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I Love Amsterdam

May 5, 2016




Wednesday, May 4, 2016 Day 3

The house Jackie and John have for their house swap is really sweet. We are actually just outside of Leiden in a little town called Katwijk. All the houses on the street look the same and you would not guess the home to be so special, which it is! I checked it out on google map before arriving. Zilverschoon 68 2224 GK Katwijk Netherlands.

As the car is included in the house swap, we headed off this morning to Lisse to visit Keukenhof, a world famous flower garden with millions of tulips covering 79 acres. We were met here by tulip festival planners, as Jackie is involved in the Ottawa tulip festival. So incredibly beautiful ..Ottawa tulip festival multiplied 1000 times I think! The Keukenhof attracts an average of 1.6 million visitors yearly during the 6 weeks it is open.

I was very lucky to get a drive by Yap, one of the hosts, into Amsterdam and he let me off right at the gate to the Vondelpark. It is a beautiful free park for the locals and visitors alike to enjoy and more than 10 million visiting yearly. So tranquil and scenic and lovely to see people enjoying this park. I met quite a few as I strolled through and struck up some great conversations! Everyone I meet is so nice! There was a lot of water in the park; ponds, streams and benches to relax on. People were riding though the park on their bikes and the pathway for the bikes is nice and wide. Many were relaxing on the grass and enjoying the sun. I loved watching the guy who is a dog walker entertaining about 5 big dogs he had off leash with him. He would throw a small ball and the dogs would race to get it, plunging into the water in the steam. The policy of the park is dogs should be allowed to run free with a couple of areas out of bounds.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying this large expanse of nature. I wished I had rented a bike to ride around the park like the 2 nice girls I met from the Ukraine and the nice couple from England. You really feel you need to be biking when you are here and the old fashioned bikes are used by young and old alike.

I left the park and wandered through the city looking at so many interesting sights and went to the central train station to book my train ticket back to Katwijk. Went to the visitor’s bureau to see what scoop I might get there and met 2 lovely girls from Russia and was so happy to hear they are CouchSurfing !!! They are new to it but I could tell they are smart girls with little travel funds, so like me, CSING works for them. Why pay for a bed when you can be welcomed into someone’s home and sleep for free.It is great and you meet some super nice people! I am so lucky on my travels to the Netherlands to have friends who welcome me, which of course is the best!

Headed down to Dam Square, just outside the Royal Palace and one of the most well-known and important locations in the country, for the Remembrance Day service which got underway soon after 7:00 and it was absolutely beautiful, filling me with tears and that is good….the sacrifices people made for us to have a beautiful life..I was proud to be there. The king, Willem-Alexander and queen, Maxima, were there too. Thousands of people were there but I arrived in good time and was near the front and the big screens they had set up were great! I love the way the pigeons would fly over the square..they are considered birds of freedom.

Caught the train and bus and arrived “home” soon after 10:30 pm. Had a nice chat with Jackie and John and off to bed! We all had a lovely day.


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  1. Denise :) permalink

    Thankyou for the good read Kathy. I like “both young and old alike” 🙂 You are a smart woman too and very prepared for “a walk in the park” everywhere you travel. I imagine life in Amsterdam is very different and interesting to see in person. The Remembrance Day memorial to our loved ones and strangers who fought for our freedom draws a tear from our eyes too. Thankyou.

  2. Rosfer permalink

    I loved the parks in Amsterdam too. So many people just kicking back and relaxing. I also wished I had rented a bike to get around like a local. It’s hard to believe how many bikes there are on the streets there. Have fun!

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