Amsterdam – Day 2 (first half)

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Here are a few pics from day 2 in Amsterdam.  It was a cloudy day, so we decided to visit several indoor venues.  We chose the Van Gogh Museum, where I couldn’t take any pictures, but we certainly admired many amazing works of art.

Super-mini car in Amsterdam

On our way to our first destination I was immediately impressed by the wonderful variety of modes of transportation that we saw throughout the city.  We saw folks of all ages, sizes and fashion statements riding bicycles.   Then we saw cars like this little red one, that could fit in the tiniest sliver of a parking spot and the 3 little boys in the attachment to their mothers bicycle in the slideshow.  What would you call that?  It’s not really a sidecar, since it’s in the front.

Mid-day we visited the Heineken Experience and toured what was once a working brewery to learn about the history of the company and the beer.  It was quite interesting.  Not being big beer drinkers and the fact that it was relatively early in the day, we weren’t able to finish all 3 of the free beers that we each could have had.  Just as well since we had a lot more ground to cover that day and we didn’t want to miss anything while being in a drunken stupor.

Bikers rejoice!

Google has just added intelligent biking directions for more than 12,000 U.S. bike trails as a new option inside Google Maps.

The company writes that the new biking features will “include as much bike trail data as possible, provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trip, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customize the look of the map for cycling to encourage folks to hop on their bikes.”

The new option now sits next to the current Google Maps standbys — car, public transit and walking — for online routing options, so users can select the new option from the dropdown menu to uncover a Google-recommended bike routes (likely sans big hills!).

You can also turn on a “Bicycling” layer via the “More” tab when zoomed into a particular city in Google Maps. The trails’ green hues should indicate terrain and road type. Dark green equates to bike-only, light green means there’s a bike lane, and dashed green means it’s a decent biking path but one without a bike lane.

Before you get too excited, we should note that as of right now biking is not an option in mobile apps, so make sure to plan ahead before you hit the pavement.

I am not currently a biker, but I hope to get a new bike soon.  This great news reminded me of my brother, Pat who has cycled from Florida to Ohio and West Texas to Louisiana.  He was always looking for a good map that would tell him how he could get safely from one place to the next on his bike.

So on behalf of all bikers everywhere…Thank you Google maps!
(this tidbit discovered thru a newsletter received from )