Ten things I learned in The Netherlands…

I usually like to sum up my trips with a list of things I learned while traveling.  The trip Bill and I took to The Netherlands was our first time really visiting Holland, though we had been to Belgium and Luxembourg, which are the Be and Lux parts of Benelux.  I thoroughly enjoyed the week in The Netherlands, despite missing my dogs.  So here it is… ten things I learned in The Netherlands.

1.  Bikes are EVERYWHERE.  Seriously, everyone in The Netherlands seems to enjoy riding bikes.  If you visit, you can rent them with ease.  I didn’t rent a bike during this trip because I spent enough time riding them as a kid.  But it really did appear to be a great way to get around.  I saw a lot of happy looking families riding together.  It was pretty cool.

2.  Pot is not everywhere.  A lot of people think there are coffeeshops on every corner in The Netherlands.  I didn’t see any in Apeldoorn, though for all I know, I was looking in the wrong places. I only saw one in Haarlem, though I know for a fact there are more there.   In Amsterdam, pot is everywhere.  It is quite the tourist attraction, along with sex.  Buying marijuana in cities with coffeeshops is no big deal at all.  It’s totally legal.  And space cakes can be fun, as long as you don’t overdo it.

3.  Beer comes in smaller bottles and glasses than it does in Germany.  In a way, I kind of liked this because it made it easier to try different ones.  I did discover Jopen beer in The Netherlands, which I will be looking for here.  It’s good stuff.

4.  Many Dutch people are very tall.  I say this as a woman who is only 5’2″ tall.  I would have thought no one would think of me as a local simply because I am so short, but quite a few people spoke Dutch to me before realizing I am American.  That, in and of itself, is kind of cool.

5.  A lot of Dutch words resemble German words.  A lot resemble English words.  And a lot are totally unrecognizable to the uninitiated.  Fortunately, many people in The Netherlands speak English beautifully.

6.  Free WiFi is widely available, much more so than it is in Germany.  I also found that it’s easier to watch YouTube videos in The Netherlands.  They aren’t as strict as Germany is about copyrights.

7.  If you want tap water in a restaurant, you can get it.  You don’t have to buy bottled water.  It’s totally fine and even offered.  Bill and I actually prefer German style bubbly water, which not everyone had.  I was surprised about that.

8.  Stores aren’t necessarily closed on Sundays like they are in Germany.  Some are closed.  Some have shorter hours.  You won’t have to sit on your can on Sunday, though.

9. Sex is no big deal.  Prostitution is legal and you can see women selling their wares in the Red Light district of Amsterdam.  Don’t take pictures of them, though.  I didn’t try to because I had been warned by Samantha Brown.

10.  If you are in Amsterdam on a Saturday, you may see some rather raunchy hen and stag parties in progress.  For that reason, I think it would be funny if one of the Duggars honeymooned in Amsterdam.  I think it would cause Ma and Pa Duggar to have a stroke.  I almost had a stroke when I saw the huge masses of people walking away from the train station.  It was crazy.

Pretty tulips!  I think these were made of wood, though.
Bird takes off in Haarlem.

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