Spring has sprung!

Spring is finally here!

After three winters in Amsterdam, my tropical self can now truly relate to the joy that comes with the return of sunshine, warmth and blue skies. The change of seasons creates a shared, unspoken feeling of celebration in the air, unlike any I’ve experienced back in the tropics. In the sun, everyone is happy and life starts looking a hundred times better.

To celebrate, we headed to the Amsterdamse Bos (or woods), a sprawling park straddling the cities of Amsterdam and Amstelveen. We hardly ever go to the Bos because it’s further down south, so it felt like going out of town.

Amsterdamse Bos spring lake

Three times the size of Central Park in New York, the Bos covers 1,000 hectares and includes lakes, ponds, walking and cycling trails, picnic and camping areas, farms, restaurants and cafes, even a nudist area!

With such a huge space to explore, we felt a bit lost and decided to head straight for the one place we knew exactly how to find: Boerderij Meerzicht. It’s an charming, incredibly kid-friendly pancake restaurant with a petting zoo and playground.

Boerderij Meerzicht sunny terrace

By the way, spring isn’t all picnics, tulips and sunshine. It also means frequent battles for a table on packed, busy terraces like these. Totally a first world problem.

Tala at Boerderij Meerzicht Amsterdamse Bos

We found a place in the sun and noshed on some quintessentially Dutch nibbles—bread, butter, sausages and Gouda cheese with cumin—while waiting for our pancakes. Tala is beginning to really love bread!

Boerderij Meerzicht bread and cheese

Traditional Dutch pancakes are the specialty at Boerderij Meerzicht, and the ones here are the best I’ve had in Amsterdam.

Make no mistake: pannekoeken are not the same as crepes! They’re chewy and flat, whereas crepes are much thinner and often served folded. Our favorite pancake topping is spek (bacon), crispy fried cheese and candied ginger—a delicious mix of savory, salty and spice. A generous drizzle of sweet stroop (syrup, which is much thicker than maple) completes this combo.

Amsterdamse Bos pancake restaurant

Not capable of much activity after our heavy pancake lunch, we settled on a sunny, grassy slope near the rowing lake for the first picnic of the year.

Mama and Tala's first picnic of the year



This is the Amsterdam I’ve come to know: family-friendly, relaxed, and open, where that elusive buzzword called work/life balance is tipped towards life. For most of my daily life, and especially on days like these, the Amsterdam of weed, sex shops and skimpily clad girls in windows is a garish caricature that has nothing to do with the Amsterdam I live in. This is my Amsterdam…

Deepa in the spring sunshine


… and this is spring. Finally. Hoera!