Last weekend, I went to Amsterdam for the first time since I was about eight, and it is an amazing city! I am already trying to figure out how I can fit in a return visit this year.
We had a busy weekend of celebrating, since we were there for a hen/bachelorette party. We had Saturday morning free though, so I decided to head out for a run.
Of course, Amsterdam is famous for its canals, but there are lots of bridges crossing them, meaning lots of junctions to navigate. I (correctly) guessed this would make for rubbish running, so did my research to find an alternative. It seemed that Vondelpark was a decent place to run, about a mile away from our hotel. It was easy to find, and I immediately knew I had made a wise decision. There were so many runners there!!
It seems most of Amsterdam runs in this park, and these were easy miles to do as I watched the super-chic Amsterdam ladies cycle by with handbags in their baskets, families cycle about their Saturday mornings, and runners of all ages and speeds getting in some exercise. There were people working out with their personal trainers, kids learning to roller blade, and people walking their dogs.
It was a pretty park too, with lots of water and little gardens.
I had been a little nervous about the etiquette, especially since Amsterdam has such a strong cycling culture. It was pretty straightforward though; I didn’t listen to music on the run to the park, and made absolutely sure I looked IN EVERY DIRECTION before crossing any roads, no matter how minor they were. There are A LOT of cyclists in Amsterdam, which is great, but pedestrians are definitely at the very bottom of the food chain which was a bit frustrating.
Once in the park though, it was plain sailing. The wide road which runs round the perimeter was easily shared by runners and cyclists, and I simply followed the other runners. Everyone runs the same route, so there isn’t much to worry about. You would struggle to get lost, and all the cyclists are in regular clothing, going about their daily business, so it’s a far cry from the sporty types who might whizz past you in Richmond Park.
Knowing that I probably wouldn’t manage a run on Sunday (Saturday night was set to be a big one, and hotel check out was at midday…forget it) I opted to do two laps of the park, bringing my run to seven miles. As you would image, it was very flat indeed, so made for fast and easy running. A great way to start what went on to be a great day.
There were a few other great running routes I would like to try if (when) we go back, and this run was really quite easy and enjoyable. Thank you Amsterdam!