|Subject: Re: Amsterdam|
Dear Phillip and Donna,
I live in Amsterdam and would be glad to provide some suggestions. -- Though others may be more helpful when it comes to hotels because I have not actually stayed in one here. ;-)
As for cycling... you've come to the right country. More bikes than people in Amsterdam. Not kidding. Take a look at Centraal Station you'll see a triple decker parking garage for bicycles! You can rent bikes in the city of Amsterdam through Mac Bikes and tour around on your own (they also provide maps and suggested routes) or you can go on Mike's Bike Tour. Don't know if they are opened year round or not.
You can also go outside the city and ride along the polders. A popular destination outside of Amsterdam for scenic biking on different terrains is the national park, De Hoge Veluwe which is also home of the Kruller-Muller Museum. The Museum houses many Van Goghs, Picassos, Mondrians and their contemporaries.
As far as other fun stuff to do in Amsterdam, there are of course many famous museums --- Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum. I like smaller ones like the Amsterdam Historical museum, Anne Frank house, Rembrandt's House, Hidden Church in the Attic (don't remember the official name... but anyone will no what you mean).
I also recommend a night at the Boom Chicago Comedy club. They are located right on Leidesplein, one of the main squares with lots of restaurants, pubs, hotels, and tram stops. Boom Chicago is a group of 14 American improv comedians who've lived in Amsterdam anywhere from 10 years to 6 months and they have a couple of great shows about the European Union and Dutch culture. Of course, American tourists are often the brunt of their jokes -- but they don't discriminate, they make plenty of fun of Europeans, too. Completely irreverent and fun. Good food too!
Ok... if you have specific questions please feel free to email me directly. I am actually in the midst of writing an exciting (not! yawn) paper on the Celtic Tiger and need to get back to it. I am afraid I won't be available for a GTG as it is university exam time... *sigh* wishing I was the one on vacation right now...
Erina Amsterdam http://www.time-travellers.org/Historian