Hiked: February 6, 2016
To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the leg at the other end of the Floris V-pad starting in the center of Amsterdam, because it’s very much an urban hike and I am not a fan of hiking in the city (despite enjoying my Exploring The Hague hikes). Also, I didn’t want to end the long-distance trail with what was surely going to be my least favorite leg of the entire trail. So I decided to tackle this “hiking chore” early in the project to get it over with. It is not surprising that I took few pictures on this hike, taking the first one only after I reached the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal (Amsterdam-Rhine Canal) at Driemond, 16km into the hike.
It was only 9am when I started my hike at Amsterdam Central Station on a Saturday morning, but on my way to Dam Square, the official start and end of the Floris V-pad, I already got caught up in a slow-moving line of tourists with selfie-sticks, backpacks and suitcases on wheels. Fortunately, I soon left them behind as I made my way through the narrow streets and along the canals of the city center towards the Amstel river. I followed the Amstel for some 3km until just past Amsterdam Amstel train station, where I turned left along the Weespertrekvaart, which I followed for another 5km through Diemen. This was a boring stretch, through the city and past residential and commercial areas.
In a park on the edge of Diemen, I passed a man sitting on a bench. With his hiking boots and backpack, he clearly looked like he was not out for a short walk in the park. A couple of hundred meters further, he passed me and we said hi. A bit further, I crossed the bridge that was closed for maintenance as I passed by here a couple of months ago hiking the Trekvogelpad. Back then, I followed the Floris V-pad instead until it crossed the Trekvogelpad again in Driemond, some 4.5km futher. This time, the bridge across the road and the Gaasp river was accessible, so I crossed it and walked the familiar route I had hiked in the fall.
After the urban scenery and all the paved roads, it was truly a relief to walk on the footpaths and among the trees of the Diemerbos for a bit if only for a bit. I then walked along a narrow road along the Gaasp river to the tiny village of Driemond. On the way, I overtook the same hiker who I’d met earlier in the park. As I suspected, we were clearly hiking the same route. For a while, we walked in each other’s footsteps, until I decided to take a break at a bench in Driemond overlooking the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal. My ‘companion’ walked on and waved to me from the other side of the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal. As I enjoyed my tea, another man passed by, walking his two tiny dogs. He asked where I was heading and where I started. When I told him about today’s hike and how that was part of a trail to Bergen op Zoom, his response consisted of one word: “Respect!”
I crossed the canal and continued my hike through Weesp. This part of the hike (officially, not because of unexpected obstacles) coincides with the Trekvogelpad route. On previous hikes through Weesp, the nice, old town center had surprised me. On the other side, just outside town, I passed my ‘hiking companion’ again as he sat on a bench eating lunch. We chatted for a bit about our hiking plans for the day. He told me he’d continue until sunset or as long as he felt like it and then had someone pick him up.
I followed the Vecht river to Muiden, following a narrow road on a dike along the water. Due to ongoing construction works near the A1 highway, the official route of the Floris V-pad no longer passes through Muiden, but it is still possible to visit the town. So I left the official route and followed the old route into the old town center. I followed the canal to the impressive Muiderslot (Muider Castle), the purpose of my detour through Muiden, though I didn’t enter the fortress. I continued along the old defense walls past the Muizenfort and back the same way to where I had left the hiking route. From there I continued east for another half hour or so until I reached a bridge across the A1 highway. The bus stop was just on the other side of the highway.
While this leg was a bit of a “hiking chore” with too much tarmac and too much city, I felt content and tired at the end at having walked a longer than usual hike.