With King’s Day now a fading, alcohol-flavoured memory, I thought I would share a picture that shows it doesn’t have to be Koningsdag for the city to have splashes of orange.
Spring is still fighting to make itself heard here in Holland. The weather is overwhelmingly underwhelming and days of decent sunshine without wind are few and far between. There are the odd breakthroughs, though:
There is exactly 1 (+/- 1) advantage of living in Haarlem, rather than Amsterdam; cycling to the beach in 25minutes. This should of course be offset by the number of beach worthy days per year (7). These pictures document the journey between Haarlem and Zandvoort (the beach) on one of the first warm days of 2013.
The west coast of the Netherlands is stacked high with well-maintained dunes to keep the sea at bay, and it is possible to cycle through these national parks or through some rather exclusive suburbs.
I was quite impressed in all honesty: the water is not nearly as brown as I expected.
If anyone ever has the ‘So where are you from in England?’ conversation with me, they will know that I can be pretty disparaging about my hometown. Ask me about Bristol, where I studied and lived before moving to the Netherlands, and you will have a face full of wide-smile enthusiasm. But my hometown? Eh, not so much. Generally I avoid telling foreigners where I’m from, in case they Google it (other search engines are available).
Perhaps I was feeling a little guilty or trying to gain a little perspective* but when I went home this week for a few days, I took my camera and went on a sunshine stroll to take some positive photos of Burnham and Highbridge. I think I did quite well. Click through the gallery below and see what you think.
*People who use the phrase “FML” when they spill their Starbucks or drop their iPhone could do with a little perspective. You know who you are.
One of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam (second most popular according to the adverts) is the zoo. Surprisingly big for a zoo in the middle of rather small capital city, it’s very easy to spend a whole day there. Here are some highlights from the two visits we’ve had there…
There’s also a large aquarium, which is one of the places you can visit on Museumnacht.
Our camera battery died before we could take any pictures of Mumba, the baby elephant, so here’s one we took from the Artis website:
The butterfly house is pretty big, with lots of different types of flutterbys to keep you interested in the humid temperatures
Always a favourite, we spent some time watching the penguins…
There’s also quiet spaces in the zoo, including picnic spaces and gardens.
With the sudden rush of sunshine and the promise of longer days, we thought we’d take the camera out and about in Amsterdam before the clouds came back.
With spring not being in full swing yet, bursts of colour like these are really noticable at the moment:
Only Twinkies, cockroaches and patio furniture survived the apocalypse.
The next couple of pictures were taken in a courtyard in the centre of Amsterdam, surrounded by houses, which are for single women only: the Begijnhof. Visitors can enter through an inconspicuous wooden door and have a look around the courtyard, but can only walk down certain parts; the rest is reserved for residents.
The atmosphere in the courtyard is almost impossibly quiet, because on the other side of the door lies the Spui, a square which is frequently used for book and art markets and always busy with tourists. When we went in, however, the only sounds still audible were those of a couple of busking musicians.
The warmer weather really does transform Amsterdam, you just have to look at the behaviour of the locals. Every seat in a patch of sun is taken, boats roam the canals and all the trivial nuisances in life, like going to work, for example, are abandoned for soaking up the fleeting sunshine with a beer.
We can’t wait for summer….