“I want to go to Vondelpark.” I clearly told Dorothy. She snorted as we set off on foot, starting at our hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton right next to the Amsterdam Central train station.

“How far is it ?” Dorothy inquired, already looking tired.

“Oh let me check.” I said as I got out my phone and checked on Google Maps how long it would take to get there. “Oh no, it’s just under 5 kilometers from here. With all the kids, that will take us at least an hour and a half !”

“Like there’s no way I’m doing that.” Dorothy looked alarmed. “You can’t seriously be thinking of going there on foot. Can’t we get a taxi?”

“No Dorothy, we’re in Amsterdam and we’re not taking a taxi.” I retort.

“Why not ? We do it all the time in Brussels. What about an Uber then ?” Dorothy suddenly gets creative.

“Dorothy dear, we’re in Amsterdam. The Dutch are very green-minded and eco-friendly. It’s just not done.” I explain. “Oh okay then, maybe Amsterdam is a bit like Barcelona and we’ll find some quaint little parks dotted around the city with play areas for the kids.”

“You’d be lucky. But okay, if we’re just going to be leisurely walking around the town, then I’m up for it.” All of a sudden, Dorothy is energised again.

So we set off walking down the little streets in a general south looking direction. Vondelpark seemed to be south to central station, so anything near where I originally wanted to be will do. We’re casually walking down the little streets which are filled with tourists. All youngsters out to have fun. They’re a noisy crowd. Laughing and jeering, running around thinking they’re funny. There’s also the youngsters sitting out smoking their joints. They look grey and pale and not like there having much fun.

“Oh my, I didn’t realise that’s what it looks like from the outside.” Dorothy looks alarmed.

“Well what did you think you looked like when you’re smoking a joint ?” I put the question to her.

“I don’t know. I think I looked kind of cool.” Dorothy answers defensively.

“Well there you go, that’s what cool looks like. Fun huh?” I’m being little miss goodie-pants now and I know Dorothy can’t stand it. I feel I need to make up for hurt feelings so I offer : “Oh look at that ! Bike taxis. That looks fun and it’s very green. I’m sure the Dutch would approve.”

“Oh goodie, no more walking.” Dorothy sounds relieved.

We approach the bike taxis and ask them to take us and the kids down to Vondelpark. The perfectly foldable Mountain Buggy fits perfectly between our legs. We’re on our way to check one item off my wish-list. Or so I thought.

The ride in the bike taxi was exciting, to say the least. Amsterdam is chock-a-block with bikes, pedestrians and cars. All of them making their way criss-cross through the city. The bike had a little electric motor and reached a relatively exciting speed at times too. Despite the fact that I did almost wet myself, and Dorothy looked all cross-eyed, we arrived safe and sound at Vondelpark. The bike taxi driver was super friendly too. He offered to come pick us up again when we were finished with our walk. A quick phone number exchange arranged that.

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We fully enjoyed strolling around Vondelpark. It’s a huge park right on the outskirts of Amsterdam center. It’s filled with both locals and tourists, all enjoying some quality time in the grass, pick-nicking with the kids, talking with friends. There were plenty of little stands offering light refreshments, ice creams and hotdogs. And all that for cheap !

We found the little Melkhuis where we stopped for some coffee and cake. The kids played. We stopped by the open-air theatre where a band was playing live music. We curiously eyed the various statues throughout the park. It was a great way to stretch our tired legs from the train ride, to get in some fresh air and to spend quality time together.

When we found we had finished our tour of the park, we called our bike taxi and he faithfully came to pick us up. The ride back home to our hotel was just as adventerous as the one getting to the park. Yet we arrived safely and the driver couldn’t help himself laughing at our worried discomfort.

“Well that sure got my adrenaline going.” Dorothy beamed. “What on the planning for tomorrow ?”

“Hmmm let me see…” I pondered for a moment. “I’d like to go to the Artis zoo. Apparently it’s very good. And I’d like to go for a boat ride. And maybe do a few museums too.”

“I think you’re being too ambitious there.” Dorothy yawned. “We’ll see tomorrow morning.”

And with that, we took our tired babes to bed and all slept soundly.

 

 

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