The final installment of my tips for enjoying the best of Amsterdam is to take a break and relax. The city has a lot of green park space and it’s fairly tourist-free actually.
Food, Wine, and a Patch of Green Grass
Relaxing and taking it slow is supremo tops on the list for a lot of travelers making their way to Amsterdam – and in addition to allowing “coffee shop” purchases the city does not have the restrictive open container laws that are in effect in the United States.
That means that a top recommendation once you’re burnt out on the sightseeing is to stop by a market and pick up some treats for park consumption. One of the best parts of my visits to Amsterdam was getting out of the house once it started to get claustrophobic and heading to Vondel Park.
For visitors already renting a bike for traveling around the city, the trip to Vondel Park is a cinch – it’s extremely close to the Rijksmuseum and the whole museum complex. There is a delightful little bread shop and grocery store on Overtoom (on the left side of the street if coming from the train station side of town). This street is just around the corner from Vondel Park and the bread shop has the freshest bread in the city according to my friends allowing me to house-sit.
Whenever I needed a break I would just peddle over to this small market, lock the bike up tight and go on a mini shopping indulgence. Though I could wander the shop for a very long time I instead picked out a loaf of bread, chose a temptingly expensive chunk of exotic cheese, grabbed a bottle of wine (H was with me for this) and headed lakeside at Vondel Park to people watch and relax.
I will warn that you have to hold a high tolerance for juveniles at some points in the day. The high schoolers frequently also sat by the lake and on the park benches laughing obnoxiously and a whole lot…if you get my drift.
But again, watching them was half of the fun because really, where else can you find that precise environment? Couples on spooning on the grass, ducks napping on the grass near the lake, a chill breeze in the air, and teenagers acting like…well…like teenagers.
All told I found it brilliant way to relax, read my book, and feel like I just might have found a little bit of the local flavor of Amsterdam.
Do know of a hidden spot in the city? Or did you find some favorite things to do?