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Amsterdam: A Walk in the Snow

Updated on May 2, 2017
A street in Amsterdam bordered by a canal.
A street in Amsterdam bordered by a canal. | Source


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!

Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam. Here's a familiar sight of bikes being parked along a canal bridge.
Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam. Here's a familiar sight of bikes being parked along a canal bridge. | Source
A clearly marked bike lane on a side street.
A clearly marked bike lane on a side street. | Source
A typical doorway in Amsterdam with an overhang to keep out of the weather.
A typical doorway in Amsterdam with an overhang to keep out of the weather. | Source
The canal boat we took on our first afternoon in Amsterdam. As you can imagine this is a big tourist attraction in Amsterdam.
The canal boat we took on our first afternoon in Amsterdam. As you can imagine this is a big tourist attraction in Amsterdam. | Source
My "office" in the lobby of the hotel from where I drank coffee and watched the snow fall on my first morning in Amsterdam! Notice each table even has a lit candle which added to the ambiance!
My "office" in the lobby of the hotel from where I drank coffee and watched the snow fall on my first morning in Amsterdam! Notice each table even has a lit candle which added to the ambiance! | Source

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    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      europewalker,

      The photos me want to go back too. I never expected to fall in love with Amsterdam the way I did. I hope I can go back someday. Any season would be fine...I loved it that much!

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 4 years ago

      My husband and I have visited Amsterdam in the winter several times. We throughly enjoy this city. Love the art museums and Anne Frank House. I prefer walking everywhere because there is so must to see. Your lovely photos make me want to go back for another visit:)

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Christine,

      Thanks so much for your wonderful comments. I will keep your idea in mind about your coming with me on future travels while Chuck is teaching. I am not sure I would have the same perspective though if shared with someone else. In fact, if Chuck was with em as we walked through the streets of Amsterdam, I don't think I would have had the same perspective. There was something wonderful about being in a foreign country, all by myself, wandering the streets in the snow and discovering new things. But when I need a new perspective, you'll be the first one I call.

    • profile image

      Christine 4 years ago

      I started my morning reading this blog and feel transformed back to Amsterdam. While ken has been there several times, I spent about 8 hours there as a layover back from Spain or possibly France. I think you need a girlfriend to share your unique experiences while chuck is teaching and that maybe it should be ME! I like the fact that your perspective in this blog focuses on finding things that most of us forget to even look at and seeing them as extraordinary gifts- the candle on the desk, the different styles of doors, the bike path... Ken has a thing for taking pictures of roofs and sidewalks. I love seeing the world through your positive and excited eyes. Thanks for another fun journey... Can't wait for the next! Love ya!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      By Lori,

      Oh my goodness, you should really go get the chance. Or make the chance. Between the old buildings, and the canals, it's like being in a story book. Plus there is so much to see and do here. Thanks for reading.

    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 4 years ago from USA

      This was nice to read. My father's parents immigrated to the states from the Netherlands. I have never been there !

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      wetnosedogs,

      Thanks. I just may follow up on the calendar idea. But I counted my door pictures and only have 5...I need 7 more good ones if I want to do a calendar. Or maybe I can combine bikes, which I have plenty of, and doors! I have 2 more days to collect pictures so I will see what I can come up with! Thanks for dropping by.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      hawaiianodysseus,

      I always look forward to your comments because they are so meaningful and well thought out. I wonder myself about the houses but so far no one has invited me in to see...probably because I look a bit like a fool standing in front of their homes with my mouth hanging open in awe of the beauty before me. Maybe they are afraid to let me in and I can't say I blame them! Well, I will have to content myself with gazing from the sidewalks, and my pictures. Thanks so much for your encouraging words about my writing. It means a lot coming from such a creative and wonderful writer. I am excited about my future with Hub Pages as well. It has been a wonderful experience as I challenge myself to write and follow my dream.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Karen!

      Love the fact that you did all that reveling in the snow and then shared your thoughts with us from your office in the coffee shop.

      I have a couple of postcards from the early part of the last century that feature those colorful and intimately juxtaposed houses along the waterfront. Also sold a contemporary puzzle featuring that walkway. Beautiful scenery! While the houses seem cramped from the outside, I wonder if they are surprisingly more spacious on the inside.

      I totally get what you expressed--the way travel abroad puts one in the mood to contemplate the world with thanksgiving in the heart. From following your writing, I also think the traveling you've been doing with Chuck has propelled you to another level of writing--a literary quantum leap, if you will. I'm definitely interested in seeing your Hub career develop all the more as time goes by.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      Beautiful pictures. That is great idea for a calendar. Enjoy.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      shiningirisheyes,

      Thanks for dropping by. I am still in my Amsterdam adventure, for 2 more days so there will be more hubs coming. Just not about bikes, and although it snowed here again today I won't be telling about any more walks...hopefully some more good hubs about Amsterdam are on their way though!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      chrisinhawaii,

      Your last comment was so funny it made me laugh out loud...and I am still laughing. I forgot that that combination could make the streets doubly dangerous. You are too funny! Thanks for the comment and a good laugh!

    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 4 years ago

      =) I think my wife would totally buy that calendar. I loved that canal through the city. How beautiful is that?

      Well, I'm glad you didn't get creamed by some stoned kid flying by on a bicycle lol

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Beautiful stunning photos from another part of the globe. Glad you had the wonderful opportunity.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks Karen. I am so glad to have found him as well. And it is beautiful here. People probably think I am insane because every time I turn a corner I stop and stare with my mouth open!!! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Faith Reaper,

      Thanks for the compliment on the photos, but it really is that pretty here. I am in awe. I have suddenly become addicted to taking pictures of doors and skinny houses and my husband thinks I am nuts. I just can't help it. It is so different here than in the U.S.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      bdegiulio,

      Thanks for stopping by and checking it out. Yes, it's so beautiful. I am amazed at all the OLD houses here. And they are all along lovely canals which adds to the charm.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Karen. Thanks for sharing this trip through Amsterdam. It looks beautiful. Love the photos. Enjoy your stay.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Thanks for taking us along on your amazing trip and sharing use beautiful photos with us all. So very lovely indeed!

      Voted up+++ and sharing

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • profile image

      karen 4 years ago

      They are beautiful photos. Looks amazing out there. Glad to hear you have found your prince charing.