Give us this Day our Daily Exercise

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!





About susancarey

Angela writes using pseudonym, Susan Carey. She has dual nationality, GB/NL and lives in Nijmegen. Susan has had short fiction published on multiple platforms and was a runner-up in the 2018 and 2017 Casket of Fictional Delights Flash Competitions. Her writing has also been published and performed by amongst others: Mslexia, Liars’ League, Reflex Fiction, the Casket and of course the wonderful Writers Abroad. In 2020 she published her short story collection, Healer. Tweets at @su_carey
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4 Responses to Give us this Day our Daily Exercise

  1. Sally Robinson says:

    Sounds and looks perfect. Glad you have such a lovely and peaceful place to go to Angela. I know – for me too it means a lot. And makes u for a lot. I go here to Hemmeland. To the woods in Purmerend and to the Vogelmeer. All glorious at this time of year. Almost achingly so with all that is going on around us. I also do Joe Wicks senior workout at home. Phew!!


  2. janimacdc says:


    Glad you are managing to get out!

    Still riding every day but we no longer ride together as that seems to be flaunting the rules somewhat. Garden coming on a treat, will send pics, have Ian and Annette’s our friends back from France living with us for the foreseeable future. Ian had two months in the Stonebow unit but is now very much better and Annette’s had major surgery four weeks ago and starts chemo on Tuesday, so three very vulnerable adults here, but we’re managing fine so far



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