Friday, September 25, 2009

Amsterdam: City of Bikes and Buildings

Bikes, bikes. bikes.  Almost hit by a few, and nearly bought one to ship home.  We're loving the simple black Dutch city bikes we see everywhere. Forget the carseat, mothers prop their blonde-headed children up on a tiny seat on their handlebars and wheel them to school.  A few stow them in the wooden cargo box on their long-framed courier bikes.  We love the simplicity and functionality of these commuters...if only pdx would ditch the fixies and go Dutch.

Today we took a canal cruise to get a new perspective on the Amsterdam skyline.  The mix of traditional stepped gables and modern glass creates a beautiful juxtaposition.  One of our favorite styles was the ornamented bell gable. Incredible details and enviable craftsmanship made us drool.

We learned that the oldest buildings in town were constructed at a deliberate slant with hoist points at the gable to aid in the process of getting large goods (furniture) to the top levels.  Most homes here are extremely narrow and designed with steep, winding staiways to save valuable real estate.

Tomorrow we head to Bruges, Belgium and we're excited to drown ourselves in handcrafted chocolates and small-batch beers.  Cheers!


amanda said...

Actually, we do have some pretty sweet dutch bike importers here in town. Check out clevercycles on Hawthorne. I think there's another one, too.