Just two weeks after our trip to Stockholm, we set off again, this time to Amsterdam. Last time we were in Amsterdam was this time last year, so we were not expecting much to change. Some things had changed though.
Nutella is taking over the city - stacks of them are to be seen everywhere. It's like a madness.
The other thing that has changed is that in the space of a year most bridges now have lovers' locks - some in the weirdest places. It feels like now that the locks have been removed from the Pont Neuf in Paris, the people of Amsterdam have to make up for it.
Otherwise, not much has changed. We stayed in the same Art Deco hotel, an old cinema that has been converted into a hotel
The Three Graces on the top balcony of this building
are one of the very first things we would see every morning.
This is the heart of Amsterdam, its medieval core which is remarkably well preserved. The overall layout has changed little since the 17th century.
The Art Deco Grand Hotel on the left hand side of this picture
and the canals as mysterious as ever.
This is Café de Doelen opposite Staalmeesters another café/restaurant where we occasionally have an evening meal, sitting outside if possible, which is what we did on the evening that the photograph was taken
It's situated in a quiet street that has some very interesting shops
including Droog, a cutting-edge design shop
and this bridge
which, if I remember rightly, Van Gogh painted
This is the district where the University is
parts of it are busy
but on the whole it's very quiet here
and a real pleasure, walking here at night
The Dutch seem to have an aversion to drawing their curtains shut
which gives us the opportunity to have a look inside their houses as we walk along
it's all so very lovely.
Dam square is very near our hotel. This is De Bijenkorf, a large department store
De Niuewe Kerk, the new church, even though it isn't that new anymore
the Amsterdam Museum, with plaques on the wall
These date back to the Middle Ages when many people couldn't read, and used the plaques to identify the name or profession of the owner. Over 650 plaques have been preserved throughout Amsterdam
the museum's inner courtyard
another courtyard where the café is situated.
This is a White Bike, and this is what the notice says: 'People of Amsterdam! The asphalt terror of the motorised bourgeoisie has lasted long enough! The white bicycle scheme is the most famous Provo plan of all. The objective is to drive out the city's 'monstrous, polluting cars'. The plan is: thousands of white bikes without locks in the city. Anyone can use them and leave them wherever they like. In July 1965 the first bikes are painted white. The police impound them immediately'.
this is one of the oldest districts of the city
and parts of it are very beautiful.
The Oude Kerk is here, the oldest church and oldest building in the city
and the area around it is busy but calm
lots of bars and restaurants all around
and some sculpture
This is Majoor Bosshardt. Alda Margaretha Bosshardt was an officer of the Salvation Army who offered help to the homeless, people struggling with addictions and sex workers in and around the red light district. She was knighted in 1966 and in 2009, two years after her death, she was elected 'Greatest Amsterdammer of All Time'.
It was early evening when I took these photographs
and the tops of the buildings turned golden from the setting sun.
Finally, some more plaques on the side of this café.