Vondelpark Vonders & Foodhallen Bitterballen

As the sun emerged in Vondelpark, the largest park in Amsterdam, we watched fog vaporize above the water. We walked past the glittery lake, big jeaned bicyclists, and tomato colored leaves. Surrounded by a bright display of Fall, the park was awash in sunshine, a rare sight. We had gotten used to overcast, drizzly days. In fact, it had just rained and was still muddy underfoot.

Pups sauntered by us, unleashed. I spotted maybe the tenth or eleventh Dutch wiener dog. Wiener dogs were very popular. The wiener dog spirit was infectious – our first day, I seriously contemplated getting my own. Wiener dogs get along with guinea pigs. Right?

Our first trek in Vondelpark, two days ago, was not nearly as peaceful: le beau lost a glove. A quiet day in the park transformed into a journey to retrace our steps. We walked from the hotel to Vondelpark to the lost-and-found to the kindergarten to the tennis courts to the market to the coffeeshop to, finally, the grocery store. It wasn’t until we retraced our steps again, this time, in reverse, that we saw his beloved glove. It was perched on a gate. Somebody had spotted it and, perhaps sensing it was a deeply loved glove, placed it in a more visible spot.

Feeling hungry, we cut through Vondelpark and towards Foodhallen.

Located in the magnificent De Hallen cultural complex in Amsterdam’s hip Oud-West neighbourhood, Foodhallen is a classy indoor food market and bar serving up a range of high-end street food and beverages in historic surroundings. De Hallen is lined with around 20 street food vendors serving up everything from wood-fired pizzas to Vietnamese summer rolls and Greek meze to artisanal burgers from some of Amsterdam’s best-loved kitchens.

We ordered butter chicken and rice, Thai bitterballen, and fantastic mango yogurt. We ate ourselves silly in the hall’s corridors. I people-watched.

We were careful to avoid eating around other people, grumbling after an Italian couple asked if they could sit at our secluded table. We grabbed our food and left for airier eating quarters, which ended up being the play, because somehow the cold air accentuated the butter chicken flavor. I had a great time.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur of streets, shops, and lights. As we stood by a canal, I heard a plop in the water. A man had dropped his phone. It felt inappropriate to have witnessed the man’s tragedy. We wandered through Kalverstraat, an outdoor shopping street, visiting stores such as Nike, Red Wing, Fjällräven. Needing to take a work call, we ate overly salty burgers and sandwiches at a nearby emptyish restaurant.

Later, we took the tram back to the hotel. Everyone was tired and trying to get home. The tram was stuffed to the brim: the conductor was in a huff. I swung around the bars like a monkey, relieved when we arrived at our stop.  

Category: Trips

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