By Marina Aagaard, MFT
As seen on film! The scene in the reception might as well have been choreographed. It is going to be a good day!
06:30. I am heading full speed for the breakfast restaurant with map and papers in hand. But. What. I have forgotten my pen. I walk towards the reception desk. There are three men behind the tile-clad desk. One behind and one at each side. All three are well-dressed in dark suits.
They are in the middle of a conversation, but stop talking as I approach.
I ask the ‘middle man’ behind the desk “Do you have a pen, I may borrow”.
In a split second three arms shoot towards me, each with a pen in hand.
This event is perfectly synchronized and without any hesitation. Fantastic.
Sometimes small things or movements make the biggest difference.
The breakfast holds another surprise. Apart from a nice and colourful buffet with juice, fruit, muesli, nuts, bread, cold cuts, cheese, marmalade and more, you can order hot dishes. I can’t help it: I order a pancake (I think).
Then! I get a plate with four pancakes and fresh banana plus chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Surprising, naughty but nice, however, more than a morning pancake.
After breakfast my sneakers in Dutch colour are ready for walking.
At the KLM Amsterdam Sneaker page I have found the map Recreational Walk.
So my first move is to walk from the hotel to Vondelpark, the starting point.
I hit ‘Start’ on my Polar heart rate monitor (I am half Finnish).
Plant! You aren’t going anywhere!
Vondelpark. It is hard to tell from this photo, but the park is full of people and dogs.
Leaving the park and walking north-east I spot these amazing bronze reptiles.
The flower market is a surprise. Not only flowers, but bulbs in all sizes and shapes.
“We ship all over Europe”.
Across from the Central Station you find the Tourist Information in a separate building with a cafe, ticket counter and a toilet (loo) … decorated with a.o. Dutch houses.
The walk includes a ferry ride, but it is no problem: The ferries leave only minutes apart, a ferry ride only lasts 3 minutes and it is free. From the Central Station you go to the northern part of the city. More to see looking up and down and all around.
The walk goes through a residential area and ends at Nieuwendammerdijk. An idyllic area, where people relax in the sunshine outside a café.
I join in and take a short rest after this walk of 13.9 km, expected at 2 h 50 minutes: But it lasts longer due to more than a few photo-stops.
Then I head back. I walk for about one kilometer, but then jump on a bus back to the Central Station. I am (there) again …
From there I sail again and am ready for the Mighty Museums walk of 4.1 km, expected 50 minutes, from the EYE Film Museum to the Stedelijk Museum – or the other way around.
The EYE Film Museum is in an impressive, odd-shaped building, worth seeing (visiting).
In the building next to it, Lookout Amsterdam, at the top of the building you find two swings; you can have a swing with a view.
Walking back through the city full of art and street art. The only way is up!
Art is everywhere. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
In the museum part of town you will find the famous and formidable Rijks Museum.
One should dedicate a full day for visiting and seeing the works of the many famous Dutch painters. Not only Rembrandt and Van Gogh. There are many more; my favorite is Emanuel de Witte (1617–1692), his (architecture) paintings are outstanding.
The legendary Iamsterdam sculpture is almost non-stop full of tourists photographing each other or taking selfies.
There were no room for me at the Iamsterdam letters, so I settle for a ‘selfie’ at the mirror-sculpture by the Stedelijk Museum.
After the museum route I am ready for the Design Stroll, which starts close by the Stedelijk museum. This is a walk of 5 km, expected 1.2 h.
Starting point is the super-shopping street Peter Cornelisz (PC) Hooftstraat: Prada, Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Max Mara a.o. Excellent for shoppers or window shoppers.
Moving on I see more interesting items for those interested in jewellery, watches and art. You will find goods in all sizes and price ranges.
The most elegant pedestrian sign I have ever seen – in glittering blue and silver-white glass mosaics.
Amsterdam of course has a Tulip Museum and many, many tulips.
A balcony with a giant butterfly. Party is imminent. Below are more unusual facade decorations.
This walk ends – after plenty of designer-boutique-window-shopping – in Harlemmerstraat. It is late in the afternoon and time to head back.
Clogs in all sizes, colours and materials are expected.
Almost back at the hotel. A gallery window speaks: And at the end of the day your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling. A suitable quote.
With a full mind – and an empty stomach – I opt for the easy solution. As I am on my own, today I will skip solo dining at a town restaurant; I go to the hotel Restaurant Jansz.
And enjoy a delightful dinner at the candlelit table by the window.
My choice: Tuna tartar with wasabi (some like it hot), Morano spiced salmon with couscous and for dessert strawberry creme brûlée. Delicious. The wine, too:
White wine Touraine (sauvignon blanc), from Loire in France, and red wine, Baron De Ley (tempranillo), Rioja Reserva, Spain.
Trip by kind invitation of KLM.