Autumn in Vondelpark

While shooting content for a new project, I made my way through Vondelpark towards Amsterdam’s affluent Oud Zuid neighborhood on an autumn afternoon.

Akin to Amsterdam’s Central Park, our beloved Vondelpark is typically associated with the lush, green days of summer. However, this time of year, I was lucky to catch some of the last remaining, bold colored autumn leaves in during the quiet moment just before a rain storm arrived, forcing us back indoors.

Autumn inspires it’s own unique revival, as nature - and life - slow down in preparation for a season of hibernation, reflection and growth for the coming year. I still can’t believe we’ve already reached December and winter will surely be settling in soon enough.

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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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Amsterdam's Sidewalk Gardens

As a sun-loving Florida gal, it’s no surprise that summertime in Amsterdam holds a special place in my heart. Let's be honest, Dutch summers aren't very reliable for warmth + sunshine (so.much.rain!).  However, this is our little chuck of time to do a sun dance, cross our fingers and hope for the best.  When everything falls into place, tree branches pop with all shades of green, magically transforming the grey and brown bricks of our city into pallets of color and texture when doused in sunlight.  

In every neighborhood, the sidewalks blossom with summer gardens. Here are a few that I caught my eye while wandering the Jordaan on a Saturday...

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Windowsills and sidewalks overflow with hollyhocks, roses, lavender, giant sun flowers and Amsterdam's streets bloom with colorful sidewalk gardens, creating a palette of rainbow colors along the canals. 

Summer is the time to be outside and that's exactly where you'll find me! I've been soaking up the (rare) sunshine while people watching on a terrace with a zatte and kaasstengles, roaming the canals for curious scenes and savoring special little moments like reading in the park, sipping bubbles in the garden, watching the bees nibble on pollen. 

Everything and everyone has bloomed to their maximum capacity and that energy radiates throughout the whole city. It's a magical time of year! 

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Amsterdam in Bloom - Hollyhocks

It's common knowledge that we have plenty of rain here in Amsterdam. Those gray clouds are often a bummer but something really special happens when all that rainy drizzle mixes together with bright, golden sunshine... Wildflowers begin to pop up all around the city! I can't get enough of the Amsterdam's summer flower collection. Especially my favorite, the hollyhocks.

Bright pops of pink, maroon, purple, white, magenta, yellow and crimson burst along the street-side. Known as stockrozen in Dutch, this tall, colorful, perennial flower is a particular favorite of mine.

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Luckily, they're abundant around Amsterdam and I can't cycle more than five minutes through the city without spotting a rainbow of these stately flowers. They're tall, like me and a some can reach over seven feet in length! I've also noticed a few that have toppled over to one side after growing too tall for their own good.

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I spent the majority of the summer traveling and during my time in Amsterdam, I've been snapping away at the brilliant blooms and giant stalks. I even made a point to take the scenic route along Vondelkerkstraat because the entire street is lined with tall, colorful stockrozen. Hollyhocks are a staple of the Amsterdam summer sidewalk garden scene, casting happy vibes all over the city. 

Fat fuzzy, bumble bees are naturally drawn to all the blooms. Upon closer inspection, you’ll often find bees devouring the pollen inside as they're preparing to next seasons blooms! 

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Summer Stroll through Vondelpark

This summer, July was all about focusing on my personal creative work, like relaunching my blog (welcome back, by the way!) getting to know my new Canon 5d Mark IV and catching up with friends who were neglected while I was swamped with client projects. Andra (@Amsterdamming) and I were long overdue for some girl talk so we met up to chat over coffee and quiche on a rainy afternoon. Lucky for us, the clouds eventually parted to reveal a bit of blue and just enough sunshine to make us smile. Our cameras in hand, we set out for an afternoon stroll through Vondelpark which was surprisingly very quiet thanks to the previously dismal weather. 

Having already lived in so many different pockets of the city, I must say this area near Vondelpark is my favorite neighborhood yet. Nothing beats being a few steps away from the park. It is a living, breathing creature itself. Vondelpark is such a big space, there are spots to see and be seen and other hidden corners where you can easily forget that you’re in the middle of a metropolis like Amsterdam.

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On this particular day, I found inspiration in the sunshine that filtered down through the trees, rich shades of green, textured leaves and the fat raindrops on the soft, peachy petals in the Rose Garden. When looking back over these photos, I can almost still feel the thick, humid air that encompassed us.

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