Amsterdam Series: City of Canal and Bicycles

Two things that you will never fail to notice in Amsterdam is canals and bicycles. Being an avid cyclist myself, I had always known that Amsterdam is the most bicycle friendly city in the world but what I learned was an eye opener.


More about canals and bikes after this short commercial about food.

Almost everywhere I go I see fast food outlets called Febo. This is a chain of self-service fast food. The food is cheap and just perfect for tourists who just want to grab a quick bite to satisfy the hunger pangs.


Their food is sold in a coin operated machine. You just drop the correct amount into the slot and which releases the door. It’s a very simple concept and an excellent idea for a high traffic tourist spot.

Hmmm … I have never seen this in Vancouver before. Maybe it’s a good idea for someone to introduce this in some place like Gastown.


I think this is called Krokets but I know it’s a very popular snack in Holland. The food here is warm and freshly made. It is deep fried with a crunchy breadcrumby outsides and cheesy insides.


The name Amsterdam came from the word Amstel Dam — Amstel being the river that flows through the city. The city centre is made up of concentric canals. It’s confusing for me navigating the place, often going one direction when I should be going the other direction. It doesn’t matter because almost everywhere I turn I come across something interesting. Amsterdam is a very walkable city.


I also took a river cruise which was a welcome chance to sit down. These cruises are great to view the city from a different angle. There are narratives on the cruise but some tourists were yaking away that I could hardly hear anything.


I had never seen so many bicycles in one place. This is a multi-storey bicycle park near the Amsterdam Centraal station. There must be thousands of it there. If you park your bike there, don’t forget where you put it or else it’ll be impossible to find it.

All the bikes here are old, rusty and beaten up bikes. I have not come across Treks, Giants, Specialized, etc … and no road bikes, no mountain bikes.


Oh yeah, I did make a trip to the famous Red Light District in Amsterdam. Oh wow … I have never seen so many sex toys stores and of course the “workers” in front of the windows. It was fun just being there. He he he … there was this guy who was standing in front of a “theatre” telling me that he “knows I am a pervert and it’s OK because everyone is one”! LOL! Oh, I try not to have eye contact with the “workers” … once I did and she flipped her bikini and invited me in. BTW, how much do they normally charge?

Oh, another weird thing about Amsterdam — there are PUBLIC (!) urinals. I initially did not realize those were urinals but there are men who actually do their things right there in broad daylight and in the middle of a square.

I love Amsterdam.


This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. tigerfish

    I think I saw the food vending machine when I was there too. Ingenious.
    This city is such a good role model for cities like San Francisco which is always facing traffic and parking problems.
    But they do have some stupid-looking bike too (I’ve also seen it in the US) – those that you lie almost 45deg flat and ride like a paddle boat – what happens if it rains – the poor chap will be drinking rain water! LOL!

  2. Dana

    What a wonderful series on Amsterdam! I’d love to visit there someday myself.

  3. Klai

    Krokets!! My favorite. They are also yummy in the broodjtes as a sandwich.

    Did you try the frickendal?

  4. Ed Lau

    I love Amsterdam. It’s just such a great place to chill in. Weather is great, everything is beautifully old but clean.

  5. MammaViv

    When we were in Amsterdam, I too was curious about how much these “night workers” charge. I asked my husband to knock on the window to ask, but he refused! 🙂 Now, I’ll never know what the going rate is 🙂 But in all honesty, we went to see the “display” not to ridicule humanity, but to satisfy our growing curiosity of this famous “landmark”. I actually thought that many of these girls were quite beautiful. Now,…… the ones in the back alley, they were alittle more “exotic”. 🙂

  6. Ben

    Hi Tigerfish: Are you referring to a type of bike called recumbents? I have seen these on Vancouver’s streets before and have seen one with a plastic hood to keep the rain out. Anyway, they don’t lean all the way down and does face the road.

    Hi Klai: What is frickendal? I tried looking up the net but found nothing.

    Hi MammaViv: Back alley, you mean there are back allies?!? Man, I missed that. BTW, someone told me it’s 50 euros for a visit to the ladies. Anyone can verify that?

  7. MammaViv

    re: frickendal?
    I wonder if Klai is refering to “frikadel”. That’s a dutch meatloaf. Being part indonesian, that’s a popular homemade dish. yummy!

  8. Chrystal Man

    It is actually “frikandel”. This is a fried sausage.. Also sold “out of the wall” at the Febo.. 🙂 eaten with mayo, ketchup and unions..

  9. Psycho Dude

    Just had to drop by at Chow Times at one time I just knew, and you visited Amsterdam by now I see :). The capital of my country! Of course Febo just had to be shown in Amsterdam, hehe. Myself I prefer the Bram Ladage chain in many other parts of the country but Febo is good as well :).

    Eating out of the wall, bicycles, public urinals, etcetera. It all are the good things about our country :).

Leave a Reply