When we woke up, we wrote a message to our Airbnb hosts about the mouse in our room the night before (in the end, they didn't really do anything about it, which was disappointing). After getting ready, we walked for a while into the city to get to a bike tour that was recommended to us by our friend, Patrick, who had visited Amsterdam some years before. Before the bike tour began, we stopped at a nearby sandwich shop for an early lunch.
Amsterdam is very heavily-populated with bikes, and it seems to be the primary way that many people get around the crowded city. So, the bike tour seemed like a great way to experience the city and surrounding area. The tour took a little while to get started as we were waiting for people to arrive and for the bikes to be prepared, but we eventually left with around 15 people and began following our tour guide as she led us through the city.
We biked on many city streets, passing over several of the canals throughout the city. Riding through the city was fairly stressful, especially with a big group, because you always had to be conscious of cars, other bikes, pedestrians, and trolleys. Eventually, we left the main city area and made our way into the countryside. Here, we rode to a windmill, where we learned a bit about how and why they were used.
As we continued past the windmill, we eventually arrived at a very smelly cheese farm. On the farm, we got to see a short demonstration of how they made local cheeses (and learned that farm-made cheese should not be refrigerated) and also got to sample some of the cheeses. In the same building, we saw how they made traditional Dutch wooden shoes that are often used in modern times for gardening. This shoe-making process was interesting to see because they mechanically carved solid blocks of wood using a small metal version of the interior and exterior of the shoe in order to make a copy. After the quick demonstrations, we stopped by the farm's shop, where we bought some delicious smoked Gouda cheese (that Matt has since been devouring).
We continued on the bike tour by riding through several kilometers of countryside, eventually making our way through several large parks. The weather was pretty gouda but windy -- Janelle kept getting blown off-course by the sudden gusts -- for the first three or so hours, but as we started to make our way back toward the city, it started raining very hard. The bike tour company provided ponchos, but no one in the group knew how to wear them properly -- the poncho is supposed to go over the handlebars of the bike -- so our legs got soaked. After raining for a while, it suddenly cleared up entirely and you'd never even know there'd been rain clouds just minutes before.
Eventually, we returned into the city and finished our countryside bike tour in the late afternoon. By this time, we were fairly hungry, so we stopped again for a small, relaxing meal at the same sandwich place that we stopped at earlier in the day.
Next, without much guidance or idea of what to see, we wandered around the area near the bike tour shop, exploring the city. We walked along and passed over several of Amsterdam's canals, which are actually more abundant than those in Venice. For the most part, we just admired the city as a whole, though we spent a little bit of time trying to seek out some of the few landmarks on our city map. We got the feeling that Amsterdam didn't quite have as many monuments or landmarks as some of the other cities we'd visited, but we were still able to appreciate the picturesque views.
After some walking and sitting around, we headed back toward our Airbnb room, picking up a couple small pizzas along the way. Once we got back to our room, we spoke briefly with our hosts, who weren't all that helpful or sympathetic regarding the mouse in our room. Afterwards, we spent a while trying to use the unstable internet connection to plan the next few days before going to sleep.