Travel: Amsterdam (…in winter)

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Justin Hawthorne

You read that correctly…winter! I’m a big fan of ‘off season’ travel, and for Amsterdam it’s no different. Snow, cozy fire place, coffee…not the worst recipe for enjoying a few days in a European city.

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My Favorite shot from Amsterdam.

Walking the freezing streets can only last so long before your nose burns from the cold and your toes start speaking. Thankfully that is the perfect excuse to step inside a coffee shop or detour behind a canal-side bar for a glass of ruby vino.

Amsterdam - Winter Travels (5)

Setting off from the hotel, amused at the little car parked on the sidewalk.

Opening the bedroom window we saw what we had hoped for – snowflakes! That morning, at dawn, we were on the street and walking on freshly snow covered sidewalks – smiling uncontrollably. We had work to do, but took the long way round to get to our coffee shop of choice that morning, Bocca Coffee Roasters.

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Snow covered sidewalks in Amsterdam.

Vondel Park was stunning layered in white. The ponds had thin frozen surface layers and the grass crackled as you stepped across the lawns. dedicated joggers were out for a morning run, steam leaving their bodies as they cruised on by. Cyclists on their morning commute were wrapped up with scarves, woolen hats and gloves and pedestrians moved at a rapid pace, clearly an attempt to generate body heat. We moved slowly – albeit uncomfortably – and took it all in.

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At Vondel Park.

Walking cautiously over little cobbled canal bridges we enjoyed the comical behavior of other early risers who involuntarily ice skated here and there. We did too, all with a nervous smile! A cyclist took a more serious slide as he came flying off his bike, and it what seemed like just a mere second was back on his feet and peddling away from the onlookers. Bocca welcomed us with open arms and we headed to the tucked away corner with a street view. The hot coffee cup on the lips was heaven, as too was the golden liquid on the tongue.

Bocca Coffee Roasters, Amsterdam

Bocca Coffee Roasters.

People watching  from the comfort of the warm buzzing space in between mouse clicks & keyboard tapping had the morning pass by in a flash. We were off, back into the icy air and wandering the grachts to our next stop: The Foodhallen. Grabbing lunch here worked so well. Plenty choice of good food and drink in a vibey venue. More so however is that it lies not far from the coffee masters at Lot Sixty One.

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entering the massive doors at The Foodhallen. 

You guessed it…we wanted to be there. And we did go. And we did enjoy.

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Lot Sixty One.

Sipping on damn good coffee at Lot Sixty One: WINNING! Their coffee is delicious, and the roastery/coffee bar is intimate with that classic, intense smell of roasting beans. A MUST experience to any Amsterdam visitor.

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Lot Sixty One.

 

Had we not been working this day we’d have stopped in at a place of interest such as the Van Gogh or Rijks Museums, which are close together and wedged in between is the ice rink at I Amsterdam sign.

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Outside the Van Gogh Museum.

 

All you need to do is take a look on Instagram right now. Cities such as New York, London and Amsterdam have had recent December snowfalls and social media went nuts. The incredible images coming out of these iconic cities sparked memories of my January experience and got me longing for another travel moment of walking over snow covered sidewalks.

 

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Amsterdam scenes. 

 

It’s cold in winter…good reason to enjoy a bottle of red wine in front of a fire place, or sip on a cortado from the comfort of a warm roastery. Check out my top coffee spots around the city HERE.

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The day before it snowed the temperature was at its worst. We went in search of this canal scene after seeing the image in Instagram. It was so cold here that we needed to run and jump on the spot! 

The inside/outside frequency does mean you’re constantly layering on and off, but that’s where my squash-able down jacket worked a treat. Step inside, jacket stuffed into its pocket bag. Pop onto the street again and simply pull the jacket out its casing – sorted, and hands free.

I was kitted out in K-Way gear which included fleece gloves & hat, rain jacket & the essential, my Siberia Down Jacket. You’ll certainly need warm winter clothing for wandering alongside the canals of Amsterdam when there’s snow lingering.

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Contemplating cracking open the Heineken opposite the Rijks Museum.

 

And on a final note: it’s never too cold for a beer 🙂 

*Check out Greg Hawthorne on Instagram for more from this experience.

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