roadways" there are for them, complete with traffic signals. Motorbikes can ride on those paths too. At first I thought people weren't even locking them up, but on closer inspection, they are. Over 60,000 are stolen each year.

I meet the rest of the Kizimani team at the Amsterdam airport tomorrow and fly with them to Nairobi. The next phase of the adventure begins...

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