Amsterdam Adventure Day Trip To Haarlem

It was a busy week closing up 2015 and ushering in new year Amsterdam style and it included an Amsterdam adventure day trip to Haarlem. For many of you it’s the first Monday of 2016 and you may be resuming a routine of school, office…post-holiday “normalcy”. Since returns to normalcy can sometimes be challenging, I hope this Haarlem virtual tour is a fun way to get your week started!

I’m choosing to start my first Monday the way I’d like to start many more: in a coffee shop in Amsterdam working on my travel blog. I know it seems like my days of full of play and frivolity as you read along with me on the blog, but it also takes a lot of work to get the photos ready and assemble in a post! It IS work, TRUST me on this!

Work I LOVE of course!

Last Monday morning (after staying up late working on my last full blog) I got up early and jumped the tram to Centraal Station and got a ticket on the Intercity train to a new destination. Haarlem, I was coming at you!


A beautiful welcome to Haarlem in this lovely stained glass adorned train station as I disembarked and prepared for a walk around journey. I was starving by the time I got to Haarlem so on my walk to Grote Markt I stopped at Chocolate Company for a quick bite. You saw my 3 Steps To Win My Heart blog last week, this was actually from my morning hot cocoa and croissant breakfast in Haarlem.


Starvation averted and chocolate happy buzz on high, I walked over to Grote Markt and the spectacular Cathedral of St Bavo and surrounding architectural jewels._MG_7209



A little annual Christmas ornament selfie tradition with the cathedral in the background…




St Bavo is amazing on the outside and I had no idea the magic it held inside, but I paid my €2.50 walked through the vault-like entrance and quickly discovered.


Here are a few of my favorite cathedral treasures.




This is one of the newer windows at the cathedral and it is absolutely beautiful. The blues are rich and the red glows like fire when the sun comes through. I was fascinated by it and bought the book of how it was designed and created at the gift shop. I just couldn’t resist!


Can we talk about THIS amazement.  WAY overhead this caught my eye. Beautiful, just beautiful!


And this organ!




I mean, it’s just an ordinary, ornate, spectacular organ right?

That MOZART played on.


In the energetic presence of greatness I was! #sigh

On the other end of this massive cathedral was a serene and colorful little chapel alcove that was stunning and inviting.



I paid my €.50 and as I always do when in Europe I lit a candle. It’s something I do for someone who left my life much too soon.  He’s had candles burn for him across Europe. This year, unfortunately, I lit a candle for someone new who left my life recently. It seemed like a perfect spot to remember him.



As I sat on the chapel bench looking into this beautiful, colorful tapestry. I felt such immense gratitude for the opportunity to be where I am and the joy I get from sharing it with you all. Part of me wanted to sit there forever, so nothing would change. But, that’s not how life works and if I made the decision to stop and avoid change, well, ne’er another adventure I would see.  So up we go!



And, onward we go. Thank you St Bavo for a truly inspirational and beautiful morning in your architectural perfection and spiritual light. YOU are a treasure!!

Back out to the streets of Haarlem for a little touring around, I walk along…yep…more canals!




And, more COLOR! I love walking the streets and exploring. You find really interesting things and some great wisdom!




I’ll get “lost” in the streets of Haarlem happy place and eat fries with curry sauce to that (sorry, no pie)!


OK…can I just say that all fries and curry sauce are not created equal. I was STARVING after all this walking around and I was so excited to see a “walk up window” for fries. LET DOWN! I threw most of them away. SADNESS! #FryFail

Wandering a few streets in fry sadness and continued starvation, I happened upon the adorable cafe, By Lima, and away went my sadness! Magically replaced by more words of wisdom, a baked egg dish and winter thee.



Yeeeees! YEEEEEEES! Time machine! Y E S ! ! ! 



I REALLY want to stop back into this cafe before I head back to the States.  It was such a happy place!

I had somewhere to be that evening back in Amsterdam, so at dusk I headed back to the train station as my day trip to Haarlem came to an end. Along the way I was greeted by these lovelies again. WHAT ARE THEY?


Less than 30 minutes later, I’m back at Amsterdam Centraal Station with a warm welcome.

Love Letter To Amsterdam

Haarlem! A wonderful day trip experience full of beautiful architecture, canals, reflections, and quaint restaurants and shops. I definitely recommend you jump a train for a day trip to Haarlem if you visit Amsterdam. It’s a quick and easy train ride!

Back later this week on the blog ushering in the New Year Amsterdam style. And, I hope to get back to #LoveLettersToAmsterdam this week!

Happy New Year!


Love Letter To Amsterdam – 2016 Is Off To A Bright Start

Love Letter To Amsterdam – 2016 Off To A Bright Start

January 1, 2016 !!!

My Dearest Amsterdam,

Well I made it through your rather boisterous New Years Eve festivities.  I’ve never HEARD such explosive celebrations! I believe you cured me of my sensitivity to fireworks.

KAPOW KABOOM CRACKLE! {Repeat for 8 hours!!!}

As I walked the streets today you were littered with “leftovers” of spirits and sparkles everywhere I went.

Love Letter To Amsterdam


You sure didn’t seem to mind though, because you my dear Amsterdam were glowing brighter than I’ve ever seen you! Your colors and your energy could only be described as magical. 2016 looks GOOD on you!





Thank you for the message, my love:  Reflect. Look at things differently. Change perspectives.  

Got it. Noted. You’re the BEST!

Love Always,





Love Letter To Amsterdam

Love Letter To Amsterdam – Giving & Receiving Love

Love Letter To Amsterdam – Reciprocation

December 28, 2015

My Dearest Amsterdam,

My love letter today isn’t to you…exactly…

Today it’s a bit of shared love and reciprocal love. Isn’t it lovely when love comes back to us? Thank you for loving me back Amsterdam!

Love Letter To Amsterdam

Amsterdam Light Festival

AND…special special love is coming from Amsterdam to my mom! She’s an avid reader of my blog and today is her BIRTHDAY!!!! Happy Birthday, mom! Today (and every day) I LOVE YOU! Wish you were here to celebrate!!

Love always (to both of you!),


#LoveLettersToAmsterdam #AndMom





Amsterdam in Color


Week 2 is in the books as they say and it was Amsterdam in Color! The weather was…well…kinda horrible.  Unseasonably warm but not without very grey skies and an abundance of wind! So much wind, in fact, it made it hard to take pictures this week! Camera blur from being blown over by wind is not attractive.

So here we go from a few cloud breaks, semi wind protected canals, and a lovely Christmas morning in the park being grateful for “wildlife.”

I had a few errands to run over near Museumplein so I had a little photo fun on one of our sunnier days.


Festive candles from Riviera Maison to bring a little Christmas cheer to the apartment


Buskers entertaining the crowds on the green


Shaping up with my camera

On Christmas eve I did a little shopping on De 9 Straatjes, enjoying the views along the canals, and after sunset caught some of the holiday lights at the flagship De Bijenkorf department store on Dam Square.





I love a good out of focus sparkle


That is some festive Amsterdam in color! I was quite excited to find that one of my most favorite places in Amsterdam the Beginjhof, and also location of the English Reformed Church, had a Christmas Eve service in English. Score for the non-Dutch speaker! It was quite magical to have Christmas Eve in this special location with the moon glowing brightly above us as we all waited anxiously to enter.



iPhone photos don’t do it justice! But, it was dark and very crowded and my mind wasn’t on taking the perfect photo. 🙂

Christmas Day! Quiet and relaxing with some morning sun that I took full advantage of and headed over to Oosterpark for some time with nature and some exercise.  I mean, I haven’t been moving much…have I?



The park is full of interesting birds and art. I loved these faces on the bridge I crossed to enter the park. The red and green made for fun Christmas Amsterdam in color. Once across the bridge I was immediately greeted by these true Christmas morning movers doing their Tai Chi. Inspiring! They weren’t moving very fast, but they seemed to be faster than me on this lazy morning.


Moving on to birds aplenty! This park is full of them!  I’m not a bird fan most days, but today was different. It felt like a beautiful stocking full of God’s creatures.



WHAT IS THIS??? Amazing!  Beautiful! Mysterious! I LOVE the colors and the dramatic eye shading.



Oh heron! How I love you!! I spent a very long time hanging out here and slowly getting closer and closer. All the while talking and promising I would not do any harm. I love the way the coloring turned out. The blues and browns and textures.  And, those feathers! DIVINE!  Thank you my friend!


Oosterpark has quite a few sculptures. I loved the way the arms were seemingly open to receive. I felt very similar on this Christmas day far from home, but yet not…


As I was leaving the park, one of the trees gave me “the eye”…yep….

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and I made some art with new pastels I bought at Van Beek art supply store in the Jordaan. I picked red, gold, white and turquoise and this is what happened.



If you turn if vertical it rather looks like a blue heron, no? Art! Amsterdam in Color!!

Boxing Day was another windy day here in Amsterdam. I ventured over to the Jordaan to see if I could get some good boat shots and canal house reflections. Both hard to do in windy weather. Reflections were impossible. Boats were a little easier.









You know how I love my boat abstracts! Color…shape…water…texture…What’s not to LOVE?? Amsterdam in color of boats.

After walking the canals and playing boat paparazzi I stopped for some hot chocolate. Enjoyed on the roof deck of a house boat.


You now…just another afternoon in Amsterdam.

Before the sun started to set, there were a few other fun sightings around the Jordaan.


Bike and Doodle wall


OK…hairless cats (multiple) in a window…and they have their own social media presence and live cat cam. I don’t follow them…I’m pretty sure he wanted to eat me alive…The stuff nightmares are made of! I’m sorry…but those EYES!  AAAAHHHH!!!!


I always love finding a hidden “alley”, especially when they are THIS colorful!


The iconic bike chain and lock never looked so pretty


This guy! LOVE!! Pretty sure he’s scared of the hairless cat too!


Oh Amsterdam, your canals win my heart

My first sunset color! Finally, Amsterdam in color at sunset!




And somewhere in there I made it to the Noordermrkt…




Helloooooo beautiful!!

OK…that’s it!  Week 2.  A little light, a little Amsterdam in color, a little creature feature. Time for me to shut down and get ready for Week 3! The forecast calls for sun and that means I’m DAYTRIPPING! Can’t wait to show you my destinations on next week’s blog!  Until then, we’ll have our #LoveLettersToAmsterdam fun!

Color on!


Love Letter To Amsterdam – Love What’s Inside

Love Letter to Amsterdam – Love What’s INSIDE

December 24,2015


My Dearest Amsterdam,

I love you because I see you, maybe not how others see you, but I see you.

Love Letter To Amsterdam

Love Letter To Amsterdam

If you know love, you know:

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~Confucius

I stepped inside a large sculpture near the Rijksmuseum while everyone else was taking their pictures “outside”. For me, it was what was “inside” that inspired. The light, and the dark, I love it all.

Isn’t that what love is supposed to be?

Love Always,


PS…I loved you yesterday too, but sometimes love is distracting…