Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Cycling Through Vondelpark, Amsterdam

When in Amsterdam, do as the Dutch do!

So in true Dutch style, we hired bikes and took a spin through Vondelpark, the 'Hyde Park' of Amsterdam (but most certainly nicer by my opinion!).

We stocked up on a hearty breakfast at Corner Bakery - which if you don't live under a rock, would definitely have seen on your Instagram feed by now.

Unfortunately the early birds had nabbed all the lovely seats upstairs and we ended up somewhat squashed down below by the kitchens.

Nonetheless, the interior, ambiance and food were just as wonderful as expected.

While we waited for our food to arrive, we sipped on 'Volcanoes' - a hot chocolate with toast marshmallow on top. Yup, heaven.

Corner Bakery sat perfectly in the middle of our hotel and Vondelpark so we made a brisk walk towards the park post-breakfast to hire our bikes.

There are plenty of places to hire, rent or buy bikes (and even go on tours). But prior to our trip we did plenty of research and Macbike came out as one the best and cheapest. They have lots of stores scattered across Amsterdam and one of them happens to sit right around the corner from Vondelpark.

Saddled up, we whizzed through the park, stopping frequently en route to admire little spots we found.

Vondelpark is entirely geared up (excuse the pun!) for cyclists. In fact, I asked the assistant in Macbike whether there were plenty of cycling routes in the park, only for her to tell us it was probably safer to cycle than to walk! It's crazy how everybody's mode of transport is a bike here - I would love that in London.

The park is huge and seeing it on bike is great in order to squeeze it all in. It's the most beautiful par  and hands down beats any London alternatives (although I shouldn't be so hard on my hometown, it's pretty beautiful too!). There are hidden lakes, secret paths, water features, places to eat and drink or read a book, and so many beautiful trees and flowers.

After enjoying a picnic in the park, we continued on foot towards the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam's most famous and largest museum.

Breaking fashion boundaries in stripes and denim. Alternatives are below, although you can still snap up the jeans here.

The Rijksmuseum is an architectural fest for the eyes and surrounding gardens blissfully resemble Paris' Jardin des Tuileries with the sandy beige pathways, ornate garden landscaping and water features.

But we bathed in the evening humidity by the canals. There's nothing quite like being next to water in the evenings of long, hot summer days.

Sadly, no bubbles were popped open and no strawberries were to be consumed.

We roamed the cobbled streets in search for Dutch pancakes instead.

And my, oh my! The Happy Pig Pancake shop is a tourist attraction in its own right.

The pancakes are light, fluffy and dusted in flour. And they don't scrape on the fillings either - Alice and I shared the lemon and sugar classic and were marvellously surprised at how filled they were.

Though, the shop sits directly opposite a "coffeeshop" (the kind that doesn't sell coffee...) so be sure to order something strong in smell to keep unwanted wafting fumes at bay!

Our afternoon was spent exploring the canals once more. You can never see too many, even if they do seemingly look the same.

We found ourselves in our favourite neighbourhood, Jordaan.

Dashing in and out of cool fashion stores, vintage shops and interior boutiques, it's not hard to understand why the west of Amsterdam Centrum has a reputation of being cool, urban and chic.

The party boats soon flurried in on the canals, and we knew it was time for dinner.

Thrill Grill is a no-frills place where you can grab a burger, hot dog or other meaty option (veggie options are also available).

And we thoroughly enjoyed it after our day of cycling and walking everywhere. Eating the pancakes were also such a task...

Since Heineken is brewed in Amsterdam and the rest of Holland, it would be a crime to visit and not taste a sip.

I'm not a huge beer fan, though over the past couple of months I seem to have come to like it more. This was much lighter and refreshing than others I've tried before.

Hot dog for me, beefburger for Alice.

Daredevil food connoisseurs, I know.

We walked off dinner with an evening walk in the sunset before sulking into bed, thoroughly tired but content with our day's activities.

Amsterdam, you are one charming beauty.

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