Right. Pretty sure I saw everyone’s hand up. The snow has been welcomed and appreciated and now it would be wonderful if it would politely pack its bags and hit the road.
Aside from daily cycling to/from work (yes…even in the snow) and rock climbing on tuesdays/weekends (indoor of course, no mountains in Holland), I haven’t been doing other sports. Damn you, Amsterdam! You always have too many other non-healthy activities to engage in. Although I will argue that mental health should be nourished, too. And if that means scotch-ing you’re way to happiness, so be it.
Besides, although I played softball in my younger years, I am by no means an athlete. In fact, the only true reason I joined a gym in the past was to use the sauna and read the crumpled, sweat-laden back issues of celebrity mags like People and Us Weekly.
There. I said it.
Not surprisingly I have never been an avid runner (unless training for short races like a 5K), though hiking, backpacking, and walking are among my favorite things (along with scotch of course). I also love to spend copious amounts of time with my lovely lady friends. So when lovely lady Helen told me about the Zandvoort 30 km walk, I was crazy-eyed with anticipation.
According to their website, (which I google translated into English) there will be some nice sites along the 30 km route (highlighted in red):
“The 30 Zandvoort owes its name to the thirty miles through varied and around Dutch famous resort. Below is pointwise the route described:
- The start is from Paddock 2 at Circuit Park Zandvoort;
- Through the Mayor of Alphen Street and Boulevard Barnaart you walk on the beach;
- On the beach you can walk in a northerly direction until seaport of IJmuiden;
- At IJmuiden you walk about the Lord Duinweg, from here the route a few kilometers from National Park South Kennemerland;
- Through the Lord Dunes and Dune hike to Middle Men Duin & Kruidberg;
- The route takes you along the ruins of Brederode and from the cup of Bloemendaal;
- Through the Hoge Duin and Daalseweg you walk towards the Bloemendaalseweg;
- After the village of Overveen stroll past Duinlust Estate;
- Through Tap Leak walk along the Visserspad to Zandvoort;
- You finish the Haltestraat in the center of Zandvoort.”
To be honest I have no idea what any of this means…but I know that it will be a killer time. Hopefully just killer-fun–and not sock/shoe-killer, toe- killer, leg-killer, or glut-killer. Basically, this distance is nothing to take lightly.
Rain, snow, or sunshine…we are determined to have some practice training walks. The first one I spent in Amersfoort, a cute city just outside of Amsterdam that happens to also have a nice forest within walking distance from the train station. Although snow was covering the ground, there was a radiant sun shining down on us which made our wandelen bearable.
Oh the beautiful sounds, smells, and sights! I really forgot how much I love the nature. It is so great to sweat in the summer and shiver in the winter (yep, Ani D said it best). We walked for over 15 km that day, and it passed in no time! The secret to long distance walks, find a great friend to join you. Not that we need an excuse, but can you think of a better excuse to reward yourself with pints at the end of the day? I sure can’t.
Alas the snow melted the following week, though Amsterdam was still feeling like Siberia. In the spirit of bein’ super-hardcore-walker-chicks, we found ourselves biking to a lovely English-style park three times the size of Central Park (!!!), the Amsterdamse Bos. Again, why have I not come here sooner? It is just gorgeous. Perfectly clean, separate bike and walker paths, and many well-labeled routes for unlimited exporation. But this is not the ultimate selling point.
They also have a petting zoo. In the middle of the park.
Q: What is cuter than a pile of baby goats?
A: A pile of baby goats being stroked by a PILE OF INFANT HUMAN BABIES!!!
I think we’re done here.
Well, almost. Did I mention they also sell fresh, noms-4-days worthy goat cheeses?
Exploring the city can be quite magical. Glad we are making the time to do it.