A bike is fiets in Dutch. And a motorbike is a bromfiets!
(You might have to read this one out loud..)
So, one of the basic clichés about the Netherlands is not only a cliché: Really everyone here is going everywhere by bike in probably every kind of weather and I was told some people even move house by bike. And, having left my faithful old bike back in Karlsruhe, I needed one, too!
Fortunately one of the activities during the Introduction Week hosted by the university was the Expedition Hashtag, a sort of scavenger hunt through Amsterdam. On three different locations, we were given several hints according to which we had to find small cards with a hashtag sign. The first 5 people for each location to find one of these cards won a customized university bike, as easy as that.
My subconscious seems to have been quite eager to win something, as it presented me the night before the Expedition with a classic nightmare that ended with me missing the expedition since I was late and didn't have the shirt we had to wear. Yay.
I was quite relieved when in reality everything went well for me: I was on time at the meeting point behind the main station, did not drown when we took the ferry and managed to find one of the first cards at our first location in Amsterdam Noord. Hello new bike!
The other locations where we had to hunt were Jordaan and the beautiful Vondelpark - both were not so pretty in the cold, cold rain. Once we were done (apparently we were the fastest group they had had, probably due to the rain) we went to a belgian pub, to warm ourselves from the inside with a beer or two.
Today I could pick up my new means of transportation and was provided with the best possible weather to take my little beauty for a first ride! Since we had to collect the bikes at the VU campus down south in Uilenstede, my way home took me along the Amstel river, past Amstel park, and through some rural areas with sheep, cattle, ponies and lots of flowers. And I saw my first windmill!
On a side note: as it might be possible to glimpse from the photos, the bike, as most bikes around here, does not have any gears and no hand brake. I'll definitely have to get used to that.