I awoke to another sunshiney day on Monday, the 23rd of April, with great anticipation because this was the day my Bike & Boat Tulip would begin. I wouldn’t be boarding the boat, however, until about 2 o’clock in the afternoon so I still had some time after breakfast to do a little bit more of exploring! Another spot I had wanted to visit was the Albert Cuypmarkt and I still had the rental bike available to me until noon! In addition, my knees were feeling much better so I climbed on board the bike and rode around Vondelpark one more time.
As you can see it has an extensive path system with all kinds of places to explore and ride around. I followed every path I could find. What a beautiful park!
First stop, the statue of Joost Van Den Vondel surrounded by a plethora of tulips!
Then off along the north side of the park where I found a very pretty pavilion and some beautiful water fountains…
A little later I naturally had to stop to see how the goslings were doing…
while I sat and admired the beautiful homes edging the south side of the park.
I continued to ride around the park enjoying its peacefulness in the morning light for quite a while before starting to work my way to the Albert Cuypmarkt.
According to their website,
“What is the best spot to experience the real Amsterdam sense of humor, the Amsterdam atmosphere, and conviviality? Right, that would be the Albert Cuyp! A day in Amsterdam is just not complete without visiting the most popular market of the Netherlands! The ‘Cuyp’ has been there since 1905 and is still immensely popular, even a century later. The regular folks visit it from Amsterdam, but also bargain hunters, windows shoppers, day trippers, tourists… practically anyone!”
It is boasted as “the biggest Market in Europe!” Fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, flowers, and plants: you’ll all find them at the Albert Cuyp.
Enjoy a nice herring at the fish stand or get yourself a bag of fresh syrup waffles to enjoy at home.
And also gorgeous fabrics, trendy clothing, textile, nice leather goods, and jewelry.
Visit a nice, old-fashioned coffee house or a super modern café for a cup of coffee. With 260 stands, the Albert Cuyp is the largest day market in Europe. A place where there’s always something new to see!
Everywhere you go in Amsterdam for that matter there is always something different to see around every corner. I have really enjoyed this eclectic, high-spirited and vibrant city.
After seeing all those wonderful things and spending quite a bit of time doing it, I realized I had better get back to the hostel, get checked out and start making my way to the docks.
Luckily when I returned to the hostel, I ran into a couple of new friends I had made, Pat Casey, another fellow solo traveler, from the US, and Abdul, a very nice South African young man who was one of the chefs at the hostel. Running into them gave me the opportunity to let them know how much I enjoyed meeting them and getting to say goodbye until another time.
Soon a taxi was waiting for me outside to whisk me off to the docks and I was on my way.
It didn’t take long until I found myself, pulling my small suitcase alongside the Veemkade looking for the boat, and there it was! What a beauty! “Ooooh! This is gonna be fun!” I exclaimed out loud while pinching my cheeks!
I was immediately greeted by one of the tour guides, Arie. He made me feel so welcome immediately, asked me if I would like to relax and have a cup of coffee before he showed me to my room. “Sure,” I said, “That would be wonderful, thank you!” Then I added, “This is really nice!” He thanked me. I continued, “I mean, this is REALLY nice! So fancy and upscale, what a treat! You see, normally, like this weekend, I stay in hostels. I enjoy them very much, and the one at Vondelpark was really great. But THIS is a real splurge for me and it’s even nicer than I imagined!”
About that time, as he handed me my cafe latte, Tami, the other tour guide, came happily into the dining room waving her arms and greeting me like an old friend.
Arie proceeded to introduce us and told her “I’d like you to meet the hippie from the hostel, Claudia.” We all had a good laugh and I felt at home immediately.
A few more guests also began to arrive, like the lovely couple from Quebec, Danielle and Gerard.
I also got to meet the nice girls who would be waiting on us hand and foot…
…and Johannes, First Mate and Jack of all trades…
After I finished my coffee and met a lot of my fellow travelers, they showed me to my cabin.
Once I got settled in and unpacked for the next 5 days, I headed back upstairs to join the other guests.
Before we knew it, we were all sitting down to an absolutely lovely dinner and enjoying each other’s company. I was having such a great time, I forgot to take pictures of the first 3 courses, but I suddenly remembered when the dessert came! While we ate, Arie, explained what the evenings’ plans would be. He explained that after we finished dinner we would set sail for Zaandam where we would dock for the first night.
As we made our way to Zanndam, we all went up to the uppermost deck and enjoyed the views of the city’s landscape and many interesting places located along the waters’ edge.
Before long we were approaching Zaandam and getting ready to dock for the night.
A little while later, as the sun was beginning to set in the west, Arie led us on a walking tour through the lovely little village of Zaandam, first showing us the locks where the boats pass through, and then ushering us through the pristine town as night fell.
It was an absolutely wonderful afternoon and evening spent with a whole new bunch of wonderfully friendly biking/hiking type of folks from many different places: Quebec and Toronto, Canada, Sweden, Germany, North Carolina, Reno, Nevada and New Jersey! What a wonderful mix! I slept soundly in my nice little cozy bunk, and looked forward to our first day of bicycling in the morning!
Hope you’ve enjoyed my day in Amsterdam and my arrival to the Magnifique III as much as I did. Until the next post…
Attitude of Gratitude ~
I am grateful that I can experience and enjoy such a diverse range of activities; from bicycling in a park in the morning, exploring a fascinating old street market with everything from soup to nuts, staying in hostels and the luxury of a beautiful fancy floating hotel filled to the brim with lots of interesting people from so many different places that I’m sure I’ll enjoy getting to know over the next few days!