I arrived in Amsterdam today - a couple of days before students arrive - and I quickly realized how completely I forgot how many bikes are here and how comprehensive the bike infrastructure is. Seeing Amsterdam for the first time last year was the reason I developed this course, yet I was still shocked at how many bikes there are here.
Flying here was both uneventful and completely off hours. I made it with only one connecting flight (in Seattle) but I landed at the equivalent of midnight in Eugene, an hour I already struggle to stay up until these days. In Amsterdam, it was 9am, so to get on to local time I had to minimize any sleep. I made it until 3pm and took an 1.5 hour nap.
Afterward, I went back out on the town by bike (my rental bike on the left) to begin to acclimate to how things work here - the norms, the signs, the pavement markings, scooters, vehicles, etc. Plus, I was trying to get any orientation to the layout of the city that I could, but I'm thinking it is nearly impossible in such a short time. Canals limit crossing and there is no street grid to make order. The relatively tall buildings (3-5 floors) block out any tall landmarks, so all I did was find some locals on bikes and just followed them around the city. That was fun - I had no idea where I was going, but it was a great way to get comfortable with the norms of the road.
So far so good. I'm looking forward to having students arrive. We have a full agenda for eight days with a lot of riding. I hope my legs hold out.