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Old 06-16-10, 12:07 PM   #1
NOS88
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Heading to Leiden & Amsterdam in 3 weeks - Suggestions?

Yep, family is headed to Leiden & Amsterdam for a 10 day holiday. Never been there before and am looking for suggestions on cycling routes. Any favorites for those having been there?
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Old 06-16-10, 12:20 PM   #2
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Old 06-16-10, 01:13 PM   #3
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From what I understand the whole country is very bike friendly.

I have a friend that visits Holland every year in late spring and rides around the tulip fields. I think it's the only time he ever rides.

Have fun!
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Old 06-16-10, 01:17 PM   #4
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Yea, stay away from the red light district....just saying!

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Old 06-16-10, 02:06 PM   #5
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Yep, family is headed to Leiden & Amsterdam for a 10 day holiday. Never been there before and am looking for suggestions on cycling routes. Any favorites for those having been there?

Yes, take me with you!!!!
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Old 06-16-10, 03:30 PM   #6
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Had a weekend in Amsterdam and it was on foot. But cycles rule in this city. They have their own Cycle lanes and you get respect from cars and trams. Apparantly- if there is an accident involving a bike and a vehicle- the bike is never at fault. It can make for a few hairy moments if you are on a tram so be ready for sudden stops.

Take it you are hiring bikes- so don't go for Mountain bikes. Gearing is too low. Don't go for road bikes as you won't be able to use the speed---Too many bikes getting in the way. And if you park up- make certain you remember exactly where you left it in the parking lot. One Dutch Hybrid looks exactly like the other 300 Dutch hybrids that are parked there.

And don't eat the same as the locals--Unless you like raw fish- and take the schnapps in moderation.
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Old 06-16-10, 03:58 PM   #7
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Dutch bikes can be very heavy. I rented one for a day last Fall and did a ride from the centre of town to the countryside. If you like art, be sure to visit the Van Gogh and Hermitage museums. The Rijksmeuseum has the Dutch masters and is worthwhile, but a shadow of its normal self during a major renovation.
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Old 06-16-10, 04:44 PM   #8
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Kan jij ook nog een beetje Nederlands praten?

Majority of Dutch speak better English than most Americans; however do learn to say a few words like 'Dank jou" (thank you) and 'fietspad' means bike lane.
Enjoy the local foods/beer!
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Old 06-17-10, 03:59 AM   #9
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Kan jij ook nog een beetje Nederlands praten?

Majority of Dutch speak better English than most Americans; however do learn to say a few words like 'Dank jou" (thank you) and 'fietspad' means bike lane.
Enjoy the local foods/beer!
yeah, not really.
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Old 06-17-10, 07:45 PM   #10
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yeah, not really.
Hey, Junior! Get off of our lawn!

Young whippersnappers got no respect nowdays...
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Old 06-18-10, 05:22 PM   #11
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I've spent a fair amount of time in the Netherlands over the years, on business, and so have some reccs (concentrating on outside of Amsterdam, since there is plenty of info on what to do/see IN Amsterdam).

Since you said you'd be in Leiden, you should check out the museum of antiquities that's associated with the university. There is also an old stone windmill with house on the first floor, that belonged to Rembrandt's family - he lived there as a kid. Well worth a quick visit.

Although the bikes in town or in the cities are mostly your basic commuter bikes, there is a lot of road bike use on the weekends, out in the countryside. You can definitely find road bikes to rent for some longer country-side rides.

An area that makes for some good road cycling is the area to the north and east of Amsterdam, that runs along the IJselmeer (used to be called the Zuider See). (As an aside, one key tip to pronouncing Dutch is that the ij combo is really a single letter, denoting a long I sound. Which is why both the I and the J in IJselmeer are both capitalized. Another tip is ui is pronounced like au (So Haus in German, and Huis in Dutch, both mean house, and all three are pronounced the same. For the same reason, Braun in German and Bruin in Dutch are both brown, and pronounced at least almost the same.))

The towns along the IJselmeer include Edam (known for its cheese), Volendam, and Marken, all of which are pretty quaint. The latter two still have a lot of traditional Dutch small-town life. Closer in to Amsterdam, but also to the northeast, is the Zaanse Schans, sort of a historic park consisting of a bunch of old wooden windmills, restored homes, businesses, etc. Another interesting site is Muiden, which has a pretty cool old castle.

Check out this link:
http://www.mayq.com/Best_european_tr...IJsselmeer.htm

I used to stay in Hilversum a lot, and close to it is a pretty cool old walled town, Naarden, with star-shaped city walls/fortifications, a moat, etc. It has a very tall old church, and you can pay small fee and go up into the bell tower (very Quasimodo-like, with narrow wooden stairs, the exposed bells, etc.), for a great view.

Other towns that are down past Leiden include Delfft (the famous hand-painted pottery), and Gouda (another cheese town). Plus the big tulip fields and the botanical gardens (Kuekenhof Gardens?) are worth a stop

If you can get all the way down to the Hague, that is where the seat of the Netherlands govt. is - also there is a pretty nice casino right next to the beach in Scheveningen (sp?), which is basically a district of the Hague.

You need to eat some good pannekuchen (basically pancakes, but really more like crepes, in that there are desert types, as well as regular meal types), as well as other typical Dutch dishes like schnitzels, Varkenshaas (pork tenderoin, basically). And of course some good ice cream, usually vanilla ice cream with whipped cream, and some other topping. (IJs met shlag, plus whatever the topping is...) I really like IJs met Advocaat, which is an egg liqueur that is bright yellow. Don't know why the name sounds like "lawyer"...)
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