I found myself in Amsterdam with about 8 hours to kill before meeting up with colleagues for some pre-work before an all day meeting the next day.
It was November, the sky was grey and it was cold. But, as is my way, I didn’t let this put me off and I started out to explore the city. I got the train from the airport to the main station and set off towards the museum quarter. There was a big, busy main road that I followed for most of the way pausing only to navigate several sets of roadworks which involved pedestrian as well as vehicle diversions.
It was then, that my navigational skills temporarily deserted me. I declared myself lost and decided to create a loop to get back in the direction of the station. As part of the loop I spied a bridge over a park, and I descended into what turned out to be the Vondelpark – the largest city park in Amsterdam. If I’m going to gravitate to any particular area of a city, more often than not it will be towards green spaces.
Fortunately my route in the park took me past a clear map board so I could identify where I was and reset my navigation back towards the museums. I made it and headed to the Stedelijk – the state museum of art, filled with modern ions of design and different forms of art. I didn’t want the scale of the Rijksmuseum and felt that the van Gogh museum would be a little cliched. And I wasn’t disappointed – the Stedelijk is a combination of contemporary design, art and sculpture curated in a bright, balanced building. Refreshed at the onsite cafe, I felt ready to wrap up and head out again.
I planned my route to take in some of the other sites of the city and wound my way back to the station alongside the canals. It gave me a feel of the history of the city as a trading port and was a pretty choice with plenty of photo stops.
It’s always worth taking the scenic route. Sometimes it’s the quickest way to get you back on track and you can focus on the journey whilst getting to your destination.