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Amsterdam: A Walk in the Snow
I am in Amsterdam as I write this. I am here with my husband who is teaching a class for a few days, and then we will have two days to explore the city together before returning home. We had breakfast together at the hotel and then he went to teach.
When we arrived yesterday, the temperature was thirty-seven degrees, and there was a mixture of rain and sleet falling on us as we waited for the shuttle to our hotel. By the time we had lunch, it had stopped, and the sun had come out, giving everything a wintery pink and blue hue. It is snowing today. The guidebook in our hotel room says it rarely snows in Amsterdam. How exciting that on the second day of our trip, I am fortunate enough to experience snow in Amsterdam! I have three whole days to explore by myself while my husband teaches. At first, I thought I would just stay in the hotel room and write while he was teaching. I tried that this morning, but the writing desk is near the window, and out the window I see snowflakes dancing by, calling to me to come out and play.
The guidebook in our hotel room says it rarely snows in Amsterdam. How exciting that on the second day of our trip, I am fortunate enough to experience snow in Amsterdam! I have three whole days to explore by myself while my husband teaches. At first, I thought I would just stay in the hotel room and write while he was teaching. I tried that this morning, but the writing desk is near the window, and out the window I see snowflakes dancing by, calling to me to come out and play. I realize it’s
I realize it’s SNOWING in Amsterdam. If I wait and write this morning, I might miss my chance to experience Amsterdam in the snow. So, I pack up my computer, purse, camera and winter coat and head outside. The snow is coming down harder than I thought. But it’s beautiful.
I decide to take a walk around the block. Maybe I can just make a quick trip to say I have been out in the snow. And walking around the block sounds like an easy way to not get lost. The snow falls on my hair and down my collar. I see people walking by with umbrellas which I usually think of for rain only, but then decide they have a very good idea. And they are obviously staying drier than I am in the snow.
One of the things that amazes me about Amsterdam is that there are so many people on bikes here. Even in the snow. There are a few people on scooters, but the majority of travelers are either in cars or on bikes. I jump out of the way when I hear a bike bell reminding me that I am standing on the bike path trying to take a picture, and I should be on the pedestrian walkway.
I think in the U.S. we are spoiled. No one would think to ride a bike in the snow unless they are too poor to own a car. Even then they would probably ride a bus, or take a taxi. It’s very different here in that respect. It’s also healthier and better for the air.
I continue to take in the sights. I marvel at the many bikes parked on the sidewalks and the sides of the streets. I want to get a picture of them, but it’s snowing so hard I am afraid to get snow on my camera lens. I duck into a doorway and pull out my camera. I notice that there are a lot of doorways that have overhangs or with the doors set back. I get my picture of a group of bikes parked all together and continue down the street.
I love the houses. Narrow, only about three windows wide, but also three stories high. And they are all connected. I start to daydream about taking pictures of the many types of doors I see. I think that maybe I can make a calendar and sell it on Etsy. I will call it, “The Doors of Amsterdam.” I have seen a poster with the doors of Ireland on it. Why can’t I do one with the doors of Amsterdam? Traveling makes me daydream like this. The world seems full of possibilities when I travel and open my eyes and mind to new ways of seeing things.
I continue walking, being careful to stay on the pedestrian walkway and out of the bike lane. The bicyclists here go pretty fast and I quickly learn to stay out of their way lest I hear the little chime of a bike bell warning me they are on their way.
I cross the street when I spot a canal. There’s a houseboat area I can see. I wonder what it must be like to live on a houseboat. I can see inside one, and it has a bike inside it. That must be a very freeing way of life, to live on a houseboat, which contains all your worldly possessions, and then not even need to have the responsibility of owning a car, just a bike to get around. I wonder if I could do that. I like the idea of being able to simplify my life that much, but not sure I would like the reality of it.
I continue my walk and see a man walking his two dogs. There are a lot of dogs and owners walking around in Amsterdam. I love dogs, so it seems like a welcoming city to me in that way. I see a bridge that goes over the canal I was following. I walk up onto the middle of the bridge and gaze down at a few black ducks and a canal boat going by. The snow is falling on the water in the canal, and it makes the scene quite pretty.
Yesterday, my husband and I took a canal boat ride and saw a lot of interesting sights and some museums we would like to go to. I am glad we did that because it gave us a chance to see Amsterdam from a different viewpoint than from the streets.
I stop on the bridge going over the canal. I can see inside one of the houses on the second floor, and there was a Christmas tree with bright white lights in a cozy living room. I look around at the snow falling, the canal below me, the bikes riding by me, and the view of the quaint Dutch homes all around me. I am suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for this chance to be here, now, at this moment, far away from my everyday life. I will be forever grateful for this experience to travel and make a mental note to always remember this moment, and this day, and I thank God for my walk through Amsterdam in the snow.
I head back to the hotel thoroughly wet but happy. The lobby of the hotel is set up for people to work in or relax with free wifi. I am sitting, drinking coffee, and relaxing as I write, and watch the snow fall out the window in my new favorite city of Amsterdam!
More Amsterdam Hubs: The Rijk's Museum
- Amsterdam: The Rijk's Museum
The Rijk's Museum in Amsterdam is an amazing collection of Dutch Art through the ages. It's most amazing exhibits include paintings by the Dutch masters including Rembrandt. ( Photos included)