Nature walks Amsterdam-style

Raise your hand if you are ready for spring. IMG_1623 IMG_1621 IMG_1618

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.

IMG_1612Aside 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.

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CRAZYYYY EYESSSS

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.IMG_1628

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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.

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ERMAGERD!!!!

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!!!

again…ERMAGERD!!!

also…this creature:

A friggin' pony. In the middle of the woods, puling around a crate full of adorable kids.

A friggin’ pony. In the middle of the woods, puling around a crate full of adorable kids.

I think we’re done here.

Well, almost. Did I mention they also sell fresh, noms-4-days worthy goat cheeses?

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Exploring the city can be quite magical. Glad we are making the time to do it.

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  One thought on “Nature walks Amsterdam-style

  1. February 26, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Loved that walk with you! Nice blog again. Hope you can come over to Amersfoort next week 🙂

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