Montreal – St. Louis Square

To complete my Montreal walking tour trilogy, I present my impressions of St. Louis Square.  A Victorian-era urban square similar in setting to the many city squares of Savannah, this area of the city is now a bohemian paradise.  Just a block or two from the pedestrian street Avenue Laval, with buskers and endless outdoor dining, this grand-but-funky square is the perfect setting for a late afternoon stroll.  I took out a few minutes to write in my journal as a impromptu jazz quartet blew some standards:

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

Victorian houses always have bright colors and incredible detailing.  Since this neighborhood’s presumable decline and hippie-era gentrification, there is a wonderful sense of preservation and longevity.  The crazy colors and gingerbread detailing suit the new inhabitants.  Some scenes along the square:

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

The sense of scale is just about perfect.  The adjacent streets have the best residential width (parking on each side and one driving lane), with the houses the correct height for the width.  The street trees and small gardens in front were generally very well maintained and creatively planted.

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

Honey locust was a good tree choice for planting right up against the facade:

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

I love the variety.  The New Urbanists must love this place – I certainly do.

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

A slightly-dilapidated old gem:

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

As I walked around this place, I was reminded of the book City Life by my favorite urbanist/writer Witold Rybczynski.  At the beginning of the book the author describes a fellow-Montrealer’s remarks about visiting Paris; “why can’t our cities be like that?”  There is no short answer; the author works on this question for hundreds of pages of lovely prose.  Ironically, however, I find Montreal to be quite beautiful, compared to other say, more industrial North American cities.

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

This neighborhood is not unlike several in Baltimore, in which I live.  I’ll have to do a few studies of Bolton Hill, Reservoir Hill… the sense of scale, grandeur and detailing is very similar.  The ironwork and stonework is remarkably close.  Also, the street layout is similar using the alley systems, which is my favorite feature of North American cities (well, those which preserved the alleys).  I walked around back too… the houses push right up against the rear fence.  Now we see the significance of those front balconies and gardens.

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

Some interesting street art was to be had:

Walking Tour of St. Louis Square, Montreal

Overall, this neighborhood had a calmness and scale that was at once both invigorating and relaxing.  This theme crops up a lot in my urban walks – and I think much of it has to do with the lack of automobiles, the presence of trees and the variety of building style.

I’ll close with a random picture from Chinatown in Montreal.  Lovely city, I do hope to get back for our project’s completion.

Street Scene from Chinatown in Montreal

Montreal Part Deux – Golden Square Mile

Continuing my walk around Montreal, here is a quick tour of the Golden Square Mile, the “uptown” area developed in the Gilded Age.  So named because of the large residences and prominent office buildings/shopping destinations, the area still has a manicured, refined feel.  The fine arts museum anchors Sherbrooke Street with a lovely 1912 Beaux Arts structure.

Museum of Fine Art in Montreal; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Across the street is a modern museum structure by Moshe Safdie, which does look a little out of place.  I didn’t scrutinize it, mostly because the morning sun was coming from right behind it.  However, Montreal does not seem shy about contrasting new with old, as this adjacent structure illustrates.

Museum structure; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

I walked right up to that nook between old and new; the glass mullions are pressed right up against the old stone.  Its a nice detail.

There are many residences along Sherbrooke, and plaques mark the most significant.  Here are some doors and facade details:

Private Residence; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

A walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

There was a lovely pair of buildings further down the block with some exceptional landscaping in front.  Overall, the street plantings in MTL were quite good.  I imagine winter must be pretty bleak but it does look great in the summer.

Lovely facade; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

A walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

The building to the left was on the corner, and I walked around and checked out the courtyard and carriage house.  This funny little “guardhouse” structure was tacked on to the back of the main structure.  It looks like a roof that was added above the basement stairs… very odd for such a sober, historical structure.

Little Guardhouse; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

A nicely-detailed apartment building entrance:

Apartment building entrance; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Continuing the juxtaposition of old and new, the Ritz Carlton hotel is adding a shockingly-modern glass structure to their old building.

Ritz Carlton; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Next door was the Streamline Modern Holt Renfrew department store.  This seemed to be the haute shopping corridor of MTL, with Coach, Prada and the like on these several blocks.

Streamline Moderne design; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Behind this neighborhood is a long set of stairs which leads to the entrance of Parc du Mont Royal – the small mountain in the center of the city-island.  If you have been reading my posts on urban walks, you know I love hilly cities.  Walking up these shaded stairs was a great treat in the middle of summer.  Everything was very clean, no litter or signs of danger.  The promise of a huge urban park awaits my ascent.

Stairs linking Golden Square Mile to Parc du Mont Royal

There were some grand apartment houses at the base of the park, which is also the edge of McGill University campus.

Apartment house at the top of McGill University in Montreal

This house had an incredible view of the city, as right behind the mountain begins rising.  A short walk up the road is the park entrance.  Along with scores of others, I walked up the hundreds of steps and around the meandering Frederick Law Olmstead driveways to the Chalet du Mont Royal – the lookout spot.  The view is pretty spectacular; my manually stitched Android photo:

Panoramic Image of Montreal

Overall however, the park was a bit disappointing.  It didn’t seem all that “wild”, and there were no other designed-in views or features to get excited about.  I took to the single-track walking trails through the forested parts, but they very quickly led right back to main carriage paths.  I only found one interesting bridge feature, but even that was not up to the usual FLO/Vaux quality.  So, I descended the long stairs and went back to the city.  I was going to try the Bixi bike rental, but the kiosk I approached was not taking my credit card, so I jumped on the subway.  Built in 1967 (the pinnacle of MTL, the year of the big Expo), it is very clean and the cars run on rubber tires, just like Paris.

Next up will be a short tour of the bohemian St. Louis Square, my favorite little spot in MTL.

Vieux Montréal – Walking Montreal’s Old City

I am presently working on a project in Montreal, a new SieMatic studio across the island from the main city in Brossard.  It is a good space with very smart owners and I’m sure the new business will be a success.  I will post about the studio as the project comes together.  Since I had never been to Montreal before, I was excited to walk around – the flâneur that I am – and experience the fabric of the city.  Following are some street views of Vieux Montréal – the old city.

Maisoneuve Monument in Old Montreal

This is a view of the Maisoneuve monument and the old Bank of Montreal building.  This space has a lovely scale, and the light was incredible on an early summer’s evening.  The ashlar-pattern paving is detailed in a modern fashion, meshed in with older Belgian block paving stones living the vehicle lanes.  The trees were young maples; there must be some fantastic color in Montreal in autumn as maples are a favorite street tree throughout the city.  Some street scenes:

A grand old building in Vieux Montreal

On the left: this little restaurant reminds me of a place in Barcelona.  To the right, a curious little building.  A Louer means “for rent”.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick RiceretoA walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

There are some very narrow streets in the old city.  It is very quiet after work hours (but before the all-night party begins).  Some quiet alley scenes:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

The care and craftsmanship taken on these old buildings is amazing.  Even though this building faces a small little alley, look at this cornice:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

I just love old portal, courtyard buildings, carriage houses:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

 

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick RiceretoThe old city adjoins the lovely waterfront, the old port.  The city used to compete with New York City for shipping to the midwest; all ocean cargo headed up the St. Lawrence river needed to disembark at Montreal and go through the Lachine Canal.  This era ended when the St. Lawrence seaway opened in the 1950’s, among other factors, and we are now left with an amazing still-life of industrial ruins.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - the old grain elevators of the old port on the Lachine canal.

Directly across the waterway are two islands, which were developed around the time of Expo ’67.  This is a view of the incredible housing complex Habitat 67, designed by Moshe Safdie.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - View of Habitat 67

A view of Lachine Canal:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - Lachine Canal

There is a wonderful feeling of summer outdoor activity in Montreal.  There is a great bike path going right through this section of the city – bikers were whizzing by constantly.  Lovers strolling, young families having a quiet picnic on the grass.  Everything was so civilized.  An outdoor bar and two “food trucks” were placed on the quay – I tried a pizza from one of these trucks; it was made fresh right there in front of my eyes – and it was quite good!

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - Muvbox "food trucks" in the old port.

It was getting dark pretty quick.  I found a roof-top bar and relaxed with a drink among the sound of French conversation.  On my way to my hotel – a hip new building in total contrast to old Montreal – I walked through what I would discover is just one of many pedestrian-only streets.  This could be mistaken for Quebec City; a bit touristy, and lots of souvenir shops.  Still, lovely.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

In future installments I will post reports of other walks I took in Montreal; the lovely Beaux Arts-era Golden Mile and my favorite spot I found, St. Louis Square.

30 Minutes in Milwaukee

I had business in Milwaukee last week, north of the city.  On the way back to the airport I pulled off downtown to have a look around.  I used to drive through MKE quite a bit when I worked for Kohler, although I never explored it much since we would usually fly in and drive straight to HQ in Sheboygan.  A few times we did go downtown, usually at night, and I remember the streets having a great vibe.  So on this early, cloudy April day I parked the car and walked a few blocks.

My impressions?  The downtown area just north of 3rd Ward has some very impressive buildings.  [EDIT – the eastern downtown area is called Juneau Town] The streets are fairly wide and it must have been quite a scene in the city’s manufacturing heyday in the early 20th century.  The color of the brick (not red – is it “buff”?) makes this city look completely different than our cities out east.  [EDIT – this is called Cream City Brick.  The city has been referred to as “Cream City”]  Some street scenes:

Old Building in Downtown Milwaukee

The building above seemed to be a cast iron facade, which could place it as old as say 1860.  I plan on returning soon and hopefully the scaffolding will be down so I can look for a plaque.  The building below, and it’s next door cousin to the right, seemed to be late 1800’s with a Second Empire Revival feel – almost a Frank Furness influence on the tower.  These two buildings are joined by several floors of improvised covered hallways over the conjoined alley.  I really wanted more time to look over these buildings with more detail.

Old Building in Downtown Milwaukee, WI

The building below was prominently located in the center of downtown.  Seeing the flag at the top of the bell tower, I guessed (correctly) that this was City Hall.  When back at the airport I looked the building up on Wiki; this was the tallest building in the world from its completion 1895 to 1899.  Designed by Henry C. Koch in a German Renaissance revival-style, this remained the tallest building in MKE until an office tower surpassed it in 1973.  I have to admit singing the tune to Laverne and Shirley in my head while walking around.  If I had remembered the opening sequence, this tower is briefly shown with the sign “Welcome to Milwaukee”, however since-removed.

Central Tower Building in Downtown Milwaukee

Adjacent to City Hall is the ornate German Revival Pabst Theatre.  Also from 1895, this is the fourth oldest continuously-operating theater in the US.  The German heritage in Wisconsin really shows through while walking around MKE.  I can’t wait to visit again so I have a chance to really understand the makeup of the city in the warm weather.

Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, WI

After rounding a total of 4 blocks, I headed back to the car and snapped this alley across from the “Furness Building” shown above.

Two Old Buildings with Alley in Milwaukee, WI

Being in the middle of the work day in early spring, the almost-vacant streets should not have been a surprise.  That said, there was an abundance of street parking and few pedestrians.  I would not say this section of the city looked abandoned, crumbling or neglected, but it did seem a bit lonely.  How occupied are the office suites in these magnificent buildings?

Modern Facade in Downtown Milwaukee, WI

This small 50’s Art Deco-style facade caught my eye.  How much is the rent on a nice little building like this?  On the way out, I parked again and noticed a huge amount of recent condo development in the Third Ward area, just south of my walk near city hall.

Milwaukee River with new Housing, 794 Bridge in Background

The above scene is right in the Third Ward, or just below it as it were.  I think this is the main channel of the Milwaukee river as it heads under the 794 bridge and out to lake Michigan.  [EDIT – the south side of the river is called Walker’s Point]  What is striking about this scene is how much this looks like Amsterdam!  There is so much new construction and much of it modern and fashionable.  This waterway must be very lively on a sunny Saturday afternoon in July as people are walking on the promenades and the river alive with boat traffic.  There are lovely scenes along the “canal” section of the river as well, where it snakes through the canyon of buildings.  I ran out of time, and there were construction barges all over that section anyhow so this all definitely warrants another visit in the warm weather later in the year.

After driving under a Calatrava bridge, I turned back onto the expressway and back to the airport.  My business in Wisconsin will hopefully be fruitful and I look forward to coming back many times, to spend more time in this gem of a city.

The Donnelly Building, A Spring Walk in Downtown Baltimore

Although its very busy in the office lately, I still like to get out during the day for some fresh air and inspiration.  With our “early spring” this year, there has been no shortage of temptation for sagging off on a nice afternoon.  Last week, during a walk downtown I caught a nice image of texture, light and color within the modest canyons of downtown Baltimore.  Walking about the semi-deserted small street, I snapped some pictures of this small structure, marked the Donnelly Insurance Building.

Baltimore Street Image - Sunshine Facade

This old building, with hand-painted window signage (original?) was built on the likely-border of the Great Fire of 1904 just a couple blocks away from the harbor docks.  Without knowing anything about this particular building, my guess is it was built after the fire.  A very high ceiling in the main floor (in a 3-floor scheme) makes for what must be a useful basement and very private 3rd floor.  The scale fits in well with the surrounds, mostly medium-rise early 20th century classically-inspired stone-detailed buildings.

Downtown Baltimore Office Building

In the fashion of the times, Roman buff brick, combined with a strong base and strong cornice reflect the influences of Louis Sullivan in this modest-sized building.

Strong Afternoon Light, Downtown Baltimore

The chamfered entrance is a bit heavy-handed but presents a solid image for a 1905 insurance company’s headquarters.  I changed over to B&W for this next picture, to emphasize the westerly light coming through the cracks between buildings.  The unusual pastiche to the left is an older classical-style building which apparently sold its air-rights in the 1980’s.

Street Scene, Downtown Baltimore

Overall, this small Baltimore street was very quiet for a workday afternoon.  The entire scene (and especially the building to left) reminded me of two summers ago when walking Quebec City, Quebec.  I walked a flat street near the St. Lawrence River quay which featured a collection of late 19th-century classic buildings.  I looked through my archives and, viola – below is the exact scene I had in my head.

Scene from Quebec City

Some parts of Baltimore can be quite busy during the day (the pedestrian-friendly areas, the courthouse, city hall), but many other parts of downtown lack a vibrancy.  It is a combination of many things, including a lack of street-level dining and shopping and the subsequent people moving about.  What really makes these two particular streets quiet however is the lack of vehicle traffic.  I do not miss the cars and emergency vehicle sirens at all – in fact these two particular streets had a preserved and hauntingly-beautiful urban emptiness – but without any commerce they seemed a bit lonely.

Two small commercial one-way streets frozen in time, luckily, for us to explore and remember how a growing North American city looked in 1905.  Without the bustle and noise of 1905, however, we are left with an outdoor museum of sorts.  An empty museum but one worth saving nonetheless.

Die Schwebebahn and Walking Wuppertal, Germany

In previous posts I mentioned my trip to Germany to visit SieMatic’s factory and see the latest products which I will be working with and placing into showrooms around the world in my job as Consulting Studio Developer.  The real reason I wanted to go to Germany, however, is to finally take some time out to visit Wuppertal.

I don’t remember how I first heard about the Schwebebahn.  I might have been up late hitting the “random article” button on Wikipedia.  More likely than not, I was probably looking at a timeline of transportation milestones since I spend lots of time looking at engineering and architectural history.  What is certain, however, is that I knew right away I would need to make a pilgrimage to ride this transportation anomaly.

What is the Schwebebahn?  It is a “suspended floating train” in the valley city of Wuppertal, near Cologne, Germany.  Before I delve into further explanation, a picture:

Schwebebahn, Wuppertal Germany

Because of the extreme hills on either side of the Wupper river, the city decided to run a train line above the river.  Designed by Eugen Langen originally for a site in Berlin, it ran its first tram in 1901.  The entire route is about 8 miles long, mostly over the river but with the extreme southwestern section over the high street and at one point crossing the A46 Autobahn.

Wuppertal, Germany: die Schwebebahn

The trams float about 12 meters (39′) above the river, and travel at a maximum of 60 KpH (about 40mph).  Underway, you can feel the hanging car gently banking in the turns.  Its a sublime experience and every transportation/engineering fan should go for a ride.  There is a seat right up in front, directly behind the driver and this is the seat you will want.

First seat in die Schwebebahn, Wuppertal Germany.

View from a tram on the Schwebebahn, Wuppertal Germany

The two pictures above show some of the character along the river Wupper.  Bayer aspirin was invented here in the mid 19th century, and the Bayer company was originally headquartered along this river (the former picture shows us crossing the extant Bayer plant with the modern piping crossing the river between old plant buildings).  The dramatic valley geography, however, contributed to the city’s downfall in prosperity.  Before the monorail was even finished, Bayer started building its enormous factory town Leverkusen on a flat piece of land in the nearby countryside.  Throughout the 20th century, Wuppertal’s businesses left the beautiful valley.  I felt a special kinship with this city, because most American cities went through a similar economic and social plight.

Along the river Wupper.

Wuppertal has a nice rough-around-the-edges feel.  Today, magnificent street art adorns many of the abandoned-looking old factory buildings along the river.  Appropriately, a rough and free music flourished here in the late 1960’s; founding European free-jazz pioneers Peter Brotzmann and Peter Kowald made Wuppertal their home, bringing in many of the biggest names to play with them in the now departed jazz clubs.  Brotzmann still lives in Wuppertal today.

I wandered up into the hills of Wuppertal to see the magnificent 19th century homes and gardens.  The rise of the valley is quite extreme, and the impeccable maintenance of the homes is at least as impressive as any large manor house here in Baltimore.

Street in Wuppertal

Wuppertal

Lovely old houses in Wuppertal

Wuppertal

Beautiful 19th century house in Wuppertal, Germany

The landscaping and streetscape in this neighborhood was one of the nicest I have ever experienced.  The front garden walls are ubiquitous – one of my favorite types of sidewalk conditions.  We are looking at one of the finest townhouse neighborhoods in 19th century Nordrhein-Westfalen.  I have been to wonderful streets in Dusseldorf and Cologne as well – this is as beautiful.

Walking Wuppertal

Hilly towns provide opportunity for architectural folly and unique street features; here we see an interesting “gatehouse” with a nice late 1980’s Fiat in front.  And speaking of transportation (again), another reason I wanted to visit Wuppertal was to see a scale model car dealer named Max.  I met Max at his home in this neighborhood to see his personal collection and buy some rare models from the 70’s and 80’s.  Max entertained me for a couple of hours in his home as we discussed our hobby and mostly, the history of Wuppertal and growing up in Germany.  Here is just a small part of his collection:

Max's Scale Model Volvo Collection

Right around the corner I spotted this massively rare, apparently daily-driven Golf Yellow early 70’s hatchback BMW 2002.

BMW 2002 Golf Yellow

Die Schwebebahn

I took another short ride on the Schwebebahn and then headed to my ICE train back to Bielefeld to meet with my SieMatic friends for dinner.  I wish I had taken more time to see the whole city, maybe search a little harder for the old music scene and take in the current trends in visual art.  Well, I can say this, I will return to this lovely little place, with certainty.

M

Walking Amsterdam

I just got back from a trip to Amsterdam and Germany, to attend the SieMatic Haus Fair.  It was a whirlwind trip, with lots of rail travel and some side explorations.  Its easiest for me to fly into A’dam from Philadelphia, and then work my way over to Bielefeld Germany where the SieMatic factory is.

I have visited A’dam before, and I have been back a few times for similar stops at past Haus Fairs.  I usually arrive Sunday morning after a red-eye and then walk around and reacquaint myself with the charms of the canals, small cafes and bars.  This time I took a walk around the harbor as there was a marathon in town, and it was great seeing all the activity early in the morning.  Some highlights of my walk:

A canal near the red light district.  Note the old industrial building wall is one-and-the same as the dockside.Amsterdam Canal

A lovely little side street in A’dam.  Some things which are unique are the black-painted brick facades, the narrow sidewalks (often filled with plantings – but note this street does not have sidewalks at all) and paving stones on the roadway.  Also, the first floor windows are usually very large and often without any window shades.  The Dutch don’t mind people looking in the front windows.  This street is fairly narrow and notice how the building scale – 3 stories – matches that width nicely.Small Side Street in Amsterdam

This little car is a VW Polo.  I am something of a gearhead, and following transportation design is a passion.  Why a picture of an ordinary little Euro car?  This would be a perfect car for the United States, and I am confounded why VW does not bring it over to us.  This with a small TDI motor would get over 60mpg and has all the utility – if not the size – of an SUV.  It should be noted that, even with a marathon happening right behind me (many hundreds of people everywhere), there were no parking snags and in fact, no traffic at all and many empty spots on every street.  There really is little need to have a car in A’dam.VW Polo in Amsterdam

I walked around the harbor with the rain clouds looming.  Filling the harbor are all sizes of old boats in all descriptions.  Many seem to be antiques on display, but many interesting, quirky boats seem to be residences and private launches.  There is an incredible connection to the water in A’dam.

Picture in Amsterdam Harbor

Harbor in Amsterdam

Dock in Amsterdam

These docks seemed to be public, and I just wandered about.  That large “ship” in the background is Nemo, a large science center designed by Renzo Piano.  I didn’t go in, but I did go up top and have a view of the city and the marathon.

Boat in Amsterdam Harbor

One of the best things about walking A’dam is the mix of architectural styles and eras.  The Dutch are very adventurous with modern/contemporary design – some of the best design in the past 20 years has been from Holland.  There are many interesting public buildings around central A’dam with daring glass curtain walls, thin steel spandrels, acute angles, exciting colors.  This hotel and apartment structure was going up across a small bridge from Nemo.

Modern buildings in Amsterdam

There is a huge amount of construction on the dock sides and piers near the central rail station.  In the years since I have been visiting – about 5 or 6 – this seems to be an ongoing project.  Although I would not call A’dam “trashy”, inevitably you get a peek of nature and some of the uglier side to human development.  Space is at a premium here, so even this white swan has to squeeze into whatever space she can find.

White swan amongst the garbage in Amsterdam

A more cheerful harbor scene; the main train station – Amsterdam Centraal – is the large building in the background.

Sunny Amsterdam Moment.

Without too much time to spend, I went off to lunch and to have a few local beers.  I paused to snap this lovely, tilting building.  Many, many buildings in the “medieval quarter” of central A’dam lean in every-which-way.  Many of these buildings are from the 1600’s or earlier, and some settling in this water-logged city should be expected.  The ever-present forward lean of many buildings, however, was entirely planned.  The attic loft was a prominent storage area, with a pulley system installed to haul goods up to the top.  The lean of the building allowed large bundles of material and goods to clear the lower floors as it was hoisted up.

Black brick Amsterdam house.

I went to Germany later that afternoon on the Deutsche Bahn ICE train, but would return to A’dam on the leg back.  I usually stay in the medieval quarter on the Herrengracht – the “gentleman’s canal”, a quiet and lovely respite before heading home.  On the morning of my flight I walked up Langestraat – “longstreet”, once of my favorite little walks.  Unlike the canal streets, there is usually not a lot of street parking on these side roads.  Instead, there is a very rich fabric of old, smaller utility buildings and residences.  The sidewalk is usually very small and sometimes non-existent.  There are usually bollards to prevent parking and blocking in the double-wide front doors of small garages.  Combined with the lush plantings and little traffic, these side streets are an idyllic masterpiece of urban living.

Herrenstraat, Amsterdam

Langestraat, Amsterdam

Langestraat

One of these buildings would make a great studio/residence for Mick Design.  Of course, peering into the windows reveal many design studios, small shops, craftsmen’s workrooms and free-living apartments.

Citroen on Langestraat

In front of Amsterdam Centraal is the most incredible amount of bicycle parking.  Since I was up walking at about 7am, I was in the middle of bicycle rush hour.  It seems like everybody commutes on bike here – young, old, parents with children and shopping bags in baskets.  This is the multi-level bicycle parking deck in front of the station.

Bicycle parking in Amsterdam.

I would like to get back to the city soon, and also explore a bit more of Holland as well.

Next post will be highlights from SieMatic’s 2011 Haus Fair, and a special side trip to Wuppertal Germany, where I ride the 110-year old suspended monorail, Die Schwebenbahn.