Bits & Pieces – Kristina edition

Let’s be honest, haven’t most of these been Kristina editions?  She’s a pretty good pick-me-up.

I feel run down today. Neither my head or my heart are in school any longer. How do people survive grad school?? Masochists, the lot of them. I just want to be done and move onto the nightmare of facing my student debt (this statement is going to come back to haunt me, I know that).

My 30th birthday will be here before my undergrad diploma and no matter how many times people tell me “it’s just a number” or “you’re almost there,” I feel disheartened and wish I had started my post-secondary career a bit sooner. But I find it helps to look at these pictures and remind myself that I wouldn’t have met most of the most important people in my life had I followed a different timeline.

Kristina highlights:
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset
February 22, 2105 – at the Hortus Botanicus. 

IMG_3237

IMG_3197
oh boy, was I sick here? allergies maybe? those are some dark circles. 

IMG_3159

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
a case against light denim and wet bike seats.
Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 preset
attentive bar staff.

Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 preset

 

February neighbourhood highlights:

They can’t ALL be KPax.

IMG_3233
amsterdam’s second best slice of apple pie.
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
best/most dangerous reading nook.
Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 preset
local celebrity.
IMG_3265
My “office” at two for joy. I need to find myself a study joint in Vancouver! recommendations welcome.
IMG_3032
i’m agitated just looking at this! i do not have the thrifting gene. 
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
lovely lucinda. 

Ah, writing this has cheered me up a little.

Speaking of writing, my editorial internship at Western Living is going very well.  I’ll pull together a full portfolio, including print stuff once I’m done at the end of March, but in the meantime here is what I’ve been working on for the web!

 

 

Bits & Pieces – Kristina edition

This day last year: February 8

Happy Family Day, fellow BC residents! In an effort to remember how truly spectacular 2015 was, I’ll be checking in every once and a while to see what I was up to this time last year.

February 8, 2015 marked the beginning of two important friendships.

I bought this little beauty:

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset
The Spruce Goose! RIP. 

And re-connected with this little devil:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Troublemaker extraordinaire.

Oh, 2015 Sally. I wish I could warn you just how ineffectual the brakes on your new bike are, but you’ll figure it out quickly.

Tot ziens for now!

This day last year: February 8

A brief hello from Stockholm.

I’ve been to 6 countries in the last 55 days and have struggled to find the time to sit down and write. Mostly because I’ve been in or on planes/trains/cars/beaches/mountains/pubs rather than in cafes, but also because it is difficult to reckon with the fact that my six months are rapidly coming to an end and I’ll be home in ten days. There is more to come, though I suspect it will be written from memory in my Vancouver apartment. In the meantime, here is a link to my Instagram account, which I have been much better at keeping up to date with my adventures.

(…please excuse any mild cursing or impolite content…)

Swinging in Ljusterö.
Swinging in Ljusterö.

See you soon, Canada ❤️

A brief hello from Stockholm.

Going Up The Country

On Monday, after spending the morning staring at a computer screen in my room, I decided I needed to get out of the house and find some nature. This is somewhat difficult in a country made almost entirely of land reclaimed from the sea, but I figured as long as I wasn’t surrounded by brick, I’d be happy. With this song firmly embedded in my head and a map on my phone, I rallied my fellow Canadian, Beth, and we headed for the ferry terminal.

Route to Waterland
Route to Waterland

The website Awesome Amsterdam is an excellent resource for places to go and things to see over here, including easy day trips on your bike, like this one to Waterland! The ferries in Amsterdam are free and most of the routes take less than 5 minutes crossing. Cars aren’t allowed, with the exception of these tiny lawnmower engine ones.

I think this dog weighed as much as the car
I think this dog weighed as much as the car

Within about 20 minutes of biking away from the terminal, we were in farmland. It was warm, breezy, quiet and green, green, green.

The open road
The open road
Navigator Beth
Navigator Beth, looking at cows
Surprise around the corner...
Surprise around the corner…

City girls that we are, we stopped for a while to squeal over a field full of lambs. Did you know that they won’t come when they’re called? It’s almost like they don’t care that I want to touch them. While I was busy taking photos, Beth noticed that the farmer was yelling something at us in Dutch, which I assumed meant “stop bothering my animals”, but we quickly found out was actually “there are smaller ones in here!” Going against everything our parents ever taught us about talking to strangers, we raced inside and met two tiny newborn lambs 😍

Protective mama
Protective mama
Born that morning!
Born that morning!

Floating on a baby animal endorphin rush, we said goodbye and continued on our way.

No filter! The light was really this good!
No filter! The light was really this good!
The Russian nesting doll of houses
The Russian nesting doll of houses

We had planned to take a different route home, rather than retracing our steps, but the tiny ferry google maps directed us to in Holysloot (😂) only runs in the peak of summer. By this time it was nearing dusk and the clouds of bugs were wearing on our thin city-mouse nerves. We gritted our teeth and headed back the way we came, only allowing ourselves another ten stops for animals and picturesque landscapes. So disciplined.

IMG_5400

Golden beauties
Golden beauties

It was such a beautiful, refreshing way to spend the day, especially since May 4 is Dodenherdenking or Dutch Remembrance Day, which “commemorates all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II.” I won the lottery in life as far as peace and freedom are concerned, and it felt appropriate to celebrate that by getting out into the world.

The city holds a huge ceremony in Dam Square every year right outside the Royal Palace. The entire square is packed with people, the Royal Family comes, haunting songs are sung, speeches are made, wreaths are laid; it’s really quite something. At 8:00 sharp, right as the church bells ring, there are two minutes of silence. The experience of standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people in Dam Square, which is usually teeming with noisy tourists, and being able to hear the wings of a single pigeon sent chills through my body.

The day after Remembrance Day in the Netherlands is Liberation Day, which celebrates the end of the Nazi occupation and is basically one big party. Such a great contrast!

Alright. Time for me to get to work and do some reading. Less than a month of classes left!!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Possible next daytrip: Amsterdamse Bos

Going Up The Country

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Several weeks ago, while my parents were visiting, we trekked our way to the airport and then onto a bus that took us to the world renowned Keukenhof Gardens. Granted, it was a cold, windy day and it was a bit too early in the season to see the fields in all their glory, but the three of us left a bit disappointed.

Lone strip of blooms.
Lone strip of blooms in the distance.

The flowers in the garden itself were beautiful, and the varieties of tulips were very impressive, but it just felt very sterile and touristy. I wanted a redo. I wanted to be blinded by colour. I wanted to see with my own two eyes what I’d seen on a million postcards. But I had no idea where to go, since the fields are not in the city. Luckily I’m an excellent google-er, and within mere minutes of this bee entering my bonnet, I found a website dedicated to Holland Cycling!  Go figure.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 1.57.45 PM
Click through for link to full route instructions!

On April 23, I rounded up a gaggle of some of my favourite international ladies and we hopped a train to Voorhout, via Haarlem. According to the route plotted out above, the 38km loop can be done in 2.5 hours. I have no idea if this is true. We got lost a few times, took pictures at nearly every field we saw (each one was a different colour combo, how could we not??) and stopped for a 5-star picnic lunch along the way. It was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of my trip so far.

A word of warning for anyone planning to try this for themselves, the numbered path markers on the Bloemen Route don’t go in numerical order and the signs are not always easy to spot. In the end, we were on the road for 4+ hours and only covered about 1/3 of the route. Thank you again, Beth, for taking over navigation… I regret nothing.

We saw this little guy before we saw any flowers. A good omen.
We saw this little guy before we even saw any flowers. A good omen.
Proud representatives of Canada, Sweden, Denmark and Australia.
Proud representatives of Canada, Sweden, Denmark and Australia.
Can anyone identify these? They smelled wonderful.
Can anyone identify these? They smelled wonderful. *Editor’s note! They are a fancy daffodil called “Cheerfulness” known for their very fragrant blooms. Mystery solved!
IMG_4928
Breathtaking.
Fisheye photo by Beth McIntyre.
Fisheye photo by Beth McIntyre.
Shutterbugs on the loose. Photo by Line Kvartborg Vestergaard.
Shutterbugs on the loose. Photo by Line Kvartborg Vestergaard.
Picnic extravaganza!
Picnic extravaganza!
This was where my film camera died 😞
This was where my film camera died 😞
Photo by Beth McIntyre
Photo by Beth McIntyre
Photo by Beth McIntyre
Photo by Beth McIntyre
Smell-o-vision required. Photo by Lucinda Bourke.
Smell-o-vision required. Photo by Lucinda Bourke.

As an end to a perfect day, we stopped for dinner in Haarlem on the way home, where we found what I assume is the world’s scariest ferris wheel. The cages spun! I loved it.

😬😆😃
😬😆😃
Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Half way.

Yesterday was the three month anniversary of my arrival in Amsterdam, which, sadly, means that in that amount of time again I will be back in Vancouver. I love Vancouver and will be happy to see oceans and mountains again, but oh my God will I miss it here.

I have about a million pictures to share from the last week alone, which I will start posting tomorrow, but for now check THIS out: hands free.

Now to improve my punching form…


Video by the very talented Beth MacIntyre. Check out her #wherethefisbeth video series on instagram!!

Half way.

Solo Adventures: Museum Van Loon

I was thinking this morning that I hadn’t done anything particularly Amsterdam-y in a while, so I decided to put my Museumkaart to good use and and check out the Museum Van Loon. It is in an old canal house on Keizergracht that was built in 1672 and then bought as a wedding present (hint hint, parents! one day 😉) for the Van Loon’s, co-founders of the Dutch East India Company, in 1884. It’s rather spectacular. Turns out colonizing the world helps pay for some really beautiful upholstery.

As someone with a serious impulse to snoop and touch things that don’t belong to me, I loved it. There weren’t many other people around, so I had the chance to be in each of the 10 rooms by myself for a bit. I didn’t sit on any of the chairs or beds (because they had strings blocking my way. Rude.) but I couldn’t resist opening a cupboard or two when the hinges cooperated. It was just all so neat and beautifully maintained; it felt like the owners could stride in any second and make me feel horribly lower class. What more could I ask?

The Red Drawing Room
The Red Drawing Room

Continue reading “Solo Adventures: Museum Van Loon”

Solo Adventures: Museum Van Loon