27th April 2009
What can I say after a long weekend of sunshine, windmills, tulips, long walks along canal banks and boat rides through the heart of the Netherlands’ largest city? Well if I’m to be completely honest I’d tell you that yes there were all of the above idyllic scenes, but they only made up part of the story. Meeting a few friends in the city soon made the relatively simple task of taking photographs near impossible. The city centre is jam packed with bars, restaurants, cafes and shops that seem to swallow up tourists for days on end. This tourist was no exception as I struggled to prise myself from the party atmosphere and get some serious work done. Fortunately I managed this on at least a few occassions, meaning I did manage to get some photography from the weekend!
Yellow and orange flags blow in the wind against a bright blue sky. Orange is Holland’s colour just as much as Ireland’s is green. This week Queen’s day sees thousands of Dutch take to the streets in orange attire for some serious celebrations. I for one have done enough celebrating for one weekend so will leave them to it!
Tulips really are everywhere in Holland, which is just as well. Unable to witness the stunning tulip fields of the dutch countryside, I had to compromise. Amsterdam’s parks and gardens? No, Schipol airport in fact!
This picture more or less sums up Amsterdam for me. Narrow city streets lining the canal, trees and lampposts side by side, the slender, geometric architecture of the buildings with their hidden bars and large windows, and of course the bikes, which are simply everywhere! One thing that really struck me on this trip was just how relaxed and easy going a city of over one million people could be. Maybe it’s something in the water.
25th April 2009
I did make it out of Amsterdam for at least one night and travelled the short journey by train to Den Haag (The Hague), then hopped on a tram to Scheveningen which is a small coastal town which somehow reminded me of Scarborough! We stayed at the town’s only hostel, Jorplace (Yourplace), which is easily one of the best hostels I’ve stayed at in a long while. The onsite bar, chilled out atmosphere (they have a hammock, conservatory and camper van in the garden!) and the down to earth staff made our stay very enjoyable. Thanks to Jordy and Sarah.
After a day spent checking out the town, strolling along the beach and feasting in the beachside restaurants and bars we were treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen in a long time. The sun, the surf, the sand and the sound of seagulls – I’d never have thought I was in Holland and felt a million miles away from the city streets of Amsterdam. Sometimes you’ve just got to make the effort to travel out of the city and take in something a little different. Scheveningen is one of those places.