The fourth stage of the Trekvogelpad, which runs straight from West to East through the heart of the Netherlands, starts just outside Zaandam. On this part of the LAW-2 path you will leave the famous old-Dutch windmills behind and pass through "the second city park of Amsterdam".
The route starts right in front of the Schipbeek bus stop. When you get out off the bus at this point, there is no glimpse of nature. The first few meters guide you through a very normal (even a bit boring) residential area where the houses are builded side by side. All with raked gardens in a straight line. Average at its best. But suddenly, at the back of the houses, a meadow appears with reeds that pop up high into the sky. Right through this meadow a path is made that helps you in the direction of the railroad.
Through a complicated construction of paths you automatically end up on the other side of the railroad where you walk in a straight line towards nature reserve Twiske. Among a lot of young inhabitants of the capital, this area is mainly known for the festivals that are held here in the summer. But this nature reserve is a walking area that attracts many visitors from far outside Amsterdam. A wonderful walking area, in which you never really find yourself in nature. But where you can be in touch with it very well.
In large groups and loudly chattering, geese fly from left to right, looking for a better spot in the meadows along the railroad. And every now and then a bicycle bell asks me to step aside. After about six kilometers I reach the first gate to enter Twiske. Here a hiking trail starts where nobody will disturb you, except a rebellious cow who doesn't want to step aside for a human being.
In front of I find a lot of these wild cows in the meadow. They silently pose for hikers who want to capture them from all sides with their cameras. The path winds through the meadows around the small waters that divide the land. Further on, I reach the first platform that lets me cross the water. This will not be the last one of the day and brings a nice change in the experience of this hike.
When I look up I see a clear blue sky today. It feels like a spring day, although the trees are not yet fully in bloom. Many other people decided to get out like me. Twiske is a large nature reserve so it isn't busy but you can feel the presence of other people recreating everywhere. It is a popular place on days like this, easy to reach from the city. Enough reason to label Twiske as the city park outside the city of Amsterdam. An ideal place to stay on days with good weather. When I reach the border of Twiske again the path brings me to the mill near Landsmeer. From there I enter a civilised world again, walking through the houses of this town to the bus stop. Where a bus is already waiting to bring me back into the city.
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