I was surprised at how much I ended up loving Amsterdam.

And no, not for all the reasons people love to tease about Amsterdam. :-)

The architecture is stunning in an entirely different way from Paris. Who would have thought black buildings would be so beautiful? Especially in its more northern climate, and the gray cold day we were there, the city is breathtaking in its monochrome simplicity.

The row houses form these neat little lines, but each has a bit of character on its own, while all share a rather straightforward facade — much less ornament than we saw in Belgium, Paris, London or Italy.

Since we had such little time, we took a tour with Sandeman’s New Amsterdam Tours and had Ged as our tour guide. It’s advertised as a “free tour” but it’s actually more of a “pay what you can” scenario. I have to say, we were more than pleasantly surprised — it was a fabulous tour. Ged was an upbeat, interesting, and knowledgeable tour guide. I highly recommend it!

Houseboats and bicycles line the canals. It’s funny how this city of canals feels entirely different from a city like Venice. I did a little research, and it seems that Amsterdam’s canal rings were more planned than those of Venice — a few centuries ago, they systematically laid them out. I think Venice is more just what happens over time when there isn’t a lot of planning to it. Both have their place, but the designer in me quite loved the neatness of Amsterdam.

I kept wondering what those hooks were about. Apparently, they built their houses so narrow that getting furniture and other goods up the stairs was pretty impossible. So, they all have these hooks on the top to allow them to use a pulley system to bring items in through the windows.

I was delighted with this little sign…

..and with this awesome motorcycle…

…and this ingenious method for transporting kids and groceries.

We were only there for the day, and ended it with a train ride back to Paris which took a little under three hours if memory serves correctly. I am so glad we made the detour trip to check out a few other places because it’s pretty incredible how, only a couple hours’ train ride away, it’s an entirely different world. Even though the States have regional differences and nuances from state to state, it’s definitely not as drastic as what you find in Europe.

And on the subject of travel, hop over to Dannielle’s blog…she is embarking on a whirlwind six week tour of the US which will bring her to Charleston in early February. I am so excited to meet a fellow blogger in person and to follow along as she discovers the USA!

happy tuesday, lovelies!


  1. SeaStarArts says:

    wow! I really need to go… looks amazing! and I so cannot wait for Dannielle to get here!

  2. Newlifeinspain.com says:

    I absolutely love Amsterdam too. The architecture and the canals, so charming! Gorgeous photos!

    Funny how you noticed the hooks, I have a friend living there, and when I visited her the first time I was completely fascinated by the narrowness of the whole house she was living in. It was 4 floors high, but so narrow that only 2 rooms (kitchen+bedroom, livingroom+bedroom, bedroom+bathroom etc.) fitted per floor.

    And it’s such a good point that Europe is extremely diverse. It changes so much from country to country. Norway for instance is nothing like Spain(or most other European countries for that matter), and that goes for geography, climate, architecture, culture, people etc. etc..

    • I wish I had gotten to go in one of the houses! Coming from the US, they seemed so teeny and different!

  3. This looks like it was amazing! I never made it to Amsterdam when I was in Europe, I must get back there one day!

    And thank you so much for the shout out!! Can’t wait to see you in Charleston! :)

  4. Oh my goodness it looks so beautiful. I’ve never had a want to go to Amsterdam but now… I sort of do!

  5. Oh Amsterdam! We had a blast there when I went on our European trip. They have 24 hour bakeries that sell the most delicious pastries. We also went to the Van Gogh museum and a couple others. Beautiful photos!