A Club Hop City Walk in Amsterdam: From Nord to West to Zuid to Ost

Af Marina Aagaard, MFT

Can you see Amsterdam by foot? Yes, you can. The evidence is clear.
Must you see Amsterdam by foot? No, you can take a tram, bus, taxi or bike.
Should you see Amsterdam by foot? Yes, sights are super and walking is healthy.

It is morning. Air is cooler than yesterday and it is cloudy. Nice walking weather.

The Club Hop route map as seen on the KLM Amsterdam Sneaker page: 10.6 km in approx. 2 h 13 min. Around 20.000 steps done just in time (including photo stops).
Club hopping? Yes, best done at night, I know … maybe next time.

KLM_Map_West

Today is ‘cheat day’: I could walk to the starting point, but to save time – as this is only a short trip – I take a taxi to Westergasfabriek. A former gas plant, now arty area, cafes and a tivoli in green surroundings.

Later in the day it is probable crowded. Now there are only a couple of snack bar guests and mothers strolling with prams.

    

From Westgazwerk I walk south-west along the main road. Residential and commercial areas on one side and on the other side a green area with runners and dog walkers.

I walk towards the city centre. It is a walk without any particular sights or attractions; flats in red bricks and small super markets and shops …

However, the walk gives a peak into the everyday in Amsterdam and that is nice and very far from ‘touristic’. Also you see things, you would not see if you were only in the center – and get some extra exercise.


Traffic sign: Alcohol prohibited and above that sigh: Smoking cannabis prohibited!
Is Holland maybe the only country in the world with a traffic sign like that?

If you take a closer look, you see many interesting things: Superman lives in Amsterdam.

Gradually there are more and more canals and tiny bridges to be seen. I am back in the Amsterdam city centre.

Arty details are everywhere. A stone cat moving up a brick house wall in Leidsegracht.

Are the bikes in Amsterdam like those in other countries? Yes and no. They have two wheels, but many, many colours … and there are an abundance of different bikes from 80’s mini-bikes over state-of-the-art road racers and mountain bikes to city bikes.

Creative builders: I walked out the same way I walked in. I walked out the same way I walked in. Stairs are art. Poetry is art. Stair-poetry is two-in-one street art.

How many canals and bridges can you shoot before you get bored. An almost endless amount. Water draws viewers (and photographers).

Predictable photo opportunity, Rembrandt Plein, where I had no success in getting af ‘solo’ photo of the great painter … when the Chinese tourist finally stopped filming after 10 minutes an Italian guy rushed in front of the monument.

I pass Club AIR Amsterdam. Holland is the country, that put truly electronic dance music on top of the charts with super clubs and parties and DJ’s such as Tiësto, Armin van Burren, Hardwell and Martin Garrix. Great music (mixes) also for fitness workouts.

Now heading eastwards to the docklands. Behind the naval museum, there is an area with residential and company buildings and old warehouses.

An organic building; Architectuurcentrum Amsterdam. A great ‘figure’.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum and a ship from yesteryear marks the ‘entrance’ to the dockland area with Kattenburg, Wittenburg and Czaar Peterbuurt.

In one of the old buildings you find Amsterdam Roest, the walk destination. It is a bar with live music and a relaxed atmosphere. The bar do not open until 12 o’clock, so a visit inside has to keep for another time (Google maps/earth: Dockland area).

On the way back to the city centre and hotel. More photogenic old buildings.

Amsterdam also has an Art Hotel near the central station. I put my footprint on the door mat: I’m not lost, I’m exploring! (Jana Stanfield).

Yet another ‘smokery’, rokerij, a coffeeshop … next to a cannabis shop …

The Dutch are progressive and fit. Apart from biking all over the place, I see many – adults – on scooters, skateboards and this balance-challenging motorized ‘wheel’.

Back in the hotel with the tile-clad reception desks. A cool detail among many. Initially the idea was to build a new hotel, but instead 25 old buildings were bought and restored.

After a lunch break. Back on the beat. A walk in the small streets in the city centre. Among others the Nine Streets, De 9 straatjes, an area with many shops with art and clothes.

          

Walking along the Damrak to the Central Station. It is crowded, full of locals and tourists.

The three crosses seen everywhere in Amsterdam, on stalls, benches, dustbins and T-shirts, are part of the city crest, however, their exact origin is unknown.

I could have walked past it, but saw a photographer lingering. I looked in and discovered a passage, Beurs Passage, with maritime mosaics from floor to ceiling.

The last looks on the streets, alleys and souvenirs of Amsterdams; an exciting city with everything from old-school til new-school.

    

A massive queue obstructs the pedestrian traffic. What is it? Something exciting?
To some probably; It is fries! Voted nr. 1 Holland Fries …

Amsterdam has to be the place in the World, outside of Italy, with the most Vespa’s. They are everywhere.

At the Central Station. Buying a train ticket. A friendly greating from the light panel.

The last glimpse of Amsterdam; Schiphol Airport. It is almost time for take-off.

Mission succesful. On the way back in the Cityhopper I note, that approx. 60.000 steps later, I have seen quite a bit of Amsterdam, knowing well that there is much more to see.

Iamsterdam.


Trip by kind invitation of KLM.

City Walk in 36.000 Steps: Amsterdam Sneaker Sightseeing

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.

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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.

Cheers!


Trip by kind invitation of KLM.

Weekend walk: Nationalpark Mols Bjerge, Djursland, Denmark.

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Early weekend morning Djursland, Denmark. Off-season. Cool, moist, misty. In the car and a 20 minute drive by car to Nationalpark Mols Bjerge. Park. Walk.  

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Walking through the park on narrow paths. The landscape reveals its heritage: Ice age made. Nationalpark Mols Bjerge. Although Bjerge (Mountains) is an overstatement.

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Big, bleak, black trees and fog as backdrop (you can’t help thinking of The Fog by Steven King (or Play Misty for Me, a thriller with the song Misty).

mols_2017_02_img_3450 mols_2017_02_img_3451 mols_2017_02_img_3452    mols_2017_02_img_3455mols_2017_02_img_3454  mols_2017_02_img_3458    mols_2017_02_img_3459 mols_2017_02_img_3460 mols_2017_02_img_3461 mols_2017_02_img_3462

Meet the locals. Sheep. With horn. Curious, but shy. They turn their backs on us and move away.

mols_2017_02_img_3466mols_2017_02_img_3464    mols_2017_02_img_3465

In the Nationalpark there are 40 habitat areas, places with certain characteristics, which make it possible for certain species, who do not thrive elsewhere, to live there.

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Local ‘mountain’, Trehøje, second highest peak, 127 m, in Mols Bjerge (Agri Bavnehoej, 137 m, is the highest one).

Three large bronze age burial mounds have given name to this area with 22 burial mounds. From the top of Trehøje you can see far away in all directions. Not today, though.

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Down from Trehøje. We return by another route, a gravel road. I prefer the paths, but variety is fine.

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Local ‘underground’ surfacing. Efter tree felling all the roots are piled up. A strange sight.

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Large stacks of newly cut wood. Photos tell many stories, but live experiences are better (more sensory input): The smell of wood today is very pleasant and quite powerful.

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After our walk a short drive for about 10 minutes to nearby Ebeltoft, a popular summer holiday town.

Ebeltoft Port on a misty day. The sea, ports and ships of all kinds are favourites of mine.

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Museum Fregatten Jylland (Frigate Jutland). Not very photogenic today due to scaffolding.

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Museum entry. Can cannons be cute, when they are pink? No, I think not (not ever) …

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Karens Brasserie beside the Frigate museum. Off-season only open during weekends.
Here we have enjoyed quite a few weekend brunches with a view and a cannon salute.

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Small, but delicious. A pancake. A favourite of mine …

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Todays ‘fitness’ calculation (!): Slow 1 hour walk: Output: 100 kcal.
Solid protein- and fat-rich mega brunch: Input: approx. 1000 kcal!

Rigtig god weekend.

Fitness wellness super hike: Preikestolen, Norway.

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Took a trip to Norway this weekend to do a group exercise workshop in Sandnes near Stavanger. Hubby suggested a morning photo outing, which turned out to be a bucket item list, which I did not know I had to have …

Preikestolen or Prekestolen, or Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock, a steep
and massive cliff 604 m (1982 ft) above Lysefjorden in Ryfylke, Norway.
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Stavanger.

My husband had seen a picture of Preikestolen, which he wanted to photograph. I knew of it, but reckoned it to be out of our immediate way. However he persisted.
So at around 7:30 in the morning, right after we had gotten of the ferry from Denmark, we took the Norled ferry from Stavanger to Tau, 30-40 minutes of sailing (time tables at norled.no). From Tau we drove by car towards Sandnes along route 13 for 30 km. We followed the signs to the Preikestolen parking (expensive), which is 270 meters a.s.l.

My husband had read on the internet, that it was a 1 hour walk (2 hour return trip) to get to the Preikestolen. Seemed realistic enough for a 3.8 km (2.4 mile) walk.
However, as we found out ourselves – and from later reading other descriptions on the internet, surprise: The trip takes 2-3 hours out and 2-3 hours back.
A little less if you are very fit and a whole lot longer if you are unfit. The ‘walk’ is highly inadvisable, if you have any kind of disability or very short legs.

Preikestolen map Norge foto Marina Aagaard

The path is mostly gravel and rocks and some steps, which are really rugged rocks.  In a few places there is just the bare rock or in 3-4 places wooden paths. In some places it can be hard to see, where you are going, but look for red T’s painted on the rocks.

Preikestolen Norway foto Marina Aagaard

Preikestolen lake Norway foto Marina Aagaard

Outbound the walk is mostly up-hill by steep rock boulders interrupted by just a few flat parts. The ascent has a 330 m (1080 feet) height difference. And apart from one place only there are no railings. Going down is almost as difficult, because you have to watch your steps carefully in order not to slip on or step between the rocks.

P Path and tree  Photos of path and stairs …P Path   P Stairs P Sten i vand   P Top rocksidePreikestolen plateau Norway foto Marina Aagaard

You are strongly advised to 1) go out very early in order to get back before the dark), 2) wear proper hiking/climbing shoes and also 3) bring a snack and some water.

There are no bars or restaurants (or toilets) along the way … and there is no easy way down (no steps or escalators), so save some energy. In rainy weather (my luck), the rocks are very slippery, so extra attention is needed.

P Crevasse P Fjord View from top

It is a strenuous walk to the top, so some celebrate arrival in style: Champagne!
(Though I think it is unwise to go overboard, if you want a safe return …).

P Champagne

It is hard to see, but at least I know, that it is me … just a tiny bit uneasy … standing there close to the edge at Preikestolen, 600 m (1970 ft) straight above Lysefjorden:

Marina Aagaard at Preikestolen Norway foto Henrik Elstrup

There is a wonderful view of Lysefjorden and surrounding mountarins, but just as good: It is an absolutely magnificent and exciting hike, and excellent exercise – outdoor fitness – too!

This walk/hike is highly recommended, nature at its very best; dramatic and intense.
And if you can’t get to Preikestolen, then just take a walk and a big inhale.

What a wonderful world.

Weekend Wellness Walk: Get Up, Get Out, Get Well

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Easter time is holiday time for some. If time and money is tight, a day trip or two to a place near you, preferable one you have not visited before, is an o.k. holiday travel substitute. As always it is good to grab the chance of getting some free exercise; going for a run or brisk (as in heavy breathing) walk. I did.

Weekend weather was wonderful … and springtime was in the air and colours everywhere. The small national park of Mols Bjerge (Bjerge means Mountains, but they are really just small hills), Jutland, Denmark, and surroundings, was waking up after ‘hibernation’ and is, I think, well worth a visit and a walk.
Outdoor fitness at its best behaviour.

Mols Bjerge tree photo Marina Aagaard

Kaloe kroget treeKaloe grene himmel distantKaloe skovbund blomsterdaekkeKaloe traerThorsager skovbundMols kidMarina Aagaard og Kaloe slotsruin photo Henrik ElstrupTrees and water black and white Henrik Elstrup and Marina Aagaard

Kaloe gren artLast three photos by husband Henrik Elstrup going overboard with filters,
lenses and photoshopping. This is quite popular on 500 px, though …

Happy outdoor fitness workout, where ever you are.

Day Trip: Gone-Away Lake Walk

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Sometimes you do not need to travel very far to come a long way away from home…

This weekend I went for a walk in three different areas of the neighbourhood; in the woods, at the beach and, especially interesting, a new walk by a hidden, spooky lake …
Suddenly, I not only had some walk variation (for the benefit of the dog, too), but my mind wandered years back to my childhood.

I was an avid reader and loved the books by Elizabeth Enright; ‘Gone-Away Lake’ and ‘Return to Gone-Away’, about a forgotten lake and old, abandoned houses …
the stories came back to life at this weekend’s walks.

Walking, weather and wonders of nature made me feel, as if I was in the middle of a (fairy) tale, A Danish Late Winter’s Tale …

Photos by my husband, Henrik:

By the lake Langesø Djursland Denmark Photo Henrik ElstrupTrees by the lake Langesø Djursland Denmark Photo Henrik ElstrupMoss on tree by the lake Langesø Djursland Denmark Photo Henrik Elstrup 

By Følle Strand Djursland Photo Henrik ElstrupBy Kalø Slot Djursland Photo Henrik ElstrupEbeltoft Djursland Photo Henrik ElstrupEbeltoft Ved fregatten Djursland Photo Henrik Elstrup

Take a walk … it truly is mind-body travelling … and healthy, too.

Neighbourhood Nature Watch: A Fall Wellness Walk

Marina Aagaard, MFE

In between working and travelling there is time for a little home time. Not home time on the couch, but daily dog walks for fresh air inhalation and basic movement. It is physical fitness activity with a low level of intensity, but a high level of wellness, mindfulness and mental benefits.
Everyone should go out and ‘go green’ … or red, brown, yellow in the fall.

Rosenholm Slot Efterår Photo Henrik Elstrup

From todays walk in the vicinity, the area around Rosenholm Slot (Castle), Jutland Denmark: Recreation ground Iver Kilde (spring) from 1900 with a  deer park long gone, grotto, well, fishpond  and arbor, in the midst of a small wood with paths and bridleways.

 Efteraarsskov og hjulspor    Efteraarsskov Fall Fish pond with reflection at Ivers Kilde Rosenholm Photo Marina Aagaard

Aging fish pond with reflection. Water and sky image with some fall decor.

Granskov smal      Granskov

Fir trees supply a splash of green. Green is a soothing colour. Nature is medicine.

Ivers Kilde Rosenholm Fall wood with lake reflection Photo Marina Aagaard

Mesmerizing mirror images as seen in a forrest lake.

Mos       Træer   Stump with moss in fall wood Photo Marina Aagaard

Moss, moss and more moss. Nature’s own plush carpet.

Hey, you, what are you waiting for?
Your Nature is right outside your door.
Go out, get well, feel better, than before.