A long weekend. An early autumn break after 9 long (and lovely) weeks of summer holidays with the constant companionship of my children, with weather just as good as summer and a new city to explore. My recent trip to Amsterdam was, in so many ways, a perfect way to close the summer chapter and move on to autumn without dragging my heels trying to cling onto the loveliest summer I can remember for a very long time…
Amsterdam is a unlike anywhere I have been before. There are certain similarities of course and the bustle of any city is the same, but here there is something of a relaxed atmosphere with it. And although my trip was only for a couple of nights it gave me a gorgeous snapshot and a hopeful plan to return again one day.
I am not entirely sure why but almost all of my photographs involve a form of transport. Aside from the canals and boats there are so many bikes (I do wonder what the statistic would be, how many bicycles in Amsterdam…?) it would be difficult not to have one in a photograph, you literally can’t move without almost walking into a cyclist!! Not to mention the silent trams that creep up on unsuspecting tourists and the horses that pull carriages. The latter most likely exclusively for visitors as I can’t imagine the locals using them to journey about the city. I guess they must roll their eyes at us but you’d never know it as we were only met with friendliness there.
A couple of lovely places of note… The Hoxton Hotel on the Herengracht canal, a building which was the Mayors home once upon a time but is not the most beautiful hotel, well worth considering if you are planning a visit. The area known as The 9 Streets (De 9 Straatjes) is a lovely place to wander, filled with beautiful shops and things to do. In fact most of the old town is just lovely. There are boat trips from opposite the central station – if that is your thing though I didn’t take one this time. If you are in the area though the gingerbread houses are here too, their wonkiness so charming that it would be virtually impossible to leave without a photo. And if great coffee is your thing and you happen to be a little further south, I can recommend Lot Sixty One, it’s worth the trek! Though, quite honestly, it is the loveliest city to simply wander around and stop wherever catches your eye.
Long ago I had half decided Amsterdam was not for me, a thought based upon a thought having never actually been before. And You know what? It proved me wrong, it is a beautiful city indeed!