We’re going to miss having the Vondelpark on our doorstep. Just time for a few more bike rides.

The day is rapidly approaching that Mevrouw T and I will be leaving Amsterdam to spend a few months in the southern hemisphere.

Along with the farewells to family and friends, the polishing of the kitchen benches and fixing the leaky sink ready for tenants to move into our spotless apartment, there are a few things we need to do before we leave town.

Eat a herring from Mr Tol’s herring stall. Nowhere in Sydney will we find raw herrings as perfectly filleted as the ones prepared by Mr Kees Tol by the Overtoomse Sluis.

Put raspberries on the morning muesli. Yes, they do have raspberries in Australia, but they’re so expensive compared to what we can get in Holland that we feel guilty about wasting them on mere breakfast.

Visit Klopper and Stolk bakery to buy a zesgranen (six grain) loaf. Everybody has a favourite Amsterdam bakery. Ours is in the Amstelveenseweg. The dark, coarse-grained bread we buy there is unparalleled anywhere in the world.

Check out the baby storks in the Vondelpark. Each year a pair of storks returns to the Vondelpark to nest.

A special nesting pole has been set up for them, with a protected area of wild park surrounding it and nature lovers watch anxiously to see whether they will breed successfully.

This year at least two of their young seem to have survived and are taking their first flights.

Ride the bikes along the Dutch canals at night. In the summer months with their long twilight evenings it’s hard to stay up late enough to ride in the dark.

The nights are getting shorter now, and it’s one of my favourite things to do in town – rattling over the cobbles by the street lights reflected in the water. It helps to be just a little bit drunk in the saddle.

Go to the Hermitage Museum. This branch of the famous St Petersburg
Museum is smaller and nowhere near as busy as Amsterdam’s better known Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, but it is hardly less fabulous.

The current exhibition, which runs till next January, features the Hermitage’s collection of Impressionists. It looks wonderful.

The Hermitage – St Petersburg and the Impressionists on the Amstel River.

Our time in Amsterdam is always too short. Must stop blogging now and go out and do something. Buy a couple of herrings, for a start.


Filed under Holland


  1. edna njio-mijares

    Not only that Amsterdam is a fascinating city but also the people writing about it.

  2. Carla Baas

    Save journey and big hug, Carla

  3. judith

    Fijne vlucht naar huis..en tot heel snel weer ziens/mails!xxxx jud,bram,yoric,zoe,harley en sem.

  4. Despite these attractions, we’re looking forward to having you come to our version of your home.
    Libby and Euan

  5. Agnès van Putten-Beloeil

    Goede reis to down under Richard and Agnes. We zullen op Amsterdam passen gedurend jullie afwezigheid.
    Gr Agnès

  6. We loved Vondel Park. I took lots of photos of the birds there. I need to go back to Amsterdam to do some of your other suggestions.

  7. Antonina Fieni

    Reading about storks and canals found me reminiscing about one of my favourite books which I discovered when I was ten. The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong. With wonderful illustrations by Maurice Sendak. That was my first ‘taste’ of the Netherlands.

  8. Gosh, what a wonderful list! I hope you’ll have lots of fun and enjoyment working your way through this … the raspberries and the six-grain bread sound particularly scrumptious. And enjoy the herrings!

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