Amsterdam

I decided on Amsterdam and this amazing city didn't disappoint. When you tell someone you're headed to Amsterdam they give you the look that says, this guy is up to no good going to a place like that. And that might have been the case in 2001 when I visited for the first time, but this time was different. I strategically rented a place outside the center and the "red light district," avoided all museums, and tried to do the opposite of what a tourist might do. Doing this allowed me to see many interesting details of the city. 

Let's start with a few quick observations backed up by stats:

-The Netherlands is consistently among the happiest countries in the world.

-90% of the NL speaks english. In comparison, the US tops out at 94%. 

-They are the tallest people in the world with the men averaging 6ft and the women coming in at an average 5ft, 7in. 

-2nd largest port in the world. 

-More bikes than people! 

-The most densely populated city in Europe, but you'd never know b/c of all the bikes. 

Flevoparkbad street art. 

Flevoparkbad street art. 

Flevoparkbad street artist. The guy on the right (walking into the picture) is a cop. I thought he was there to write the artists a ticket, but after I saw their exchange I think it's legal in this part of town. 

Flevoparkbad street artist. The guy on the right (walking into the picture) is a cop. I thought he was there to write the artists a ticket, but after I saw their exchange I think it's legal in this part of town. 

Classic architecture along the canal. 

Classic architecture along the canal. 

Terrible pic of the Amsterdam port, but that was as close as they would allow me to get. 

Terrible pic of the Amsterdam port, but that was as close as they would allow me to get. 

My best Jack Johnson "brushfire fairytales album" impersonation. The Dutch couldn't care less about the rain. They're still happy even when it's grey out. I'll make sure to remember this when I'm back home and it's March. 

My best Jack Johnson "brushfire fairytales album" impersonation. The Dutch couldn't care less about the rain. They're still happy even when it's grey out. I'll make sure to remember this when I'm back home and it's March. 

These are actually some of the nicer bikes I found in Amsterdam. The Hollanders just don't care about their A to B transpiration. 

I didn't know it at the time I took the pic, but I found out today while listening to a Rick Steves podcast, that these are called Stolperstein "stumbling blocks" in German. They're  monuments created by artist   Gunter Demnig   to commemorate a victim of the Holocaust. They exist throughout Europe but mainly in Germany.  

I didn't know it at the time I took the pic, but I found out today while listening to a Rick Steves podcast, that these are called Stolperstein "stumbling blocks" in German. They're monuments created by artist Gunter Demnig to commemorate a victim of the Holocaust. They exist throughout Europe but mainly in Germany.