Sunshine Strolls

Last week, I went on a wonderful, long walk through Amsterdam on a warm, cloudless day, a rarity here in these cold, rainy months! Walking all the way from one train station to another, I could enjoy the hot sunshine to its full benefit and discover some new canals and streets in Amsterdam that I had never seen before.

Walking from Amsterdam Sloterdijk to Amsterdam Centraal was quite a feat, covering several kilometres, made especially harder when having to manoeuvre through the many canals in the centre of Amsterdam. It definitely paid off though! We passed a beautiful park called ‘Westerpark’ at the start of the walk, filled with birds, fountains, and blooming flowers.

IMG_8634IMG_8635

The sunshine made for some beautiful photographs of the canals, standing atop the many bridges connecting the streets together.

IMG_8679

A view from atop a bridge over a picturesque canal

IMG_8663

A side view of one of the many canals in Amsterdam

IMG_8654

Two pigeons sunbathing

IMG_8673

One of Amsterdam’s many beautiful canals

IMG_8708

Another canal in the centre of Amsterdam

IMG_8727

In Dam Square

IMG_8692

Close to the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam

IMG_8743

A beautiful view next to Amsterdam Centraal Station

Have a wonderful week!

Discovering Delft

A visit to Delft on a grey and rainy day last week had me wishing for spring to arrive even more than usual. Delft is a stunningly beautiful little city, just ten minutes away from The Hague by train. Filled with dozens of picturesque canals, quaint stores and lots of royal history, it’s always a fun visit, even on a grey day.

IMG_8452 (2)

The City Hall

IMG_8454 (2)

Nieuwe Kerk (‘New Church’)

IMG_8482 (2)

The blue heart of Delft, representing Delft’s expertise in fine blue china

Since it was quite rainy outside, I decided to venture into the Nieuwe Kerk to see the resting place of the royal family and some stunning stained glass windows. Unfortunately, since the church is under construction, I wasn’t able to visit the tower, but will definitely be coming back next month to try again!

Spring is starting to appear finally in The Hague, so I can’t wait to start exploring in the warmer weather and enjoy the flowers and leaves starting to spring up all over town.

IMG_8560 (2)

One of the many Delft canals, showing the way to the leaning tower of the Oude Kerk ‘Old Church’

IMG_8567 (2)

One of the many architecturally stunning old buildings to be seen in Delft

The Hague By Night

The Hague is a stunning city by night, with a thousand beautiful lights and illuminated buildings. Walking around by ‘Het Plein’ or near the Parliament buildings provides for a wonderful view, no matter the season or weather. On a blustering cold and windy night, a walk through the city centre led to some wonderful photos.

img_8384

Looking up at the huge Mondriaan mural on the outside of the City Hall (‘Stadhuis’).

img_8388img_8390

The beautiful twinkling lights lining the outskirts of a square in the city. This area is known as ‘Het Plein’ in The Hague, and is a wonderful area surrounded by historic buildings, museums and a number of great restaurants and bars.

img_8397img_8430img_8438img_8443

Despite the intense wind, this was a lovely road taken through the city, especially to look at it from a different angle. Seeing The Hague by night never fails to amaze me – it is so beautiful in its own way.

Snow in The Hague

Against all odds, it finally snowed in The Hague this weekend! This was quite an unexpected treat, as it’s already February, and there hadn’t been much snow in recent months. If it did snow, it melted too quickly to be enjoyed. So when it did snow this past Saturday, I – along with many other city dwellers – took this opportunity to enjoy the unexpected winter wonderland that our city turned into!

img_8312

The Hague doesn’t usually get much snow, as it’s too close to the sea and never truly gets cold enough for snow to remain on the ground. If anything, residents of The Hague will get icy sleet, accompanied by enough blustering winds and grey skies to keep us from enjoying the winter season much.

img_8301img_8304img_8297img_8314

As someone who comes from hot temperatures and island life, snow remains a wondrous thing to be seen. I was incredibly excited (as seen below), as this was the first time I could actually touch snow without it melting away!

img-20170211-wa0008

Have a wonderful week!

Chinese New Year

The Hague city centre took on a whole new personality this past Saturday, with the Chinese New Year being celebrated right in the heart of China Town. Hundreds of people were able to celebrate and take part in the festivities, peruse street stalls filled with food and clothing and masks, and watch dragon dances and firecrackers being lit in the middle of the road.

The streets were chaotic, to say the least, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing dragon dances for the first time. Capturing them in a photograph was extremely difficult, given the crowds, but the atmosphere was electric with the brightly coloured dragons and the hammering of the drums and cymbals.

The centre of China Town was fully repurposed to make way for the parade of dragon dancers, accompanied by their drums and firecrackers. Some of the main roads were transformed into piles of firecracker paper, with the sound of them being heard every quarter of an hour.

img_8247

The main street in China Town covered in smoke after a round of firecrackers.

Winter Walks

It’s the middle of winter here in The Hague, and while there hasn’t been much snow, it has been quite chilly and icy on the streets. Winter weather can be painful – especially when it gives you a cold – but when the sun is shining outside, walking around the city can be just as pleasant as it is during the summer.

Stepping outside this past weekend was one of those lucky pleasant days – the sun was shining, there was an antique and books market in the centre, and plenty of people walking around taking advantage of the weather. Europeans always know how to appreciate good weather!

I went walking around ‘Het Binnenhof’, or the Inner Court, the centre for Dutch politics. The Dutch parliament meets here, and the buildings also house the office of the Prime Minister and the House of Representatives. This area is a gorgeous, peaceful location – the courtyard is a massive open space for the public to walk through, and just outside the walls of the courtyard lies several restaurants and the shopping centre on one side, and the famous Mauritshuis museum on the other side.

img_8042img_8061img_8069img_8074

The buildings both inside and outside this courtyard always give me a very Hogwarts impression, with the tall towers, sloped roofs, and bricked walls.

img_8101img_8103img_8110

Just outside the Binnenhof lies the Hofvijver, a lake nestled among some of the most famous buildings of The Hague. The Hofvijver and its surroundings make for some beautiful pictures, no matter the season or time of day. On this walk, I found some unexpected mushrooms growing on a tree, a graceful addition to the scenery.

Have a lovely week!

Gratitude

My path this year has had its fair share of ups and downs.

img_5599

University life has been amazing, and it’s sad to think that this will be my final year. I’m not particularly ready to let it go just yet. My course has taught me so much, especially with my specialisation, and the friends that I have made and gotten closer to this year have been wonderful.

I’ve travelled to the beautiful city of Vienna and all over The Netherlands, something I’m truly grateful for. Travelling around Europe since I arrived here in 2013 has sparked something in me, and I’m eager to keep travelling in the new year and onwards. I’m excited to not only see more of Europe, but to see the rest of the world – Asia, more of the Middle East… anywhere that life takes me.

I’ve started this blog, which has been a very fulfilling new experience. I love writing, and this has been a great way to start slowly delving into writing publicly and see other people blogging too. I’ve also discovered a love of photography (thanks to my favourite photographer partner in crime), and is something I’m definitely eager to explore further in the new year.

The upcoming year will definitely be the most challenging one of my life yet. I have some major decisions to make – whether to continue my academic education, go through the struggles of finding my first job… Who knows where I will end up this time next year? All I know right now is that I’m ready to make the most of my final six months in university, enjoy my time with my friends, explore even more of the beautiful city I have come to call home, and remain positive for my future.

Happy New Year to everyone!