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One City, Five Hours: Amsterdam

Ready, set, Van Gogh!


1 Amsterdam was made for walking, but you’re in a hurry. Rent a Sparta Granny, a sleek three-speed bike that’s so Dutch it should come with a windmill, from Star Bikes Rental (De Ruyterkade 127, www.starbikesrental.com). ( 00:22 )

2 Hustle around the corner to the new Central Library (Oosterdokskade 143, www.oba.nl) and leave your wheels in one of the 2,000 (!) bike stalls.

Admire the library’s trippy design as you ascend the escalator for a stellar view of the city. ( 1:13 )

3 Pedal past the famed Red Light

District. Resist temptation. After all, if you prefer to spend five hours in a drugged torpor, why go out at all? Down some coffee at the charming cafe Latei (Zeedijk 143, www.latei.net), amid its wacky secondhand lamps and kitschy souvenirs. ( 1:43 )

4 Sufficiently caffeinated, you can now focus at Oudemanhuispoort, an ancient book market in a covered alley at the University of Amsterdam. Look for a first edition from natives like Spinoza, Descartes or Anne Frank — or maybe a Sophia Loren cookbook. Save the reading for the flight; it’s time to eat. ( 2:25 )

5 Grab a plate of Van Dobben’s krokets (Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5-9, www.vandobben.nl).

These deep-fried blobs of meat and potatoes are a cheap delicacy for those not drawn to the ubiquitous raw herring stalls. ( 3:10 )

6 Zip over to the Van Gogh Museum, tucked amid the gallery-and-antiques strip on Nieuwe Spiegelstraat (Paulus Potterstraat 7, www.vangoghmuseum.nl). Stare at the creepy Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette by Amsterdam’s most beloved one-eared genius and contemplate the fleeting nature of life.

Just remember, time’s a-wasting! ( 4:05 )

7 Continue contemplating from the terrace of Blauwe Theehuis (www.blauwetheehuis.nl), a teahouse overlooking the greenery of Vondelpark.( 4:15 )

8 En route to returning your wheels, take a quick trip back in time with a shot of original gin at the 340-year-old tasting house Wynand Fockink (Pijlsteeg 31, www.wynand-fockink.nl).

If need be, you can always walk the bike back. ( 4:52 )

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