Posts tagged “Vondelpark

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While our Amsterdam weather since December hasn’t been nearly as dramatic & dangerous as California’s, it’s still featured more rainy days than one really needs. So far as I can recall, the sun has managed to peek through the clouds on four days or so since about the week before Christmas, and on only one of those did it stick around very long.

This means getting out to parks is quite simply hard and minimally appealing. Seeing anything visually appealing once there, let alone bothering to take the phone out and photograph it? Even harder. Nonetheless, there was sufficient break in the rain — even a fleeting moment of sun — to lure me into the park on my way home from the gym this morning. By the time my camera was out, the sun had vanished. In the seconds between when I took the photo above and the photo below, the sleet had begun. Ah, well, gardens are still gardens, even in the sleet and wind. 🙂

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Yes, the gates to Vondelpark can be closed, as I learned to my … surprise, chagrin and / or shock … the day of and the day after one of the major spring storms that knocked down trees. Unless one climbed over fences, stone walls, or gates such as these, one could not enter the park for a day or two. Gasp.

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Trying to enjoy Vondelpark and all my other urban-garden walks as much as possible while there are still leaves on the trees, especially since those leaves are changing color daily 🙂

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The roses are still abloom in Vondelpark’s lovely rose garden, though with this week’s rain and cooler temperatures, I I suspect the end is nigh…

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Foreground, behive; background, stork on nesting platform. At least, I think it’s a stork but maybe different migratory birds use those platforms at different times. That’d be a smartly-adaptive Dutch approach to supporting migratory bird populations in the midst of probably the most famous park in the nation…

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Urban Garden: King’s Day Special Edition :-)

April 27th is King’s Day here in the Netherlands – they celebrate the reigning monarch’s birthday in uniquely Dutch style. What this means, so far as I can tell, is three things: a) It’s one of the rare “bank holidays” where just about every office and shop is completely closed (since one gets more weeks of actual annual leave / vacation here, one doesn’t need to depend on the three-day weekends to breathe, as one does in the US), and this year it fell smack in the middle of the work week which was kind of fun; b) As demonstrated in this post, here in Amsterdam it’s the one day per year where folks are allowed to lay out their wares on any old street corner for sale – and key parks like Vondelpark are reserved for kids; c) Once the day becomes more advanced, all the rest of the adults come out and turn more or less the entire city into one continuous, enormous citywide moving block party, with bands everywhere. Oh, and unlike the US, one’s allowed to drink in public here – though the city’s site reminds everyone that one bottle (allowed) means one bottle, not a six-pack (not allowed).

I’m fortunate to live just down the street from Vondelpark, more or less the most famous of Amsterdam’s many lovely parks, and having been told that the kid-energy in the morning there would be a lot of fun, I strolled on up around 8:30 and took all of the photos on this post between 8:30 and 9:45. It was fantastic – so many families out there with kids proudly displaying the toys they no longer want, or selling cookies they’d baked or coffee they’d made. The entire park become one lovely kid-driven block party / garage sale (the US term). It was delightful energy, and it began with the kid just above who’d clearly arrived early to snag one of the best spots just at the main western entrance to Vondelpark, whose bright smile & “goede morgen, mijnheer” started my exploration in just the right mood.

I did venture out to Centrum in the evening and experienced the many bands on the street and the HORDES of people moving en masse from one band to the next…but photos just weren’t possible. You’d have be here to understand, but let me say for those who’ve been here: it’s the first time I’ve seen pedestrians take over every street entirely so that no wheeled vehicle of any sort can move anywhere, whether main street, bike path, or sidewalk. (I mean, true, in Centrum at midnight during tourist season it’s hard, but it’s limited to Centrum…this day, much more broadly distributed, much longer, and more fun with bands and all.) So enjoy this gallery celebrating national pride the Dutch way, which is quite inclusive and enjoyable, I’d have to say. 😊


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