Here is a post I wrote last summer but never posted. enjoy.
My family and I spent three weeks visiting New York, Brussels, London, Amsterdam and Paris this summer. Here are some random observations.
New York has the best playgrounds–starchitects like Frank Gehry design them and they are unique.
Amsterdam felt dangerous for pedestrians, especially for children–but not from cars but bikes. Bikes were running red lights, riding on streets and sidewalks (and the woonerf concept used there meant these were often the same).
Also, in Amsterdam I saw no local children under the age of about 12 riding their bikes; children rode in large wheelbarrow-like baskets at the front of their parents’ bikes. This was unexpected. I thought it would look be more like Portland Oregon with families riding bikes together.
A pleasant surprise in Amsterdam was that I hardly ever smelled pot (I’m allergic to it so always notice). In fact, the air was much more free of it than in Vancouver. I did notice a slight smell right outside the marijuana cafes, but rarely anywhere else. Maybe the cafes serve to confine the smoke and the smokers to these enclosed spaces. By contrast in Vancouver everyone smokes it in public parks because there is no where to go.
Loved the cobble stone streets; found it rather hilly for “the lowlands.” And, I was somewhat surprized at how international and multi-cultural the population was (other than the historic architecture, it didn’t feel as European). I was particularly intrigued to find so many Brazilians and Brazilian cafes dedicated to their favorite futbol teams. Is there an historic connection between Brazil and Belgium that I missed?
Comments and explanations welcome!