Over the years Amsterdam became for me a place where I feel like home. This winter, I needed a break from exploring new countries and I headed towards the familiar Amsterdam.
However, once in Amsterdam I made sure to explore new places.
Five minutes from my hotel I found the charming street of Lomanstraat and its Honey Locust trees which are growing towards the light.
A short tram ride away I found the Zevenlandenhuizen (the houses of seven countries). This project was built at the end of the nineteenth century when the Dutch architecture was dominated by the idea of exoticism. Here you will find houses inspired by German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, French and English architecture.
From here I went straight to Grachtengordel for a short stroll. Compared to summer times, in winter, the canals are having more boats and they also reflect better the neighboring houses. I still cannot understand how no matter how many times I walk along the main canals (the Singel, the Herengracht, the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht) I never get bored with them.
And while I was here I made a mandatory stop at Van Wonderen Stroopwafels where I indulged in stroopwafels (obviously!). The moment you enter this shop you are hit by the sweet scent of caramel and the stroopwafels are so tasty. I was lucky enough to be there one early Sunday and I had the entire place to myself.
At this moment I knew I got pretty lucky so I decided to head towards Begijnhof. First time I came here I couldn’t find it, but this time I literally just stumbled in it. The Begijnhof is an enclosed courtyard dating from the early 14th century with the purpose of being a sanctuary for a Catholic sisterhood who lived like nuns. Today the houses in Begijnhof are still occupied by single women, so it is very important to be respectful of their privacy.
And from here I ended in Jordaan district. It in unbelievable how Jordaan was built in 1612, as a district for the working class and emigrants, like protestant Flemings, Spanish and Portuguese Jews and French Huguenots. In the beginning, Jordaan was a poor district but in time it started to attract the attention of artists and students and, once the modernization started, wealthier people. Nowadays the Jordaan is a peaceful place, where people are strolling in narrow streets and small canals and enjoy a break in a pub, boutique or gallery.
From here I started walking towards Sint Olofssteeg which was something I missed the first time around. The reason why I really wanted to find this place is because the corner of Sint Olofssteeg doesn’t have a pedestrian street around it which creates the illusion of the buildings seemingly floating on the water.
Since I was very close by, I decided to explore a bit more Amsterdam’s Red District and to stroll alongside the Kloveniersburgwal canal until I reached the Flower Market where I stopped for a mandatory dinner.
And that was it – this visit to Amsterdam was short but sweet and it only left me craving more.