Yesterday I walked a section of the Floris V Pad, again! Now, I finished the 245km hike from Amsterdam to Bergen op Zoom. I didn’t and won’t hike the entire Floris V Pad again!
The real reason (may this be a lesson to all those who share stories) is that I shared my Floris V hike story with a group of American women expats and I was asked to lead the first section of the hike through Amsterdam for a group. That was December 2022.
Learn more about the AWCA … https://awca.nl/about-us
As things go it was a bit of a rocky start on the planning side, but finally a date was set, published, and slowly people started signing up to attend.
There are about 300 American women who belong to this group in Amsterdam, with a few of us who reside outside the city but make the monthly trek into the big city for either coffee with our fellow American’s or to attend one of these many scheduled activities.
A diverse group from all sorts of backgrounds makes each get together interesting as we all have stories of how we ended up here, how long we have stayed, why we have stayed, and how varied our Dutch speaking skills have matured as we have lived here.
Yesterday, we had eleven members signed up for the hike. I mentally walked through how I could manage that number of people the night prior. Where the best places are to stop, possible bathroom breaks, places to get snacks. Planning for a group is different than if I was planning just for a hike alone.
My backpack had extra water, food, first aid kit, the layers of clothes for the Dutch weather (thank goodness the forecast didn’t include rain), and extra shoes.
Hubby, did a bit of a chuckle at the extra shoes and asked if I had ever hiked with extra shoes in my 245km trek?
Well, no! But, they are packed anyway!
Again the trip to get to the start of the trail is almost as much of an adventure as doing the hike.
I planned in detail my train schedule and arrival time,only to stand an extra 15 mins on the train platform due to some sort of train delay.
Being a long holiday weekend here in The Netherlands, the train was packed full, dumping people at the airport and picking up more luggage laden passengers heading into Amsterdam.
Disembarking, those same deer in the headlight luggage hauling passengers inched their way to the exit, while those of us who live here pushed to the front in the “we know what we are doing, get out of our way” pace.
Once outside Central Station, which that sight has never gotten old for me even after 17 years of living here, I quickly jumped to the opposite side of the street out of the crowds and headed towards our “meeting place” in front of the war memorial at the Dam Square.
The funny thing is, every tour group in the World meets at the Dam Square. Soon it was clear to me that this “meet up place” might be challenging. I didn’t know most the fellow hikers.
Once we all finally gathered (we were six out of 11 who signed up) we headed out.
Again, looking for the LAW white and red stickers that mark the trail path was a challenge (note to self, contact the national group and let them know they need some more stickers placed in a logical eye level areas).
Interested in hiking the Floris V Pad? You can get information from the following site. Floris V Pad
As with any hiking there always seems to be detours on the route. This one had a bridge over one of the canals closed and I quickly made a detour. One of the ladies on the hike pointed out that our detour took us right to the Amsterdam Memorial. This newly dedicated memorial features bricks with the names of Amsterdam citizens who were taken to and murdered in the concentration camps of WWII.
Thousands of bricks…
Read about my first Floris V hike in Amsterdam, Amsterdam
As we continued the hike towards our endpoint of Diemen. We walked along the Amstel River and enjoyed watching people out enjoying the beautiful weather. This part of Amsterdam is so different from the tourist trap of Dam Square, a true residential area filled with city gardens, house boats, benches for the locals to enjoy the river front. High end hotels (where we stopped in to admire the interior).
When we approached the last part of the hike we watched the local rowing teams practice on the canal. A coach was riding up and down the path we were hiking yelling instructions to the rowers on the canal. Some of us wondered how many of the rowers might have had late night indulges of alcohol making the rowing a bit of a struggle. Hiking alongside we could make up any story.
I passed some poppies growing, I plucked 5 for some of my fallen buddies to toss in the canal as we made our way to the last few hundred meters.
I didn’t mention to anyone in the group why I tossed the poppies or what it meant to me, a small prayer of thanks to those military members and their families on this Memorial Day weekend, who I served with in all three war zones and my 21+ years of service.
At the end of the hike we each parted ways to head back to Amsterdam or home. With experiences to share with family and friends and hopefully a new insight of how to view Amsterdam.
I did find a couple of Hummm… along this hike.
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