Saturday, 19 March 2016

Winter in Amsterdam

Winter suits Amsterdam.  Even in mid-March there are still splinters of ice in the North wind and the cold blue-grey light is the perfect backdrop for the monochrome colour palette of the city, with its network of canals bordered by merchants houses, still as beautiful and harmonious today as when they were built.

We spent my recent birthday there, staying on the Herengracht, one of the prettiest canals in Amsterdam, browsing around the markets and churches, enjoying the ambiance in the cafes, shops and restaurants, and admiring the art in the museums and galleries, chatting with the very friendly locals and hopping on and off trams whilst trying to avoid the bikes which seem to come flying from all directions!  

Amsterdam has many faces and most of these photos were taken in the Nine Streets area near our hotel.  This area is lovely by day...







... and by night.  In the evenings, we would walk around the Nine Streets after dinner, admiring the stark winter-bare trees against the night sky and the lit-up windows of the beautiful old houses. 







 I was particularly fascinated by the shop windows, lit up at night and full of colour and life













A great city for a short break and one I look forward to revisiting one day.

31 comments:

  1. so glad you enjoyed your break - what a lovely birthday treat. I love Amsterdam too, so easy to walk around and the bicycles add such character.

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    1. We did, Ann, and the arrangements for the dogs worked well too, so we still have some freedom. My first visit and Amsterdam did not disappoint - the only quibble with the bicycles is the seeming lack of any rules.

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  2. Marianne, an Amsterdam visit seems like a very fine birthday gift! My visit to that city was quite a few decades ago, but I remember it very well. It was in late April, just as flowers began to appear on the fruit trees. I stayed in a charming bed and breakfast, and my room had a garden view with lots of pink-flowered trees. I walked everywhere with great pleasure and also had a day trip to Haarlem which was another beautiful place.
    Thank you for summoning up some memories. xo

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    1. It was, Frances! We try and spend our birthdays away from home, if only to make them more memorable. Amsterdam was probably even more atmospheric when you visited. Glad to bring up happy memories.

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  3. I would love to get back to Amsterdam! We had a few days there several years ago, our first and only (so far) visit to the city, and I would happily go back for more. I envy you living close enough to so many great cities that you can enjoy such a satisfying short getaway. . .

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    1. Visiting as many Northern European cities as possible is high on my wish list and we are lucky to have so many options on our doorstep. My only problem is that there is never quite enough time, so I leave with the desire to return, which is good, but there is always another city calling too!

      Now you have more time, perhaps you will be able to come to Europe more often?

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  4. Never been to Amsterdam. The pictures look fantastic.

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    1. I hope you will visit one day, Molly. This was my first visit and I loved it.

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  5. I love the bike art, and I want those high top flowery sneakers! Your architectural shots of the city are wonderful. Thanks for the tour!

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    1. Thank you Barb. I found it hard to leave the bike painting behind, but it wouldn't fit in my hand luggage. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

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  6. I love your night windows. The Rijksmuseum is one of my favourites too. I never got the hang of the cycle lanes when crossing the road.

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    1. I loved the night windows, too, and couldn't resist recording some of them. The Rijksmuseum was stunning and a visual feast. Dutch artists have long been among my favourites and seeing so many of them was such a pleasure. I think my favourite artist is Vermeer, but it's a tough call. As for the cycles lanes, I couldn't work out if there were any rules apart from 'make way'.

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  7. I enjoyed your post and all your photos. How lovely to visit Amsterdam for your birthday. We went to Amsterdam several times and I love this city – and its food too – I can’t find Dutch meat croquettes or a good rijsttafel here in Georgia. We also would make small trips for birthdays but now that my husband is not so well (Alzheimer) it is more difficult. My birthday is next Saturday (3/26) and I have been trying to think about what we could do – so far, no idea, but it won’t be as nice as your Amsterdam trip!

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    1. I do hope you find somewhere lovely to celebrate your birthday and I am so sorry to hear about your husband's illness. That is hard.

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  8. Amsterdam is a city I would love to visit. Your wonderful photos make me want to be there all the more. That first image is classically beautiful.

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    1. I probably took around 100 photos Hilary and just knew when I got them on the screen that the first photo was the 'one'. Classic Amsterdam. I do hope you get to visit one day and glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  9. There was a time when a visit to Amsterdam was an easy thing to accomplish. I came to love the city in the off-season. So many of the beautiful cities are best seen with bare trees and winter light. What a nice little treat for you!

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    1. I think you are right, Honora. Visiting out of season is the best plan - no queues and not too hot either. So pleased to have made it to Amsterdam at last - it's been on my wish list for a long time now and it did not disappoint. The winter trees and soft light made it magical.

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  10. Glad to hear you enjoyed Amsterdam Marianne! I always enjoy going there as well. So much to see and do. Hope you will come and see Rotterdam next time. It's different, but beautiful in it's own way!

    Madelief x

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    1. We are planning to return to Amsterdam soon and will probably take the ferry and train, changing at Rotterdam, so the perfect excuse to stop over!

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  11. Hello Marianne
    This looks like a perfect city break. Your images and description transported me to Amsterdam. I particularly love your night photos.

    Helen xx

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    1. It was, Helen, and glad you enjoyed the trip and the night photos. I found Amsterdam particularly enchanting at night.

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  12. That looks a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday!The cold blue light is such a contrast to the colourful shop windows. I used to live in Germany as a child and we used to frequently visit Holland. I love their architecture and the canals. I would love to visit there again when all the bulbs are out and stay on a canal boat. I hope you make another return trip there soon. Sarah x

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    1. When you are retired, there is more time to make those dreams come true, so lots to look forward to x

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  13. I've never been to Amsterdam except in summery weather. It is such a beautiful looking city that I can imagine it would be particularly wonderful in the snow. Last time I was there we stayed in an ultra modern hotel and hardly spent any time in the historic districts, mainly because we were with 2 boys who were Not Interested, to say the least, in anything ye olde. They did however like the museum. On that trip we also went to the Hague which was surprisingly nice. I'd always imagined it might be rather dull but it has wonderful art.

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  14. I've never been to Amsterdam except in summery weather. It is such a beautiful looking city that I can imagine it would be particularly wonderful in the snow. Last time I was there we stayed in an ultra modern hotel and hardly spent any time in the historic districts, mainly because we were with 2 boys who were Not Interested, to say the least, in anything ye olde. They did however like the museum. On that trip we also went to the Hague which was surprisingly nice. I'd always imagined it might be rather dull but it has wonderful art.

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    1. Must visit The Hague too next time. Lots of fascinating Dutch cities and so close to home too.

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  15. I like your beautiful fotos!
    Very nice:)

    And i liked the blog :)


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  16. Happy belated Birthday, Marianne!

    Are you a Pisces, like me? My birthday is the date of this post.

    Your description and photos of Amsterdam are simply enchanting. I would have spent hours gazing at the old houses. Of course, out in the Dutch countryside, the profusion of tulips must be a sight, too!

    Poppy

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    1. Thank you, Poppy, and yes, I am a Pisces too. Great birth sign. So pleased you enjoyed the virtual visit to Amsterdam - it was enchanting and I can't wait to visit again. We didn't have time for the countryside this time round, but did visit the flower market, which was fun. Lovely to see you again x

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