Here is a glimpse of Amsterdam's famous Vondelpark, 120 gorgeous acres in the heart of the city. At all times of year this huge park offers a welcome, peaceful respite from the hubbub of busy streets nearby!
We've been to the Vondelpark several times before on prior visits to Amsterdam. Each experience manages to be entirely different for us depending on the weather and time of year.
Yesterday was no exception! At -3C (26.6F) in late February the park was full of frozen and half-frozen streams, patches of ice, barren trees and delightful mud to muck through.
As it was also a gorgeous sunny Sunday, the Vondelpark was also full of people! People of all ages and many nationalities were out and about, strolling and playing in the park. The below freezing temperature weather did not seem to dissuade anyone (including us) from getting out there to have a great day in the sun!
We even encountered a magnificent wooden treehouse full of children running up and down. Sure, they were bundled up to the point where you could barely see their little faces, but they were clearly having a marvelous time!
As a family from southern California currently living in Barcelona, we've spent most of our lives enjoying warm, temperate weather. It's not unusual to have a day in late February where the temperatures in San Diego, California may rise to the mid 60s... or maybe even low 70s! (17-20C).
Playing outside in 26 degree weather is something new for all of us! We loved it!
"I have read about this!" I grinned at my husband Señor Aventura.
"Read about what?" he asked.
"I've read about how children in Scandinavia go out to play at recess, several times a day, even when it is snowing and there are below freezing temperatures! We've learned about this in my teaching courses. Children need to play, no matter what the weather is! It's kind of sad that we make them stay indoors on rainy days in California."
"Well, the cold certainly doesn't seem to be bothering them!" He gestured to our own three children, two of whom were busily kicking around a soccer ball (futbol) and one of whom was having the best time on a swing.
"Hey Mom, can you hold my jacket?" The Scientist came running over to the bench where we sat in the sun. "I am boiling hot!"
We smiled to see how hardy our children have become, accustomed to jumping into new lifestyles and opportunities without much thought.
"Mommy!" shouted Little Angel, "Look at the bird!"
She pointed toward a large black crow hopping across the ice while chirping loudly, perhaps looking for food.
"He's ice skating!" she beamed.
In fact all around the park, we saw and heard glorious birds. We saw pigeons three times the normal size, huge crows, ducks, geese and spectacular black and white birds whose names we did not know. The trees were filled with birds jumping from limb to limb, warbling away. They too did not seem to mind the below freezing temperatures!
All told we spent about 90 minutes walking and playing in the gorgeous frozen Vondelpark yesterday, surrounded by hundreds of other park enthusiasts of all ages. From the smallest children playing tag to elderly ladies walking arm in arm, everyone in Amsterdam seemed to be thrilled by this taste of wilderness just a few blocks away from clanging tram lines and the Museumplein.
The Vondelpark also features an open-air theater, a playground and a beautiful restaurant/cafe where you can purchase delicious apple cake and coffee!
We recommend visiting this spectacular park in all seasons. Whether you are an adult walking alone, a couple looking for a romantic stroll, an athlete hoping to get exercise or a family eager to get some fresh air and have fun... you will absolutely be satisfied with your experience!
Life is short. Get out there and choose your own adventure! :)
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