On the third day of the trip I cycled to Amsterdam.
During the 45 km I had two showers of rain. Both came with ample warning of dark clouds and light rain before. Checking weather radar is highly recommended for bike trips! I put on my rain gear in advance, so when the downpour arrived, I did not get wet. See my tips for biking in almost any weather for the gear that I use.
Between the cities there are fewer lanes, but usually a Separated two-way bike line. This makes riding more pleasant than on the street itself. On some small roads you have just a dashed line. Very small roads however are often turned into bike roads. I passed one little village where the main Street to the houses was such a street. In Germany this feels unthinkable.
In Amsterdam I stayed two nights in the Generator Amsterdam hostel. It is located in an old building which also could be a more expensive hotel from the general appearance. It used to be a medical school. On the back there is a nice park, this is an appealing location for a vacation.
On the first evening there I took one of the promoted bike routes to the very center and the central station. It way Monday 17:00, and traffic was murder. I was nearly touched three times, once by a car, once by a scooter and once by some other cyclist. In general people seem to think little of the traffic rules which made it very difficult for me to figure out where other people were going. Perhaps I am too pedantic but it reminded me of documentaries about Asian cities where traffic seems to be complete madness that one has to learn to navigate.
Every couple of corners you could smell people smoking marijuana. It would also be legal to do so in Utrecht, but I did not notice it there often. Perhaps there are just so many tourists in Amsterdam. Hearing a lot of German chatter on the streets adds to that theory.
At an Italian pizza joint I had the best pizza since I was in Bologna, Italy. They have a stone oven that is heated with wood fire. Their pizza is extremely thin and had just a few pieces on mozzarella on it.
Construction sites in Germany usually have no offerings for cyclists. Bike lanes just end and one has to find another way. There are several construction sites that I passed and all of them show alternative routes (by-passes) around:
The amounts of bike parking everywhere are amazing. Around the main station I saw lots of parking lots, and these are just the ones that are not inside buildings or under ground.
My rear tire was damaged and I figured that it would be safer to replace it as soon as possible. I was at four shops and they did not have the exact model that I currently have. One would think that buying the same tire would be easy in a bike city like Amsterdam. There are, however, dozens of small bike shacks that do not carry the more advanced tires but only the ones used by the people in the city. One very nice shop owner recommended a bike sports shop to me, which I could only visit on the next day as I was late on that day. He called them up and they did not have the exact model but others in a similar product segment of that brand. On the next day I got there and found a tire which was a close replacement to the model that came with the bike. I did some research during the previous evening but they did not have the exact model in stock that I found online.
This fourth day of my trip was mostly spend cruising around towards the east and north-east. One relatively quickly gets into little villages and fields.
A lot of Dutch villages seem to have a WhatsApp group where they send alerts about strange things happening to prevent robberies:
There are broad commuting routes with ample bike paths leading into the city and out:
To go from the north east to the central station you need to cross water. There is a ferry for cyclists and scooters, and it is free of charge:
In general I found that more interstates have been equipped with noise control measures:
This makes the noise level nearby much more bearable. If I think of Bonn-Röttgen or Bonn-Ückesdorf where you can hear the constant noise from the Autobahn A565 in the background, this is very pleasant.
There is one intersection where the separation line between the two directions of bike traffic is a bit diagonal. This means that there is more space to wait while the traffic light shows red. Once green, cyclists will start off and form a narrow convoy and fit through the smaller space. This is quite ingenious and I have seen that showcased by the "bike professor" from Amsterdam on Twitter.
As one can find in most cities today Amsterdam had a lot of vegetarian and vegan restaurant. I had dinner at a "vegan junk food" bar. They had burgers which might actually be healthy. Though I guess there is no way to make French fries healthy.
Similarly to the British isles one can order tap water in restaurants which is free and likely even of better quality than bottled water. I have to try this in Germany as well, though I had the impression that a significant share of the revenue comes from the drinks and therefore serving tap water is not offered at all.