Week 1 and Amsterdam Kerstmarkt Fun

I’ve officially concluded Week 1! Amsterdam Kerstmarkt can definitely be the theme for the week as I set out to search and discover Christmas Markets throughout the city! Not exactly the holiday markets I envisioned when I think Europe holidays but there were some fun finds and inspiration (read glûhwein, pancakes, waffels, and other not so healthy treats).

Here’s a rundown of the week. Oh, and you might want to settle in with a warm cup of your favorite thee, hete chocolademelk, koffie or Glûhwein, I covered a LOT of ground this week!

Tuesday early morning arrival at Schiphol Airport decorated with a holiday glow! Welkom!!


The rest of the day was a blur…jetlag..Commence with a long winter’s nap! Snurken…

WEDNESDAY…I woke up in AMSTERDAM!…It wasn’t a dream! Exploring over to the De Pijp neighborhood for a favorite broodbakkerij snack and the market for fresh veggies to stock the refrigerator.


More jetlag…more blur…more Winter’s napping.  I think it doesn’t help that it is dark at 4:30 PM. Test my genetics…I’m SURE I’m part bear. Should I add “Hibernation” as a skill set on LinkedIn?

THURSDAY! Amsterdam Kerstmarkt fun begins! First stop, Rembrandtplein…as you might remember from my #LoveLettersToAmsterdam post.


A little exploring and THIS…


You know “THIS”, right? If not, you should follow my social media more! ABSTRACT COLOR!

As for Amsterdam Kerstmarkt options…well, Rembrandtplein had a lot of really SWEET treats and a warm and cozy Glûhwein chalet that was pleasing. Not the market for holiday gift buying.

FRIDAY was an explore and connect day.





COLOR! and BOATS (boten!!)! before off to lunch at De Plantage, a lovely restaurant next to the zoo. I must head back and take a photo inside to show you the design. BEAUTIFUL! For now, my lemon chicken, tzatziki and pepper tartine.


It. Was. Delicious! And, LARGE so it was breakfast on Saturday with a soft boiled egg.  YUM re-do!

Speaking of SATURDAY…

More exploring and Amsterdam Kerstmarkt fun, starting with Museumplein Ice Amsterdam.






Yes, yes I do!


I also drink Glûhwein much too early at Kerstmarkts. That’s all I took away from this market. VERY small and mostly food. The longest line was at the pulled pork BBQ stand. Uhm….I’m from Texas. I didn’t come to Europe for BBQ! More Glûhwein, please? My holiday shopping isn’t quite working out as planned.  Anyone want a photo for Christmas?

Moving on to a quick detour through Vondelpark where I saw my feathered spirit friends again.



So much love here I can’t even put it into words!

Heron magic…Before another kind of “magic”.

Just on the other side of Vondelpark in a beautiful residential neighborhood is a little secret.


See those white flags and the arch?  Well, if you go in (and can find the right door to enter…especially if you don’t read Dutch!) THIS is what you see!


WAIT! WHAT?!?! De Hollandsche Manege is an equestrian center and I arrived just in time to see the junior riders all lined up to finish their lesson. A beautifully ornate riding arena hidden right here in the city.


Whatever BBQ at the Holiday Markt…THIS is where magic happens.


Getting ready to ride…and dressing to match your horse.  I can get into this equestrian “matchy” chic!

Feet a bit tired after many days of exploring I headed upstairs to the cafe for a sit and a refreshment (don’t worry…I didn’t order more Glûhwein).


NOW I’m feeling some holiday spirit! Gorgeous! Warm! Glowing!  THAT’s my kind of Christmas scene. I popped out to the terrace and enjoyed the traditional Fresh Mint Thee (oh how I LOVE this stuff) while watching the informal equestrian show.






FUN!! Dear Santa…can I have a horse…

Still on an Amsterdam Kerstmarkt mission, I headed to De Hallen Local Goods Market.



This Markt was full of holiday hustle and bustle! Shoppers on the move and Christmas magic from some local musicians (and waffle vendor…keep walking, Melissa!).


My favorite Markt so far! Ask my credit card bill! I can’t tell you what I got yet because my sister is getting a GREAT gift from a local artist. SO excited!! Maybe the guy in the brown coat was as tired as me? Or was thinking about his credit card bill…

We should talk about the food hall at De Hallen…UHM….LOVE!


It was beyond crowded and noisy on this busy day so I didn’t last long, but I’ll be back and I’ll share some goodies with you soon! What do they call foodies in Dutch? According to Google Translate, a Bourgondiër. Well, doesn’t that sound much more sophisticated???

OK…I’m still going…I think Saturday was the longest day ever! Now I’m getting why I was a bit tired on Sunday!

Depart De Hallen for WesterGasfabriek and De NeighborFood Markt..where I didn’t buy or eat anything! Clearly I was tired…


I did pop into Amsterdam Flavours, a new store and food venue event space.  I has a lovely conversation with one of the partners in the space who is a furniture designer.  His mom is one of the chef’s. Beautiful! Inspiring! I want to move here so I can go to pop up dinners here, take food styling classes, food photography classes…ANYTHING!! You’ll have to visit the website for pics.  I was too busy chatting to shoot any. #FoodiesUnite #PassionateDreamers #FlavorFlirt

Still going, I had a 7:30p dinner reservation over near Amsterdam Centraal at &samhoud Places. The Holiday Lights around the station were a beautiful start to my first dinner out.





I’d read about &samhoud Places restaurant and wanted to try it. There are two concepts Places, a pricey Michelin star restaurant and Street Food the less expensive bar area. Given my current sabbatical, I went for Street Food.  *sigh*




Of course I chose the Lamb Stew.  DUH! Again, if you didn’t expect this…you clearly don’t follow me on social media! And, you SHOULD!


And, here’s the stew!  WHAT?  This is unlike any stew I ever had.  And it’s NOT in a bowl.  Let me break it down for you…

Lamb, hardboiled eggs thinly sliced, radishes, tomatoes, hummus, and tahini resting on a flaky crust and topped with mint. OK, so this might not have been the stew I was expecting but it had a nice mix of textures. I enjoyed it, but it needed a little something more. I needed and wanted more flavor after a long day on my feet. I loved the space and the restaurant staff were fantastic and ever so friendly! Thanks for an enjoyable evening Street Food!


I was barely upright on Sunday and spent my day in my sneakers with one last Amsterdam Kerstmarkt trip out to Noord. This required a ferry boat fit for people and bikes, which is always fun. It also required a €7 entry fee and special coins for food purchases.

I paid the entry fee, thankful all the other Markts were free, and came out with a lovely Christmas gift for someone I love, thank you Lemon Poppy!

Love Letter To Amsterdam

On the walk over to the Markt venue I took a few pictures of a cool old car that happened to be dressed in Holiday red and has a “Christmas Tree” on its front grill…




And, that is it!  Week 1 roundup of events and sights. In case you wondered, here’s a map of my path and destinations, most of it walking. Oh my feet!  Maybe Santa should bring me some new feet…or more comfortable shoes!  Santa…

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.05.27 AM

It’s Monday morning and I’ve been up since 4 AM thanks to very heavy rains and wind. I think today might call for a day of rest and my art journal and oil pastels. I think I deserve it, don’t you?

Stay tuned for more #LoveLetterToAmsterdam posts and Weekly Roundups. This week, if the weather cooperates, I have plans for Amsterdam Centrum holiday lights, the Light Festival on the canals and Christmas Eve services in a wonderful little church in a “hidden” park that I visit every time I’m in Amsterdam. I was delighted to learn they have an English Christmas Eve service!



Love Letter To Amsterdam

Love Letter To Amsterdam – Passions

December 20, 2015


My Dearest Amsterdam,

Over the last few days I’ve met some amazing people who are passionate about their new businesses! It’s always inspiring to connect with small business owners. Today I met passionate tea producer Edvina, owner of Lemon Poppy.

Love Letter To Amsterdam

DESIGN! What great packaging and design elements on this product.  And, the colors! My favorites!!


I sampled her Çaj Mali tea and it is as delightful as she is. The tea is full of iron and antioxidants so in addition to tasting good, it’s good for you.  Win Win!

Love Letter To Amsterdam


I enjoyed her and her tea so much I bought several boxes to Christmas gift someone I love back in the US.  LUCKY loved one! Check out her website for more on the tea. All you do is pour some water over these beautiful blooms, let steep and drink.

Love Letter To Amsterdam

Tasty, healthy and beautiful. What’s not to love?

Amsterdam, I love you for special gifts and inspiring women the world over who follow their passions!

Love Always,