In these troubled times when the Corona virus is dominating our lives and restricting our freedom, it can be a challenge to find a secluded place to exercise if you live in a city like Amsterdam. Finding quiet places is especially important if you fall into the high risk category. As I have two underlying chronic conditions; asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, it’s essential I exercise somewhere not too overcrowded. Our nearest park, the Erasmuspark is only really accessible to me early morning or late evening because of excess crowds. So this morning I headed out west on my electric bike and was delighted to stumble across the oasis of peace, Heemtuin Sloterpark
Heemtuin doesn’t have a direct translation but it means that the garden only has indigenous plants and is left to grow without too much human intervention, save to keep it accessible to visitors. The spring birdsong was so calming to listen to. I love to see and smell bluebells in the UK, but as that won’t be possible this year, the Dutch variety will have to suffice! The visit to this little natural haven offered me solace in troubled times. The Heemtuin is an enclosed section within the Ruige Riet,a 10-hectare park which has walking and cycle paths meandering through it. Before 10 am it is practically deserted with only the occasional runner or walker so it was easy to keep the advisory 1.5 metre distance from other people. There is a red walk of 3 km or a blue walk of 1.5 km. It is also dog friendly and dogs are welcome in the Heemtuin provided they are kept on a lead.
The cycle ride to and around Sloterplas (lies adjacent to Ruige Riet) is approx 5 km so I have done 10 km on my bike as well as 5000 steps this morning. It’s ironic that the weather is so glorious when we are supposed to be mainly staying at home! A lot of people appear to be flaunting the rules and picnicking in groups of more than three in our local park. Occasionally, a police car drives through and hands out fines but the police seem to be turning a blind eye or have other more pressing concerns. I think that the difference in Dutch and English mentalities regarding authority play a big role when it comes to observing social-distancing behaviour. Here many folk seem to take it all with a pinch of salt.
Anyway, let’s hope if we are all sensible we will remain safe and healthy. And I hope you manage to find some quiet and inspiring places to exercise where you live!