Hiking the Floris V-Pad, NL

The hubby was in Minnesota for work and I stayed in here in The Netherlands to seek out new adventures this past weekend.

The Floris V-pad  has been on my “to do list” since I found part of it while hiking close to Oud-Alblas this last summer.  

The Floris V Pad (route) is a hiking path that goes from Amsterdam to Bergen op Zoom. This 244.5 KM long hiking path is named after Floris V (1254-1296) who was the Count of Holland and Zeeland from the years 1291-1296. The 244.5 KMs are broken down into shorter (around 20km each) lengths making each one easy for a day hike. 

11.5 KM Hiking Route in Yellow

Seems that most people start in Amsterdam but I have been feeling a bit cooped up in the house so I wanted to start on the second length that follows the Vecht River into a National Nature Area.  I watched the weather all week and planned on a Saturday hike.  The forecast was for sunny weather, what I experienced was much different when I woke on Saturday morning. Gusty winds, grey clouded sky, and the mercury hovering around 1C (33F).

My supplies for the day

I had planned this trip and the weather was not going to stop me! I pulled out my merino wool (IceBreaker) base layers (what us Minnesotans use to call long johns).  My hiking hoodie, my all weather jacket, neck warmer, ski hat,  wool socks and leather hiking boots all completed my wardrobe for this hike.  

I planned on making my own coffee along the way.  I proceeded to get the coffee items together to place in my backpack.  Making a nice cup of coffee in my perking pot is always one of my favorite things to do on any trip.

Route of Travel: N397 bus → Airport Train Station→Weesp→Hike 11.5 Km Floris V-pad → Bus 106 at Uitermeer → Weesp Train Station → Amsterdam Central Train Station→ Airport Train Station→N397 to home  

I had researched this route on Wandelnet a Dutch hiking site with tons of hiking options throughout the country. I compared the route to my phone map.  I figured I could use my phone as my gps/map guide for this hike. I picked a point about half way on the route card where I could catch the bus back to the train station.  That would make this hike about a 11.5KM hike (7.14 miles). That was a little over half the normal day hike route card of 20.9KM for this part of the Floris V-pad.

I started my day from the house on bus line N397 to Schiphol Airport where I took the train to the city of Weesp.  This was the first time I have actually visited the city of Weesp. Although, when I first moved to the Netherlands the universe had sent me to Weesp several times by train causing much frustration for my Dutch hubby as he tried to figure out a way to get me to where I actually needed to go each time while he was busy at work.  This happened more than once in the early years of me living here and has been an ongoing joke between hubby and me for years. If the train starts to “act strange”, I might be hurdled unexpectedly towards Weesp train station again.  But, don’t call him about it!

In the train, bundled up, heading to Weesp (I hope). 

Weesp is a old fortress town guarding the Vecht River. The buildings, to me, have the old world soulful feel to them.  I did notice as I walked along, I heard more English spoken that morning than Dutch.

Weesp Harbor

 I wandered through the city sightseeing along the route.  I walked into  the old church in the center of town. The wind was blowing hard and biting into my hands whenever I took off my gloves to take pictures.  I had gone into the church more to warm up my hands than to sightsee.

Looking down one of the streets in Weesp towards a large church
Once I warmed enough to start feeling my fingers again I headed back on the route and towards the old fort which is now an artist and historical gathering place.  It was open and I walked into an empty round 1861 fort/bunker surrounded by water.  At 10:00am I was the only one besides whoever had opened the door in the facility.  I could hear the wind howling outside and knew I had to face it or turn back towards the train station.  
I am not one to give up easy so I continued out and found the small hiking route signs that showed the direction of the Floris V route. This part of the route follows the Vecht River heading North and then cuts back to the East into the polder where it is mostly sheep and cattle pastures.
Floris V-pad – I guess I am heading in the right direction.
The first part is hard packed road and so it is easy to follow.  The wind was biting my cheeks so I pulled my all weather hood over my ski hat to cut the breeze.  I was warm and thankful for my wool layers.
Ice in the small canals next to the hiking trail.
At the 3km mark I came to a Dairy Farm and cheese shop.  Since the wind was blowing to strong for me to start my stove for a fresh pot of coffee this trip, I decided that maybe I might get lucky for a cup of coffee at the cheese shop.
De Groene Griffioen Dairy Farm Cows
I walked through the barn area to get to the shop. I smiled as I saw the farmer exit the barn filled with cows that seemed very happy to be fed, chickens were scratching for bugs and the weather didn’t seem to bother any of them.  
The selection of farm fresh cheese

The cheese shop and farm is called De Groene Griffioen and seems to be diversified with several opportunities for visitors to experience.  The morning I was hiking, they had helicopter rides taking off from their land towards Amsterdam.  They provide coffee and snacks to those participating in the rides.  I was lucky then to be able to piggy back off the coffee/snack thing for 2 Euros which was much easier than trying to start my stove in the wind for a perked coffee.  Being surrounded by the cheese and products I was encouraged to purchase some additional weight for my backpack (in cheese).

Back on the trail, I watched as the groups of helicopter riders lined up to catch the ride above Amsterdam.  The wind was still kicking in gusts and I tightened my hood of my jacket as I headed on down the roadway towards the polder.

This sign seemed pretty clear that this was the direction and the trail I needed.
This one seemed very new.  But, the numbers meant nothing to me.  I made a note to research once I made it home.
The trail heading into the polder.

This was not as quiet of a trail as I was hoping for, if you look at the picture the glass/wall you see on the left hand side of the picture is the A1 motorway, one of the busiest in The Netherlands.  The trail went next to this roadway for about a mile before it finally turned South and away from the roadway.  But, even being this close to the roadway the birds didn’t seem to mind much as I saw ducks, geese, and swans along this part of the hike.

Sheep pasture and trail all in one.

I found more of those new signs as I went along the trail.  It almost seemed like someone was right ahead of me sticking them in the ground just to confuse me.  

As I walked through the Naardermeer Nature area, several hundred geese suddenly took flight flying right over my head.  I stopped and watched but quickly started moving again so that I wouldn’t get chilled.

Close to the end of the hike I came to the Uitermeer Fort. Another round fort that guarded the Vecht River. But by then, I was cold, tired and just wanted to find the bus stop to go home.

My bus stop at the end of my day hike of 11.5KM.

No, that was not the end of my adventure for the day…the Weesp train and the universe decided that I needed to go through Amsterdam Central Station home instead of the route I had planned.  When I returned to Schiphol Airport and headed upstairs to catch my bus I was greeted to a Christmas concert by the KLM Orchestra!  What a nice treat at the end of a long day of hiking.

Things to plan for on this hike: 
  • Phone battery pack
  • Extra socks- socks got wet from hiking and if I had an extra pair I could have switched them out. 

Things I saw:

  • Several hundred geese
  • Ducks
  • Swans
  • Dairy cows, sheep and chickens
  • helicopter
  • Five other brave hikers
  • Two Forts
  • Several old farm houses
  • Old ships
  • KLM Orchestra


© The Cedar Journal, 2018, all rights reserved