Although the winter is not the prime time, my first visit to Europe was impressive. I was there for 8 days to setup an online training site and transfer necessary skills to the site administrators. Dutch people were kind and fortunately they spoke English so well.
The afternoon of Saturday and Sunday were the available times for me to look around Amsterdam city. It is not reasonable to tell about the city nor about the country with only a few days’ superficial experience. I am, however, trying to deliver some personal impressions about what I’ve looked through.
The hotel room was a little bit chilly at the highest temperature of adjustable knob and this was the first difference between that of the United States. The U.S. hotel rooms were too cool in the summer or too hot in the winter. I thought Americans were indifferent to the energy saving.
I found some unique features in Dutch street. First and most impressive thing was that the roads for bikes were found almost everywhere. Especially around the Dam and the Centrum, trams and bikes were recommended to move instead of private cars according to the tourist information. Also I could see many parking lots for bicylces in the street. One more interesting thing is that the small cars with hatchback seemed more popular than the usual notchback cars. Moreover, it was not so difficult to find a single-seat or double-seat car in the street. Alas! Small is beautiful!
Windmills and tulips are two representative words when I think about the Netherlands. A few traditional windmills remained but they did not seem to be used any more. Instead, very large wind turbines are easily found when driving outside the center of the city. Unforunately, the winter was not a good season to enjoy the beauty of tulips, greens, and sunshine. I missed them so much.
I regret that I was totally ignorant of Dutch during the stay. I was wondering what the messages are in the road signs. I hope I will be able to learn some basic Dutch (eg. how to pronounce, how to say hello) if I had a chance to visit the Netherlands again. The Dutch sounded much like German but it does not have umlaut.
Canals were ubiquitous throughout the city. The typical Dutch house faces a canal with just a small front yard. I could look at the beautifully decorated room through the very large window or just whole surfaced glass. One of my colleagues told me that Dutch people enjoy decorating their homes. Yes, it’s their sweet home!