I am starting think of suggesting that people come to Amsterdam at least three times.
Once to experience the city on foot.
The second time to see it by bike.
And the third time to explore it on the water.
Amsterdam looks different from all these angles. Beautiful - yes, always - but different. When I'm on a boat I always notice so many things I really don't see when cycling or walking around.
I have to remind myself of this as last year's "investment" into a boat we could take out on the canals has proven quite the errr. money pit. This is exactly what people warned us it would be. They told us we may as well bury our money in the ground and forget where we leave it because it will cost that much and we certainly won't make any money if/when we sell it. So far our experience has 100% proved them correct. The boat has needed more repairs and work than we expected and these have cost more and taken longer than we imagined. We've even missed the warm and sunny beginnings of two summer seasons because the boat wasn't water-ready, and of course as soon as it was in the water, the weather turned...
But then we have an evening like we did recently when we were out on the water with friends, snacks and a few bottles of wine (and no little boy - thanks babysitter!) and while the sun didn't clear the cloud it stayed dry and (just) warm enough for us to take in the pretty city we are all so flipping lucky to live in, and it's during these evenings that I do see our bloody-expensive boat as a real investment.
Here are some photos from that evening...
(Yes, that's a multi-storey bike park in the photo above!!)
AMSTERDAM TRAVEL TIP
You can also experience a boat ride like this if you hire a private boat with a skipper for an evening. Alternatively you can just rent a boat that you drive yourselves around the city (like we did this one time here), and don't knock the idea of doing a canal cruise in one of the tour boats as they still allow you to see the city from the water and they're easily the most affordable way of doing it.
Frances M. Thompson
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