Those traveling on the back roads between New York City and Montreal generally fall into two groups: bicyclists and motorcyclists. I’m a fan of both two-wheel forms of transport but a motorcycle was the vehicle of choice for this trip. If you have a few days to spare and a motorcycle at hand, this is a great way to see some of the rural areas of New York and Quebec while passing through some gorgeous mountain ranges and tiny hamlets. What follows is a brief account of a trip I took a couple weeks ago with my friend Jeff. If you are interested in the details, keep reading. If you are really interested in the details of the routes, you will find Google Maps of each day’s travels at the end of this post.
Curious about which plugs you’ll need to connect your electronic gear to the grid in another country? Check out Electricity Around the World which covers pretty much everything you need to know. All countries are listed along with the voltage and plug types they use.
Amsterdam is a wonderful city that I never seem to tire of. It has been several years since my last visit and my notes are terrible so, I have only a couple actual recommendations listed below. My best advice is to try to get a sense of the city on your own. In short, spend a lot of time being lost–Amsterdam is the perfect city for it. Get away from the most tourist oriented areas (Dam Square, Red Light District, The Leidseplein etc.) and explore the other parts of the city. Amsterdam’s canal district is not all that expansive, so you’ll be spending some time in these areas for sure. But, even within the canal district, there are certain places that don’t feel overrun by tourists. Be sure to check out some of the neighborhoods outside of the canal district as well.
When you roll into town, the first thing to do is rent a bike. Walk around in the Jordaan to find a low key bike place and get a more traditional black bike rather than the bright red or yellow ones available in the more touristic areas. There are a lot of bike shops around and most of them rent bikes. You’ll want a bike that looks like the one pictured to the right. You’ll still look like a tourist, but at least you’re not riding a bike covered with advertisements. Now that you have a feits, you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground in true Dutch style. Follow the numerous bike paths and see where they take you.
All day Saturday, there is a nice outdoor food market in the Jordaan. Noordermarkt has a nice selection of fresh cheeses, meats, pastries, fruits and vegetables. This is a great place to shop if you are planning on packing a lunch to go. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what you might see:
Villa Zeezicht has some of the best apple cake in town. I always make it a point to stop by at least once when I am in town. This small café is no one trick pony, the coffee and other offerings are good as well. They open early, so this is also a good spot to start if you are staying nearby. The location on the relaxed corner of Singel and Torensteeg is perfect for planning your day.
Tel: 020 – 626 74 33
Bordewijk is quite popular. So much so that I’ve never been able to get a reservation. This has more to do with poor planning on my part than a long waiting list though. If you are in the mood for a nice dinner, this place might fit the bill. Just make sure you call more than an ten minutes in advance for a reservation on popular nights.
1015 MV Amsterdam
Tel: 020 – 624 38 99
Open 18:30 – 22:30
If you have the mind to check out a museum, try taking in the Van Gogh Museum on a Friday Night. Also, The Rijksmuseum, while not open on Friday evenings, it is worth checking out during regular hours. The paintings are impressive, especially given the time they were created. The building that houses all of this art is also impressive. Make sure you don’t miss the massive pipe organ.
If you’ve been to Amsterdam and have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them. Please leave them in the comments.
To follow up on a post from a couple years back, the first Airbus A380 flight touched down in New York today. The massive, $300 million plane can carry between 555 and 853 passengers depending on the configuration.
Just how long does it take 853 passengers to squeeze down the jetway and stow all of their crap in the overhead bin or the seat in front of them?
I’m just back from a week in the sun where I was pretty well disconnected. Today, I spent a bit of time getting caught up on what’s been going on. Here are a handful of things I might have posted individually if they had not surfaced during a week of vacation:
- Rising ocean levels reclaimed an island near India. Also, an ice shelf has broken off an island in the Canadian artic. These are pretty scary events and we can expect more news like this in the coming years. By the way, if you have not seen it already, check out An Inconvenient Truth.
- The MTA has launched a new travel planner and Gothamist has a review.
- This printable, compact calendar will come in handy all year. Print it out and stick it in your notebook for quick reference.
- The city might turn the temporary FDR roadway into a park. The narrow park would include a much needed bike lane. This is a great idea and utilizes (re-utilizes?) something that is slated to be to be torn down anyway.
- New Year’s Eve panoramic photos from around the world.
Happy New Year!