Blogsterdam: An Adventure at Westerpark

Thank you Erin for the name of this blogging series! 

It’s finally time for the first post in my Amsterdam blogging series, called ‘Blogsterdam’. I was initially going to start of with something bookish, but then two weeks ago I thought:

So I grabbed my life essentials: food, water, my camera, my phone (because let’s face it even though I was in my own city the chance of getting lost was high and I would either need to look up directions or call for help), wallet and the Waterstones voucher one of my friends had given me for my birthday. BECAUSE ADVENTURES SHOULD END AT BOOKSTORES.

I set out not knowing where to go or where I’d end up (though I knew it was very likely it would be Waterstones haha), but I quickly decided to go to Westerpark. Westerpark as the name suggests is a park. Though Vondelpark is more popular, Westerpark is busier and busier every year, especially during all the festivals in spring and summer.

As you can see there’s a little lake, though this is not for swimming. Unless you’re a duck. There’s also a little playground here. Do beware of ducks. One time my friend and I were chased by an angry duck. We didn’t even do anything.

Maybe one of us is secretly a Herondale…

There are plenty of spots to sit and maybe have a picnic or just enjoy the weather, but the most popular spot is the hill with the canal.

As you can see in the first part of the canal you can play. Swimming is a bit impossible, as it isn’t very deep, but it’s fun for kids to play in and it’s nice to cool off a bit!

If you follow the path pictured above and then go right (there should be a sign) you’ll find a petting zoo after a few minutes of walking.

They also have canaries, but I failed to take a proper picture. I spend some time with them as I love canaries. I used to have one, but he passed away last fall :(

Entrance is free, so is petting the animals. Do keep in mind that feeding them is not allowed. You can purchase food inside and there’s a little playground. If you love animals and you’re at the park, I’d definitely recommend the petting zoo!

Across from the petting zoo there is the ‘waternatuurtuin’ (literally translated: water nature garden) which is really beautiful and pretty much deserted. If you want to enjoy some nature, go in here! I have to admit there were a few times that I thought I might be lost.

Not all paths are like this sadly. Some are really overgrown making it difficult to get through. Also keep your eyes out for nettle. I’m not sure if there’s any, but you never know.

LOOK AT THIS MAGICAL TREE THAT’S LIKE STRAIGHT OUT OF NARNIA

Me realising I might be lost

Some pretty flowers~

There are some benches in the garden so you can sit down and eat something, or catch your breath (yay hay fever).

YAY THE EXIT

I believe there are more exits, but I decided to take the first one I saw as I was afraid I’d get lost otherwise haha. I really do recommend going there if you love nature! Or if you want to try to go to Narnia through that tree.

Look at all the pretty nature!

After leaving the garden I ended up back at the hill and then I’m not sure which direction I took. I went a lot farther into the park then I ever went, which was fun (except I had trouble breathing, because YAY HAY FEVER). I saw more pretty nature!

Plot twist: that tree from earlier had actually brought me to Narnia (I WISH)

Look at this weird, slightly creepy tree

More ‘where am I’ photos

Meanwhile I needed to pee…

Just kidding. It really wasn’t THAT long

And I knew where I was again! (the petting zoo is to the right)

Look a Hobbit hole (playground roughly across from the hill)

Directly across from the hill is the Westergasfabriek. Formally a factory it’s now used for events and as restaurants/cafes. Part of the Westergasfabriek is the Ketelhuis, which is a cinema.

SO! To sum up Westerpark:

  • Beautiful Narnian-like nature
  • ‘Waternatuurtuin’
  • Petting zoo
  • I also passed a ‘bee palace’ but since I’m not really a fan of bees I stayed clear from it haha
  • Restaurants/cafes
  • Festivals during spring and summer (do check the Internet to see if there’s anything going on)
  • Other cultural events like a food market with food from all over the world (still need to go, but when I do I’ll post about it, because food)
  • Shallow canal for kids to play in
  • Free picnic blankets!
  • Playgrounds
  • Westergasfabriek
  • And more!

I suggest looking up what else you can do (there’s a survival playground or something for kids as well for example), or maybe ask at a tourist information point.

I ended my adventure at my grandfathers where I could pee and relax a bit, and then I went to Waterstones to exchange my voucher and get ice cream at the Ice Bakery. Once I’ve tasted more of their food I might do a Blogsterdam post about them!

If you have any questions about the park, feel free to ask! I’m no expert, but I have been there often so I may be able to help. Have you ever been to Westerpark? Are you planning to? Let me know in the comments!

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All The Bright Places in Amsterdam

As you may know, last month The Bookclub of the Opinionated Hufflepuffs read All The Bright Places and inspired by the book we decided to find some unique things in our state/city/country etc. just like Finch and Violet in the book. So in today’s post I will be talking about some unique things in Amsterdam!

Muziekboot Notendop (Musicboat Nutshell)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

A few months ago my mom and I were in the centre of the city when we encountered this man. I had no idea who he was, but my mom knew him. Apparently he’s quite famous (he’s even been abroad!) and he comes in the ‘grachten’ (canals) quite often where he plays music. His concerts are ‘surprise concerts’ though (at least according to this documentary on Youtube with English subtitles) and he doesn’t only give them in Amsterdam, but where ever there is water.

Parrots

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Okay, parrots are not an unique thing. I mean, they live all over the world, but would you expect to see them in Amsterdam? In the wild? You can find them for example in the Spaarndammerbuurt and Plantage-buurt (buurt means neighbourhood), at least these are the places I’ve encountered them myself!

American Book Center

Image from ABC.nl

Of course there’s a bookstore on this list. How can there not be? The ABC and Waterstones are my favourite bookstores in Amsterdam, but ABC probably a little more. The books are cheaper and I just love the design of the store. I mean, how many bookstores have a tree in their middle?

The clog on Dam Square

Image from Let’s Go Digital

I was actually planning on going there and taking a very touristy picture with it, but I was busy this week and couldn’t! Anyway, at the Dam Square you can find this big clog, sit in it and take a picture (something a lot of tourists do).

Zaanhof

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When you enter this ‘courtyard’ (it’s not exactly a courtyard, but it’s the only good translation for ‘hof’) it feels like you’re entering a small little village. The trees are always beautiful, even in winter (they’re really good for photography haha). It’s nice to sit there and enjoy the weather in peace (there’s hardly ever any commotion) and there’s a nice artsy bird thing that sprays water called the Woezel, which you can’t see in this picture, nor the memorial stone for WOII.

And these are some bright ‘places’ from Amsterdam! I wanted to go with some less known things and more positive ones (we’re not all about drugs guys. Far from it)

Have you been in any of these places, or have you seen the musicboat and/or the parrots? What are some of the bright places where you live? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for Alyssa’s and Emily’s posts!

– The Writing Hufflepuff

I’m An Adult Now, Adults Are Cool

My birthday was last Saturday, which means I’m now officially an adult. You know, in the Muggle world.

What saddens me the most that I’m no longer the dancing queen (young and sweet only seventeen! ♫).

Just kidding (not really).

To celebrate I went out with my mom and my ‘brother’ (I call him that because we’re like siblings, but he’s my brother from another mother haha) to finally buy a Macbook Pro! My old laptop was getting really old and slow. There were times in the past few months that I really thought it was done for, but thank God it pulled through, as I really needed it for school and hadn’t had money yet to buy a new laptop (and I wanted a Macbook, as they work with Apple at my new school, they’re good laptops and they’re light so I can travel with it). I’m not really done yet with putting all my old stuff on here, but so far I’m really happy with it! It’s fast and light, the Retina-display is gorgeous and the keyboard feels nice too. I also like how everything looks on here and I can’t wait to try out some of the programs and applications. I definitely recommend it!

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In the evening we went to my favourite restaurant: A-Fusion. If you’re ever in Amsterdam and like Asian food, go there. We tried some new things, of which not everything was a succes, but oh my tempura prawn sushi *drools*. Definitely my favourite dish of the evening. Of course regular tempura prawns are delicious too, but I hadn’t tried the sushi yet! Also ice cream with Oreo cookies… I’m sorry if I’m making you hungry haha. They also have all kinds of bubble tea, but if you’re only interested in that there’s a bubble tea shop a few shops away, which I also recommend (Yoyo Fresh Tea Bar).

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LOOK AT THE FOOD. Again I’m sorry if I’m making you hungry. Seriously, if you get the chance go to A-Fusion. Talking about A-Fusion like this makes me want to write posts about places you should visit in Amsterdam haha.

The next day we celebrated with close family and some friends of my mom who are like family as well. It was a fun afternoon/evening, with plenty of food (too much food, we have so many left overs. Anyone interested? Haha).

Selfie with my nephew haha

Sadly I don’t have any bookhauls to show you guys! *gasp* My mom is buying me something in America and except for an order on Hot Topic I haven’t had the chance to spend any birthday money yet. I might save it for America though. I’m not sure yet.

Once I’m back from America I’ll be celebrating with friends, as one of my friends has a testweek coming up next week I decided it would be better for everyone to celebrate later (as I still needed to regain energy after exams this last week haha).

Do any of you have a Macbook Pro? How do you like it? Any important tips I should know? Are you an ‘adult’ yet? The night before I was contemplating leaving the window open for Peter Pan, but I figured that the only things that would come in would be mosquitoes, so I decided against it.

– The Writing Hufflepuff

Ps. If you got the title: YAY.