We’ll be sorry to say ‘Tot ziens’ to our Vondelpark.
We’re coming to the end of our European stay for the year. The days are getting shorter and chillier. Usually we’re well back in the swelter of a Sydney summer by now, so it’s been a bonus to be here to see the autumn in.
Amsterdam isn’t New England or Canada. There are few maple trees turning glorious red, so the prevailing autumn colours here are those of the elms, poplars and plane trees – yellow and brown, the prevailing Dutch drizzle soon turning fallen leaves to grey sludge on the paths.
But this year’s weather has been unusually mild, so taking the camera for a stroll through the Vondelpark is rewarded with a few colourful snaps… Continue reading
They’re off! Photo: Sydney Morning Herald
It’s exactly ten years since last I finished Sydney’s City to Surf race from the city centre to famous Bondi Beach. Time to do it again.
One problem – I’ll be in Amsterdam, not in Sydney, on the big day.
So I’ve had to devise a 14km virtual reality City to Surf route in a town which has no true city centre, no surf and nothing remotely like Heartbreak Hill, the steep stretch halfway along the course that causes so many hopefuls to ‘hit the wall’. Continue reading
One of Peter Erftemeijer’s “Three figures in the street”.
A gentleman plucks at my sleeve as we’re leaving the excellent NeighbourFood market by the Westergasfabriek. ‘Excuse me, sir, I’m a poet.’
My companions move on quickly, but he has me trapped. He’s polite, well-dressed and well-spoken. Seems ok.
‘I’ve written a poem about that statue over there, and I’d like to recite it to you.’
I know the statue, pictured above. The poet continues, reciting his short poem to an audience of one. He’s not a beggar, he’s a real poet, one of forty taking part in Juni Gedicht (June Poetry), an event sponsored by the local council. Continue reading
So here we go. After the royal succession last year, Koninginnedag (‘Queen’s Day’) has become Koningsdag, as Willem Alexander’s birthday is celebrated with a festival of orange across the nation.
If nobody buys them I’ll eat them myself.
The actual day of W-A’s birth, 26th April, is conveniently close to when the event used to be celebrated, former queen Juliana’s birthday, 30th April. (The King’s mum, Beatrix, was born in January, when the weather is generally not conducive to a giant street party.)
Amsterdam’s ever lovely Vondelpark is reserved for the kids of the city to earn some pocket money by performing, running games of skill and chance and selling surplus Barbies and Bob the Builder DVDs.
My camera was there too, for a fun day out. Continue reading
Oh dear, it was cold out on the Schinkel Canal!
There is something to be said for jetlag. If you can’t sleep you may as well get up and get outside, and at such an early hour you’ll practically have the world to yourself.
This is fine if you have a camera over your shoulder and Amsterdam’s Vondelpark waiting for you just across the canal.
The Vondelpark was waiting for spring. It may have been in the air, but it was as yet undetectable to the naked eye. The park was mostly grey, so I kept it that way. Continue reading
Riding through Amsterdam’s Vondelpark is pleasant in almost any season, however…
There’s nothing more miserable than an Amsterdam winter. Sure, there may be the odd crisp, clear day with merry skaters on the canals, but the fun never lasts.
Icy bike paths make for treacherous riding. Not my Vondelpark photo – it’s from de Volkskrant.
Grey sludge with drizzle becomes the default weather setting, with people heading to school and work in the gloom and not getting home till after dark.
Fortunately Mevrouw T and I are able to miss the worst of it and migrate like swallows to the sunny southern climes of Australia.
But it is always great to come back to The Netherlands just as people are getting excited again and the lovely Vondelpark across the canal from us comes to life. Continue reading
The day is rapidly approaching that Mevrouw T and I will be leaving Amsterdam to spend a few months in the southern hemisphere.
We’re going to miss having the Vondelpark on our doorstep. Just time for a few more bike rides.
Along with the farewells to family and friends, the polishing of the kitchen benches and fixing the leaky sink ready for tenants to move into our spotless apartment, there are a few things we need to do before we leave town. Continue reading