Autumn Apple Picking

As the seasons shift, we're heading into a cozier time of year here in Amsterdam. The cooler temperatures (and drizzly rain) make it a real challenge to get necessary sunshine and fresh air that I crave. Although we're constantly chasing the sunshine here in Amsterdam, autumn definitely feels like a frantic, last-minute dash to get outside and enjoy a bit of nature before the heavy winter settles in. Looking back at the golden rays and plush leaves in these photos, I don't even want to think about winter coming, yikes! 

You don't need to head far out of the city center before you're out in the Dutch countryside, an area filled with quaint little towns and endless farming land growing everything from tulips to onions, strawberries, pumpkins and more. It had been about five years since I last visited the Olmenhorst Orchard and it was time to go back for another round of apple and pear picking. So, my friend Oceane and I headed out to the countryside and lucky for us, autumn sunshine was just right...

As a freelance creative, I often spend a lot of time creating content for other people and while I'm fortunate to be busy, it's easy for me to get lost in the hustle and flow of work, work work. So, I've been attempting to make little adventures for myself to try different activities like, apple picking. In this case, our apple picking afternoon inspired us to invite a few friends to cook up a big autumn dinner! It was a delicious meal that perfectly fit the coziness of this new season. You can read more about creative challenges here in my article for the Creative Women Collective.

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Hidden courtyard in Antwerp

A nod to Antwerp’s ancient past is still visible in the architecture throughout the city. Not to be overlooked are the chunky brick buildings with little doors and secret alleyways that lead to hidden courtyards.

While many are residential, a few courtyards are accessible to the public via small shops and cafes. We took a peak down a little alley near the cathedral and immediately stepped back in time. Known as Vlaeykensgang, this lush, hidden courtyard is a gem that dates back to 1591 and leads to a small maze of alleyways. 

Autumn Sun Flares in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's canal district is a magical wonderland to explore - no matter what season - but something extra special happens when golden, autumn sunshine pours over the city. On a recent sunny afternoon, I took my chance to wander the canals and experimented with the aperture settings to capture the perfect sun flare. 

What do you love most about autumn? The cooler weather or magically changing leaves, perhaps? One of my favorite visual textures, watching sunlight gleam through the leaves, is made even more lovely with the spectrum of golden yellow and rusty reds. Here are a few to sunflare photos to enjoy...

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Historic Architecture in Antwerp

After arriving at Antwerp Central Station, we set out for a day of city exploration. Our visit to Antwerp was sunny, relaxing day trip filled with dramatic architecture, hidden alleyways and plenty of Belgian beers. One of my favorite parts of the day was getting lost in exploring the details of Antwerp's historic buildings which range in style from medieval to gothic, baroque and renaissance and my personal favorite, art nouveau.

Here's a collection of a few monumental buildings that caught my eye... 

Antwerp’s story features a long history, dating beyond the middle ages. The prosperous river port created a city that flourished in culture and trade. A successful diamond industry supported the affluent community that financed a thriving art scene, including painters like Rubens. Much of the architecture around the city center still reflects the Antwerp's dynamic history featuring medieval cobblestone alleyways, brick packhouses with wooden windows, and elaborate golden age architecture of the Grote Markt that shimmers in the sun. 

 

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Antwerp City Scenes

Antwerp is a busy metropolis with a cozy feel. With a condensed city center, Antwerp is easy to explore by foot, from extravagant squares to little church courtyards. You'll begin with maze of wide boulevards, condensed down to cobblestone streets filled with tram lines, busy boulevards and dozens of bicycles dashing by.

This chaotic scene slows down once you turn off the main road and step into the small city center. You'll find twisting, quiet streets that are perfect to wander, set to the dramatic backdrop of buildings from the flourishing golden-age.