Going Dutch: Amsterdam, Netherlands

During our recent trip last September, we swapped Heineken for craft beer, skipped the Red Light District and coffeeshops, and didn’t just go to one, but four(!), museums. Fair warning: this post is a long one, but it’s compensated with lots of pictures! This Venice of the North is just so gosh-dern photogenic. Read on for Amsterdam, revisited.

The Lake of Many Colors

Summer afternoons, it seems the shades of blue are undecided, too lovely for nature to choose just one. The sky and the sun compromise, picking a new blue each day: turquoise, robin’s egg, canary, the deepest of navy, the lightest of aquamarine, sometimes a solid hue, mostly blended, always radiant. It shimmers and it beckons. Coyly, almost suggestively.

Learning German from Bulgarians

The first class was rough. Actually, rough is putting it lightly. The first class was a train-wreck. Even though I’d been in Zurich for six months - and I’m embarrassed to admit this - I hadn’t picked up any bit of the language at all. Not Swiss German, and definitely not hochdeutsch.

Ice Skating on Oeschinensee

But then, on the first Thursday night of the year, I came across something that seemed too unique to pass up - ice-skating on Oeschinensee. That is, ice-skating on deep-blue-turned-black-ice frozen lake nestled high up in the Bernese Oberland mountain range. And the closing argument: ice-skating on a frozen lake up in the mountains that’s only possible when weather conditions are exactly right. Cold enough to fully freeze the water, but without snowfall to cover the lake’s surface. It could last a few days, a few weeks, or simply never freeze over for nearly two decades. The magic only lasts as long as the snow doesn’t fall and the ice doesn’t melt. And right now, Lake Oeschinensee was the ultimate natural ice skating rink for just a few more days, until the forecasted big snowfall on the upcoming Sunday. Doubt of winter sports be damned, we were going ice skating.