AMSTERDAM & ZURICH (May/June 2013)
We find ourselves centered out of London again this summer, catching up with friends and family and exploring more of Europe. Along with two tours, we also have a few city trips planned as tranportation is frequent and relatively inexpensive. And there is always more to see when it comes to Europe, in this case Amsterdam and Zurich.
Amsterdam's name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds.
There are many canalled cities in Europe--Venice, Stockholm, Bruges--but Amsterdam has its own distinct character. While I realize that many who come here may not even notice the canals (unless crossing over one to get to the red light district or a "coffee" shop), it is an aspect of the city that can not be overlooked. Along with the thousands of bicycles one comes across.