A Workshop Tour of Europe: Amsterdam

Amsterdam was everything I hoped it would be. As soon as Joel suggested we go to Amsterdam between our Stockholm and Berlin workshops, my mind was made up. It was Holland or bust from that point on.

We arrived late in the afternoon, exhausted from traveling and stressed about the last workshop still ahead of us. We had booked a hotel, or more accurately, “boatel”, outside of the main center of Amsterdam, and I just wanted to lay down and sleep forever. After some ferry confusion and riding across the river one too many times, we found the right ferry that would take us to our home for the next few days. It was literally a boat hotel–what looked like a small cruise ship perched on the water across from a mostly submerged submarine. I was so excited. It’s still one of the coolest places I’ve ever stayed on my travels.

IMG_6747

IMG_3016EditIMG_3028Edit

The next day, we went out into the city to explore Amsterdam. I was amazed at the sheer number of bicycles in the city. I mean, I know Amsterdam was known for it’s bike riders, but this was something beyond my expectations. There were literally more bikes than people, and that’s saying something, because the city was packed with tourists.

IMG_3031Edit IMG_3039Edit IMG_3042Edit IMG_3045Edit IMG_3050Edit

Joel had been to Amsterdam previously during the Fifa World Cup Tour, but this was a completely new experience for me, and I was so excited to explore as much as I could. Joel and I are both pretty easy-going travelers, in that we love to take it slow sometimes, but we also like to see as much as we can in the time we have. We ended up walking around the entire city that day, and then some, and it was so perfect.

IMG_3055Edit IMG_3058Edit IMG_3061Edit IMG_3066Edit IMG_3072Edit

Amsterdam is such a lively city, with people everywhere out enjoying the sun, buskers playing all over in the city center, museums and shops around every corner. The beautiful historic buildings were my favorite part, the old blended in with the modern so seamlessly.

IMG_3077Edit IMG_3080Edit IMG_3090Edit IMG_3097Edit IMG_3106Edit IMG_3119Edit IMG_3120Edit IMG_3127Edit IMG_3131Edit IMG_3137Edit

I love love loooooved these buildings! The different colors and styles of the Dutch facades, built centuries ago and still standing strong after all this time, were a sight to see–and so easy to photograph.

IMG_3145Edit IMG_3147Edit IMG_3149Edit IMG_3152Edit

We made friends with a lot of animals around the city. Cats and dogs roamed free wherever we looked, and we would stop to pet them for a few minutes and then continue on our way.

IMG_3155Edit IMG_3159Edit  IMG_3166Edit IMG_3172Edit IMG_3169EditIMG_3177Edit IMG_3180Edit IMG_3183Edit IMG_3190Edit IMG_3194Edit

Joel and I spent the afternoon explore vintage and thrift shops in Amsterdam. There were so many, and all of them held so many treasures. We wanted to take everything we found home with us.

IMG_3196Edit

IMG_3200Edit IMG_3205Edit IMG_3210Edit IMG_3211Edit IMG_3219Edit IMG_3221Edit

The Anne Frank statue, which for some reason turned out rather out-of-focus. :\

IMG_3222Edit IMG_3226Edit

These little pastries were called Poffertjes and they were delicious. I ate them all in less than 10 minutes. Call me whatever you want, I’m sure you would have done the same.

IMG_3229Edit IMG_3232Edit IMG_3236Edit IMG_3242Edit IMG_3243Edit IMG_3244Edit IMG_3257Edit IMG_3277Edit IMG_3283Edit IMG_3298Edit IMG_3309Edit IMG_3314Edit IMG_3317Edit IMG_3328Edit IMG_3330Edit IMG_3332Edit IMG_3334Edit IMG_3336Edit

Ah, Amsterdam you perfect place.

The next day we woke up to a rainy day, and that didn’t slow me down for a second. I went out into the city on my own while Joel had a business call, and I spent the morning exploring the misty city on my own. I had plans to meet for coffee with a friend–a crazy talented brander, writer and photographer named Christian Watson. Many of you might know him on Instagram as @1924us, and you can find his website here. We had picked a cozy shop called Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters, which felt even homier in the rain.

IMG_3344Edit IMG_3354EditIMG_3343EditIMG_3342Edit2IMG_3346Edit

Christian and I hit it off immediately. He is known for being a little bit sarcastic, a little bit blunt on social media, and I expected nothing less from him in person. He was funny and vulgar and also incredibly kind, and I was happy to have made a new friend in him. We exchanged stories for what must have been several hours, and then we parted ways.

It’s always fun to meet people from social media, because you get a much more authentic view of them as a person than you do from their photos or words. I was really happy to have met this one in particular.

IMG_3348EditIMG_3357Edit   IMG_3363Edit IMG_3365Edit

P.S. Christian has got a book coming out that you should definitely go buy, full of rad film photos and stories from his travels around the world. I got one, so you should too. Here’s the link. IMG_3366Edit

Our last day in Amsterdam was just what we needed. No pressure, no responsibilities, just a chance to relax and see the city through someone else’s eyes.

IMG_3369Edit IMG_3372Edit IMG_3378Edit IMG_3381Edit IMG_3383Edit IMG_3385Edit IMG_3387Edit IMG_3390Edit   IMG_3396Edit IMG_3398EditIMG_3393Edit

Right next to the Anne Frank House, there is a giant church which was the former resting place of 17th century Dutch artist Rembrandt Van Ryn. His body no longer rests there, for his remains were moved and destroyed sometime in the late 1600’s, as was customary for the poor folk of the city in the past. I was excited just to be there, even though I was sad it was no longer where one of my favorite artists was buried.

It was the strangest thing though in that church. People were painting and selling their wares inside of the church, something I had never seen before. Modern music played through the loudspeakers, and people talked at a normal decible. It was a much different, much less reverent place than any other church I had been into in Europe.

IMG_3401Edit IMG_3407Edit IMG_3411Edit

We met up with our Dutch friend Noukka Signe, who lives outside of Amsterdam and came into the city to spend the day with us. I had been dying to meet her for years, as we had followed each other on Flickr several years ago, and had always encouraged and supported each other’s work ever since. She was even more amazing in person than I had hoped, and she took us to some of her favorite places in Amsterdam! It felt like we were reuniting, like we had always been friends, and I adored her immediately. Check out her beautiful work here.

IMG_3416Edit IMG_3422Edit IMG_3434Edit IMG_3442Edit IMG_3447Edit IMG_3451Edit IMG_3454Edit

We walked all over the city, through its beautiful parks, bookshops, and bridges. Noukka told us facts about the city, about her life, and about her photography.

IMG_3468Edit IMG_3482Edit IMG_3492Edit IMG_3494Edit IMG_3504EditIMG_3429EditIMG_3433Edit

Joel, Noukka, and I spent the entire day walking around the city and seeing it through her eyes, and I gained such a strong appreciation for this beautiful town of bikes, canals and history. Noukka was the perfect tour guide for us, and I was sad to say goodbye to her at the end of the day.

IMG_3507Edit IMG_3512Edit

At last Joel and I headed back to our boatel, and we were greeted with the most beautiful sunset over the ships on the harbor. We grabbed our cameras and took photos for a while, then just stood and watched the colors change over the city while music played from the restaurants below us. Our time in Amsterdam couldn’t have come to a more perfect end.

IMG_3521Edit IMG_3527Edit

Next, our journey took us to Berlin, and that will come in another blog post, so stay tuned! 🙂

2 thoughts on “A Workshop Tour of Europe: Amsterdam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: