Amsterdam, one of my true loves. I just adore this precious little city.
J and I have been 3 times now, and each time fallen more in love with this place. It feels a lot more friendly than Paris and still has a small town feeling despite being a capital city. Amsterdam is a sassy mix of charm and crass. No other city does it like Amsterdam. Children pedal to school as if in a small town and pairs of police add no stress to the laid-back scene. Tourists crawl out of the station, keen to explore.
We spent a night in Den Haag and Leiden because we have friends there. The photo below is of J in Den Haag.
We enjoyed a leisurely walk in the forest in Den Haag. It’s easy to forget how good this makes you feel.
I came across this little guy in the forest, hand-carved and everything.
Back to our roots in the forest!
Shabby chic bike, the best colour!
Going to Amsterdam has made me really interested in the history of this place. Did you know that in the 16th century, the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam was a fortified marina of 30,000 people, mostly merchants, who welcomed ships loaded with material delights from every corner of the trading world? I know that Dutch trading was big, but not to that extent. They’d enter the town from where the train station stands today, parading like pirates with plunder to the commercial altar of the town — the customs and weigh house next to the City Hall on Dam Square, where they docked and unloaded.
The little houses are just divine! Even this shop, which sells an incredible range of condoms in all shapes and sizes, is cute and somewhat classy.
Dutch cheese, the French would argue that it tastes like cheese, but I think it’s nice. I particularly like the presentation. This shop in the main shopping street really caught my eye. It was like the Apple shop of cheese. So organised!
J and I then strolled through Amsterdam, miraculously the sun had come out, to find our rumbling tummies something to eat.
What I find incredible, is that all the houses are different. If you look at a block of houses, they are all varied.
J and mini door.
We found food! Herengracht gave us just what we were after. Herengracht is actually one of the names of the three main canals.
We were seated right next to the canal so we watched the boats glide by.
Orange? It’s the national colour, and the whole city would transform into an orange sea in the next 24 hours for Queen’s Day, their biggest party of the year.
Rocking my Karen Walker’s, love those sunnies!
J too happy to be tucking into his meal.
Eggs Benedict, my fav!
Does anybody know the name of these trees? They are so delightful to look at. Twisted and old looking like an old lady’s hand.
Orange for Queen’s Day.
The beginning of the party.
Visiting the apartment that we celebrated the day in changed my life. It was one of the most incredible apartments that I have ever seen. It looked right over the canal but in a quiet area and everything in this apartment appealed to me.
This is what this magic apartment looks out over, not bad huh?
So what is Queen’s Day all about?It is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 30 April (the 29th if the 30th falls on a Sunday), Koninginnedag (name in Dutch) is Queen’s Beatrix’s official celebration day. Though Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother and predecessor, Juliana. Many of the traditional activities are held outside, and observing the holiday in April makes suitable weather more likely. We were so lucky!!
Feeling the spirit!
Our good friend with crazy glasses, J and I looking somewhat silly!
Amsterdam’s charm — a fun mix of modern and faded elegance — is best enjoyed on foot (ideally with French fries). Take it all in and then pause to watch the sunset, as the Golden Age is reflected in a quiet canal. Just brilliant!