Going for a run in… Amsterdam

I wake up at around six on Saturday morning and decide to go out for a jog before the city wakes up. From my hotel I first head in the direction of the Rijks Museum. I cross the huge square in front of the main building with its Miffy statues and then turn left towards the hotel Conservatorium. From there I turn right until eventually I find myself at the entrance to the Vondel park right in the centre of the city.

The Vondel park is very generously laid out. There are many duck ponds surrounded by lush green lawns. I even manage to sight a few bunnies. Other areas of the park have been left to look ‘natural’ with thick bushes, shrubs and tall trees. The park is excellent for running and there are dirt tracks throughout the park in case you prefer that to asphalt. The place is still fairly deserted as I run past at around 07:00. However, when I return later on for some serious people watching in the sun, the place is crawling with joggers, runners and cyclists.

The circuit you can see below was just under 6 km long.

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De Bakkerswinkel, Amsterdam

De Bakerswinkel is an excellent place to have breakfast if you fancy something a little different from your usual hotel fare. As far as I know, there are currently three outlets in Amsterdam. The flagship store is located off the Damrak, right in the centre of the really seedy part of touristy Amsterdam. But today I shall be visiting their newest shop in the De Pijp district of the city.

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The opening hours vary from one shop to another. The one in De Pijp already opens at 07:30. It is just coming up to 08h00 when I enter and by the looks of it, I am the first customer and have the place to myself. Keep in mind though, that De Bakerswinkel are really very popular and depending on what time you arrive, you may have to wait for quite a bit.

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What I like about De Bakerswinkel is that the place has a very homey feel to it. It is more like being in somebody’s kitchen than in a restaurant. None of the crockery matches, and neither does the cutlery. I would suggest you work up a healthy appetite before you visit – it is worth it. I would recommend – basically because it is what I always have – the Bakers’ Breakfast, which includes a large tea or coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, a huge plate of ham and a variety of cheeses and a huge breadbasket. At every table there are also two large jars with lemon curd and strawberry or raspberry jam.

And here is the link to De Bakkerswinkel.

Sir Albert Hotel, De Pijp

The Sir Albert Hotel is located in the trendy De Pijp district of Amsterdam. It is a charming neighbourhood with a domestic small village vibe going on. There are many good restaurants in the area and the Rijks Museum is literally only a stone’s throw away.

The Sir Albert is a member of the Design Hotels brand, which means that – being a ‘boutique hotel’ – you as the guest will have to go without some of the usual facilities you would find in a normal hotel, like laundry service or a gym. And so, my first impression is of a somewhat pretentious facility trying just a bit too hard. But first impressions can be misleading and in fact, as it turns out, the hotel is rather nice. I just do not get those hippos on the wall…

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Rooms are fairly large, bright and airy, with high ceilings and large windows. Some rooms have a bath, while others, like mine, only have a shower. Bathroom amenities are provided by a brand called Dead Clean, which I was previously unfamiliar with. Apparently the name derives from the fact that they use salt from the Dead Sea. In any case, the scent is very nice.

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The hotel’s staff are generally very friendly and helpful and will try to accommodate or help in any way they can.

To reach the Sir Albert, take either tram line 16 or 24 from the Central Station and alight at the stop named Albert Cuypert. From there, the hotel is another two minutes walk along the tram lines on your left hand side.

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And here is the link to the Sir Albert.