Amsterdam is a gorgeous city of canals, trams (inducing a nostalgia for Melbourne) and bicycles... so many bicycles! That's right, clogs are not in vogue my friends... it's pedal power everywhere you turn. Which is not all that surprising when you consider that Amsterdam's population of 700,000 is home to over 600,000 bicycles! It took me a little while to get used to the multiple forms of transport sharing the opposite side of the road, but once I'd established the habit of looking left instead of right when crossing, I was half way to avoiding an accident. When I did forget, however, the friendly locals were more than happy to warn me. Let's just say that forever more the gentle ding ding of a bicycle's bell will cause me to spring into the most ineloquent pirouette. Amsterdam has a lot to offer the tourist. Apart from being remarkably beautiful in it's own right, it's also renown for being party central on weekends, most likely due to it's relaxed sex and drug laws. In stark contrast it also has a strong cultural side with some of the best museums in Europe. Bree and I (to my amazement) managed to see the top few. The Rijksmusem was fantastic, holding some of Rembrandt's best work and many other paintings from the golden era in Holland. We also visited the Van Gogh museum, with a collection of impressionist paintings including some by Monet and Manet. Unfortunately we were rushed through Van Gogh's work due to a confusion we made with the building lay out and a looming closing time. Still, it was interesting to see some of the worlds most famous paintings in the flesh (or canvas). The red light district was an eye opener. To my surprise it does indeed have a vibrant red glow and took up a vast section of the city centre. I was slightly prepared for what I might see... but obviously not really prepared enough because the first time I saw a half naked girl waving and kissing at me from a window booth I instinctively looked at my feet like an shy little boy. For a brief moment I thought "she likes me" before quickly realising that they do this for everyone. On the last day Bree and I hired our own bikes and toured the city with speed (and relative safety) thanks to the plentiful bicycles paths that wind across the city in every direction. It had been a while since I'd ridden a bike but true to the old saying "it's just like riding a bike", I hadn't forgotten. We rode to Ann Frank Huis, a museum surrounding the home made famous by the Diary of Anne Frank, a collection of writing by a young Jewish girl hiding with her family from the Nazi's during WWII. Walking through the secret passage covered by a hinged bookcase and up the narrow staircase was an eerie experience. Each room provided further insight in to their plight and that of the Jewish people. It was an extremely moving experience, particularly watching footage of concentration camps and an interview with Otto Frank (Anne Frank's father and tragically the only surviver) speaking about reading his daughter's diary for the first time. Then on leaving the realism of the human loss was exemplified as I read an official Nazzi list of incarcerated peoples names (a book in fact, opened to two pages of Franks). To raise our spirits again we dropped in to The Pancake Bakery to indulge in the most gigantic pancakes I have ever seen! After drooling over the menu for a short while we proceeded to share an order of Mexican pancakes followed by a Belgian style dessert pancake. Once we'd finished gorging ourselves we came to the obvious conclusion that we needed to enjoy a good beer. Off to the Heineken brewery batman! A few drinks later we were back on our bikes and racing to make it to the rent-a-bike store before closing time. To prove many ATC ads right we both managed to stack our bikes and get lost (one of many times throughout our stay) but with luck by our side we just made it. Then it was back to reality... London.