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Urban Breaks: Four quirky things about Amsterdam.

After marrying in Gibraltar in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous ‘Bed-In’, from March 25-31, at the Amsterdam Hilton in suite number 902 (now 702). Immortalized in ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’, (‘Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton; Talking in our beds for a week…’), the couple were protesting against war and promoting peace. If you have $1.600 to spare, you can rent the John and Yoko suite which is decorated with related memorabilia, relax in luxury and listen to Lennon's songs on the sound system.

Sometimes called the Venice of the North, Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1,200 bridges within its boundaries. Several companies offer a variety of canal cruises from romantic dinner experiences to classic boat trips. There’s also a canal bus and even a Venetian Gondola, handmade by an Amsterdam girl who travelled to Venice to learn the craft and build her own, which she brought back to Amsterdam.

Citizens of the ‘bike capital’ are serious about their cycling. With a population of around 750.000 there are apparently as many bikes in circulation. As it’s difficult to drive a car in the city centre, it’s not a good idea to take a taxi. Try joining the locals and travel the healthy way. You can rent a bike at Bike City (www.bikecity.nl).

At around 4 meters below sea level, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (voted Europe’s best in 2007) is the lowest lying major airport in the world. Almost entirely flat, if global warming causes the sea level to rise, the city will become one of the first to flood. Amsterdam gets it is name from ‘Amstellerdam', a dam in the river Amstel.

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