Love List

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I AMsterdam

I thought it would be good to go off topic and share with you some travel photography from my one-day road trip from Paris to Amsterdam.

They all say Amsterdam is a postcard city with canals running through the entire city joint by bridges and dotted with whimsical boats. You'll see the iconic windmills and tulips, not to mention the many well-decorated bicycles parked along the streets with small art deco-like apartments squeezed like lego blocks. Well, part of that are all true, but to my eyes, no city in the world beats Paris on historical architecture and cultural sights. I enjoyed Amsterdam all the same, despite the main attractions all within walking distance of each other. Despite being the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam felt like a rather small town, especially seeing how the locals ride bikes everywhere they go, and the small apartments dotting the streets.

Old church at the end of the canal
Tulip chairs outside a cafe
I bet nearly every family owns a small rowboat

Lovebirds kissing in the sun

Finally an outfit post for my stay in Europe. I don't have my girl Kristie there with me to take outfit photos with the right mood during my stay there, which was a real pity. Surprisingly, it is kind of easier to dress out from a suitcase than from a wardrobe full of clothes because you have much lesser choice and you don't have to rummage for 15mins in your pile of clothes before finding something you deem fit. Plus, you are literally forced to think up of many more different ways to dress and give the same top or bottom longer mileage.

Picked this NafNaf denim corset up at half price from is Naf Naf Stock store along Rue d'Alesia where I stay with my uncle and was at a loss on how to wear it till I spotted the hot pink Zara skirt. I have a funny habit of buying new clothes to serve the ones which I have already just bought. Do you do that too?

Wearing NafNaf denim corset, Zara pleat skirt, Topshop knit shrug, Converse sneakers

Bloemenmarkt is the world's only floating flower market and it is situated atop Singel canal. Florists there sell all kinds of amazing flowers such as orchids, cactuses, sunflowers, hibiscus and even carnivorous plants! A real pity that it wasn't tulip season when I went there so there were no tulips on sale. But tulip bulbs were available cheaply in many different varieties. I had no idea they were so huge - they look like onion bulbs to me.

Amsterdam is also full of interesting boutiques - there are many interesting vintage clothing shops selling high quality leather bags in good condition, as well as multi-label boutiques. I even visited a bookstore selling books solely on fashion photography and art - absolute heaven. They stock the huge coffeetable books of Juergen Teller, Helmut Newton and Terry Richardson, to name a few.

I also visited the original Anne Frank house, where she hid in the Secret Annexe for 2 years during the war to avoid being captured by the Nazis and be deported to Jewish concentration camps. Anne Frank was, and still is, a hero from my childhood. I read her diary when I was 12 years old, and have subsequently moved on a reading 2-3 other non-fiction books on Jews during WWII and their memoirs in concentration camps. To me, she represents a young girl yearning to be free - she spoke of soaking up the sun, feeling the breeze and the fresh air, to laugh, to spin and to have fun living life freely. She was unafraid to be a Jew, even proud to be one, even though it had chained her to her hiding place which she deemed as a prison. Unfortunately, their hiding place was eventually betrayed and Anne, as well as the other 7 occupants of the Secret Annexe died in the concentration camps. Only her father, Otto Frank, survived to eventually publish her diary post-war.

The next time, I'll go to Amsterdam during April/May to see the vast tulip fields of my dreams.

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