Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rondom Watergang-route Part 1

Het Twiske nature reserve, North Amsterdam
It's my last day catsitting at Nina's place near Westerpark. It's a bit cloudy but still warm and summery. I was thinking of taking the fast ferry to the coast, but I'm getting a late start. So instead I opt for a fietsrondje. I take the ferry from the Oude Houthaven landing to the NDSM Werf. Then it's a right on Klaprozenweg, a high-traffic warehouse zone, across the Zijkanaal, then up through North Amsterdam along a trail that is frequently interrupted by construction sites.
Finally manage to get past the A10 and I'm going through the suburb of Landsmeer, following the signs to Het Twiske. I see the windmill at the lower end of the big nature reserve and stop at a bench facing (probably) the Kerkebreek, a body of water being plied by many a boat on this warm, sunny day.

Rondom Watergang-route (ANWB map)
I've been to Het Twiske before. It's a very popular recreation site built around a lake, De Stootersplas. My usual destination is a little beach called Wezenland Strand. Very soon after entering the park I lost the signage and stumbled around till I found it. Very relaxed--clothing optional--and good for swimming. It looks murky and the bed is muddy, but the water feels clean and cold, with a slow-moving current, reedy banks, ducks.

 Road through the Ilperveld
After the swim, I take the trail back down the lake's west bank, past a series of beaches, then go through woodsy terrain heading up toward Den Ilp (15).
On the way to Ilpendam

As often happens at least once on these journeys I reach a point where I'm tempted to shout, Hallelujah! That is the trail through the Ilperveld, between two long canals, wooden bridge, fields full of sheep and cows, little yellow flowers flanking the trail, very slight, tentative breeze, absolutely deserted. Some frogs are croaking from the surrounding swamps, for it is all marshy land here. Clouds of insects spiraling.

Ferry crossing Noordhollandsch Kanaal at Het Schouw

By the time I reached the ferry to Ilpendam--which is just like the ferry to Het Schouw, 4.3 km south, no more than a floating bridge across the Nordhollandsch Kanaal -- it was 7:08, and service across the broad waterway stops at 7. So I took the Noorhollandsch Kanaal a delightful 4.3 km south. On the final approach to Amsterdam, I find a bench by a drawbridge and watch the setting sun paint the sky.


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