Man, all I can say about a warm sunny day at Vondelpark in central Amsterdam, is that there are a lot of people who love nice weather! During the week and on more cloudy and colder days, there are definitely a lot less cyclists, joggers, and mamas with kids walking around, but yesterday, a warm sunny Sunday, I swear half of Amsterdam was hanging out in the park.
As a Dutchie-turned-Kiwi I am used to what New Zealanders call ‘busy’ weekends, but I cannot compare that to the masses of crowds I see walking, biking, driving, laughing, running, eating and drinking through Amsterdam. Every single bar, restaurant, seat and toilet is full of locals and tourists. The streets are a neverending battle between pedestrians and cyclists, cyclists and cars, cyclists and other cyclists in particular, and trams that will (or cannot) not stop whether you are standing right in front of them or not.
This Sunday was a relatively sunny and sometimes cloudy day, but as a local Dutchman told me on Saturday, when it’s above 15 degrees, everybody comes outside. Some even get near naked, particularly old ladies who seem to have no shame in bearing all. Not a good memory.
When I biked through the park I smelt a lot of weed let me tell you. There were hundreds of bogans, young and old lovers, goths, and a neverending trail of strollers and bakfietsen. I was quite disappointed with the amount of people smoking the substance, rather than enjoying the fresh air that is so nicely given to us in the green(ish) fields. But I enjoyed walking through the Melkhuis (where families let their kids play and run around in the playground), and seeing hot chocolates, coffees, lunches and cakes served on the green picnic tables. There was an art stand for the kids, with popcorn, a bouncy castle and balloons, which was a really nice and colourful sight to behold.
The park itself I find quite pretty in its own unique middle-of-the-city kind of way. There are beautiful trees hanging over the water and now that it’s the beginning of April, the colours of the flowers are starting to bloom. There are ducks, frogs, and other birds floating around to keep us company, and generally along the water the greenery is lovely. I am used to a different definition of a park, but Vondelpark is rather quaint for how many people cross there every day and still manage to keep maintaining and respecting its beauty.
On the Friday before, I biked to one of my favourite places in Amsterdam, the bridge next to the Stopera by the Waterlooplein. When it’s a nice day everything looks so beautiful. I love sitting on the wharf and looking at all that goes on during the day, on the water and around the streets and shops. Here below (from my Instagram) there are people enjoying the sun by the water and a guy is reading a book on his ‘balcony’. I loved seeing that kind of relaxation and freedom.
The details of the boats and the scenery are one of those things you can never stop taking photos of. The texts and names on doors, decorations, flowers, walls and pieces of wood add to the character that is Dutch and Amsterdam.
I do really love Amsterdam, especially this area. The noises of trams, bike wheels and bells, people laughing, shouting, and enjoying each other’s company gives my heart a little bit of joy and knowledge that life can be enjoyed in so many different ways, in so many different parts, with so many different kinds of people of the world x