ADVENTURES | PHOTOGRAPHS | LIFE IN AMSTERDAM


Monday, August 11, 2014

Around Town: Sunday in the Nine Streets



I recently spent a warm Sunday afternoon wandering around Amsterdam's charming Nine Streets district with my friend Jen, her husband and their cheerful, chubby baby. Luckily, the trio snuck in a few days in Amsterdam during their recent trip to Germany and France and we got to enjoy a bit of Dutch summer together. We were first introduced though our blogs a few years ago when Jen and Justin were on an expat adventure living in Amsterdam (and Italy). Funny enough, we all share similar roots from the same area in Florida!

Clustered within a scenic strip of Amsterdam's canal district, the Nine Streets are filled with posh shops, quaint cafes and unique boutiques. We strolled along with baby Ezra, peeking into shop windows and taking lots of pictures along the way. Luckily, sunshine followed us all afternoon and we stopped for a break one of my favorite terraces for a round of biertjes, kaastengels and watching the world go by.

They're currently living in Brooklyn but we missed a chance to hang out during my quick trip to NYC last month, so this was a fantastic alternative. Actually, the timing couldn't have been more perfect, since I've recently returned to Amsterdam myself and am enjoying a few relaxing weeks to settle in before my masters program starts this autumn.

As our walk continued, we approached the Prinsengracht around the same time my Dutchman and friends were boating in the canal! Standing canal side, my Dutchman hopped out to sneak a kiss and said "Hello" to my Florida pals and before taking off for more fishing. That sweet moment reminded me just what a tiny world Amsterdam is.

As the four of us made our way back along the Prinsengrahct, we added a stop at Ijscupje (my favorite ice cream here) to our agenda. Ice cream is always a good idea, especially on a warm, summer day! I chose a scoop of bokkenpootjes (a Dutch chocolate-almond cookie) with a scoop of tangy blood orange on top. We enjoyed our cones canal side while baby Ezra giggled happily while his chubby cheeks were completely covered in ice cream.

Sunny Sundays are the best, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a few more before the seasons switch. Here are a few other photos from our day...




P.S. You can browse more of Jen & Justin's travels on her blog and check out Freshly Picked, Jen's lovely flower styling company, full of dreamy bouquets.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer in Vondelpark

Vondelpark is summertime and this year, Amsterdam's treasured park celebrated its 150th anniversary!



In the few weeks since my return to Amsterdam, I've probably already cycled through Vondelpark at least a dozen times. I've laid in the grass with my book, enjoyed a few picnics, watched the world go by from the Blauwe Theehuis, attempted some pathetic forms of exercise, and successfully finished my share of wine and snacks from a picnic blanket.

Vondelpark is synonymous with Amsterdam and this historic park simply comes alive when the days get longer during summer and trees are exploding with all shades of green. People are everywhere- rollerblading, cycling, or wandering carefree (until someone dings a bike bell at them). Kids can do their thing at variety of playgrounds and those, like me, who enjoy a drink on a sunny terrance have a few options too. Everyone else settles down for a picnic, BBQ or leisurely rest in the sun...which fortunately doesn't even set until at least 10pm during the summer months!

During my au-pair days we gathered in Vondelpark religiously, following the motto "Sun's out, let's picnic!" Every Amsterdammer surely has their favorite spot but I might keep mine a secret for now.

If you've ever enjoyed time in Vondelpark you may have seen the bright green parakeets who live there. On my first sighting, I couldn't believe my eyes to see such a tropical bird living wild here in the city. And did you know there are more than 70 types of roses in the rose garden?





Heading to Vondelpark this summer? You may want to check out the open air theatre offering an agenda full of free performances!

Also check out a 4th of July picnic, a sunny day videowinter scenes and winter photos when I'd first moved to Amsterdam (and it was so cold!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Weekend Wanderings: Florida's Best Beach

With the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Florida's 1,350 miles of sandy, sunny, palm sprinkled coastline offer innumerable beach going days. As you can imagine, upon my return to the Sunshine State blue skies called my name and I flocked to the beach as much as possible.

You may think that with so much coast, it'd be hard to pick a favorite beach spot but for me, there is only one beach. Playa Linda aka "The Best Beach" between my friends and I. Unlike other eastern shores, cars are (thankfully!) not allowed at Playa Linda as it belong to a protected marine area belonging to the Canaveral National Sea Shore. And for those of you interested, clothing is optional in some areas too.

Twenty-four miles of undeveloped coast plump with sea turtle nests during the spring and summer months.

No cars, no houses, no shops. Just beach... as it should be. 

Playa Linda is quite literally a beautiful beach...


After receiving news of my acceptance to all three of my graduate school applications in the Netherlands (!!!) I knew my Florida beach time would soon come to a long pause, so I quickly opted to soak all the sunshine (Yes. All. Of. It.) and headed to the beach almost weekly before my time ran out. This was somewhat of a challenging endeavor what, with all the bits and pieces that come with moving abroad (again!).

Before flying back to Holland together, my Dutchman and I spent one more day at Playa Linda, after a morning of paddle boarding close by. An impending storm was headed inland and once a few rain drops sprinkled down, the other visitors packed up and left one by one. Eventually, we had the entire beach all to ourselves...



...Until a park ranger drove by and told us it was closing time. We took our sweet time to head out and paused at nearly all the look out points for one last view of arguably, the very best beach.



This morning I'm looking out our kitchen window here in Amsterdam and watching the grey clouds drizzle. I can't help but think back to the salty sea breeze, sun pinched skin, warm sand between my toes back in Florida. To be fair, since returning to our canal filled city, the weather has been surprisingly warm and sunny with dreary days as the major influence to when I actually sit down at my computer.

Rainy days may lend credit for my productivity but I'm wishing you sunshine where ever you are!


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