It was the bicycles, really. They were everywhere. I think there were more bikes than people.
Here in the US, the biggest reason someone owns a bike is for fitness. In Amsterdam it was more practical. You would see people with milk crates attached to the front and saddle bags over the back and it would be loaded with groceries. I saw one woman riding by with a 32″ LCD screen that she just purchased from a store! I saw another man use a bike with an attached bobsled-like area that allowed for him to haul away some construction materials. Everywhere you went there was a bike. Oh, by the way, if it is 1AM and you are walking back to your hotel, don’t assume that you can’t possibly be hit by someone riding along on their bike.
I have hundred of photos from my trip and lots of them have to do with bikes and streets. It was just amazing to be immersed there for a week and see such a different lifestyle.
It’s one of the things that I am hoping to incorporate into my everyday life. Most of the shops in my town here are less than two miles (that’s just over 3Km for any non-American reading this) from my house and there is no reason why I can’t just ride my bike instead of driving my car.