Sunday, 4 September 2011

i heart amsterdam - de 9 straatjes


Today I'm taking you to Amsterdam, the beautiful capital of the Netherlands. As you may have read on my blog yesterday, we spent the day in the De Negen Straatjes district (The Nine Streets) and its surroundings, in a beautiful sunny weather. Let me explain to you how the district encompasses nine narrow streets that lie between four canals. When you view a basic map of Amsterdam these nine usually look like only three streets south of the Westermarkt and the Raadhuisstraat streets (marked yellow on the Google map to the right). However, with a better map you'll see that the street name changes every time you cross a canal. So, the first line of streets would be: Reestraat, Hartenstraat and Gasthuis Molensteeg. In a line south of these are: Berenstraat, Wolvenstraat and Oude Spiegelstraat. And the last three streets to form a line are: Runstraat, Huidenstraat and Wijde Heisteeg. As you may have noticed, some of these are not shown on the map but you can see where they're located. The four canals (gracht in Dutch) involved are, from west to east: Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal), Keizergracht (Emperor's Canal), Herengracht (Canal of the Lords), and Singel, which is the oldest one and closest to the city centre. The district consists of beautiful old houses and it's a wonderful shopping area, with unique shops, galleries, artisan boutiques, etc. Of course there are also many charming cafés, bars and restaurants. For those who haven't been there, Amsterdam has a rich bicycle culture and the canals are fascinating with cosy houseboats, plus all the small boats and larger ones on the move. The white and blue trams only add to the beauty of the city.


It was our plan to have pancakes at Pancakes! Amsterdam on Berenstraat street no 38 in the De 9 Straatjes (Pia Jane Bijkerk mentions it in her interesting book Amsterdam: Made By Hand) but the place was full so we simply sat down at Mokka next door, a small and friendly café/restaurant. Hubby and our boy got big slices of apple cakes, the girls chose grilled sandwiches, and I got a brootje with salmon – my love for salmon dates back to childhood. After this wonderful refreshment we continued our walk along the Prinsengracht canal enjoying its activity to the fullest.

When we got closer to the Reestraat street my heart literally began beating faster. I saw the green Hotel Pulitzer flags and I was back in 1989, a teenager visiting Amsterdam for the first time with one of my best friends, her mother and brother. We stayed at the Hotel Pulitzer (quite fancy, I know! My friend's mother worked for an airline company and got a good deal) and we simply had the time of our lives. I think we experienced the best things the city has to offer because my friend's mother had been in Amsterdam frequently and she went to lengths to entertain us. This is a trip I'll never ever forget.


If you pass by Westermarkt and continue walking north along the Prinsengracht canal you'll soon find the Anne Frank House. As we've been in Amsterdam before we turned into Westermarkt and found an adorable bakery called Cup a la Cake at no 19. As the name indicates they sell cupcakes, and also muffins, sandwiches and chocolate. I simply had to get their permission to photograph the Chanel cupcakes and of course they allowed me to.


Later this week there will be a part two of this 'I Heart Amsterdam' post because I've got more photographs to share with you. I hope you have enjoyed this 'journey' and are maybe more willing to visit the city if you haven't done so already. De 9 Straatjes is only a small part of Amsterdam but it is a district I hold dear; it's the essence, the heart, of my first memory of Amsterdam.

photo credit: Lisa Hjalt

18 comments:

  1. Prettiful pictures!!! Makes me want to go to Amsterdam! I've only been once, when I was little, so it's on my list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I Heart Amsterdam too!! It is one of my favourite places although I haven`t been there since 1995. Too long. I have good memories of Amsterdam and its people. Thanks for the tour and I can`t wait for Part 2!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful pics!!! visiting A´dam torrow. My favorite stop will be the Noordermarkt, a small market with a lot of vintage stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my god! It feels like I'm in Amsterdam while reading this. I already had fun! The only thing I have to do is plan a trip to go there to experience the real trip. Those chanel cupcakes are gorgeous! I can't wait to see "I heart Amsterdam Part II" =)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would really like to visit Amsterdam - so lovely pictures o) And maybe eat a Coco Chanel cupcake - cool ;o))

    ReplyDelete
  6. i have only been to Amsterdam once and only for a few hours... i will never forget this city! the buildings bending a bit looking at us down there... the bookshops... oh! thank you for reminding me! i heart Amsterdam too : )

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love Amsterdam !!!
    thanks for reminding me about it, I had a great time there :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lisa, thanks so much for taking me back to that wonderful day I had there a couple of weeks ago. Its a gorgeous environment and I love all the small boutiques, shops, galleries and cafes just like you do. It's never boring there. Beautiful photo's too, how good of you to have taken so much photo's in such hot weather. I was tired of my camera very soon walking through a steaming hot Brussel;)
    Good to read you made the best of your day!

    ReplyDelete
  9. These are beautiful photos!!! Looks like your family had a wonderful time. Amsterdam is high on my list of "places I'd like to visit".

    (Pia Jane Bijkerk is one of my favorite photographers!!)

    ReplyDelete
  10. wonderful photos. I haven't been to Amsterdam in ages. and every time I've been it was in a rush, stopping while getting to other places. seeing your pics I so want to go back :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for this journey, Lisa. You show real talent in these travel posts, such a delight to read and to take in the beautiful photography. Can't wait for the other ones too. xo

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm loving this tour of your city; I have never been but it is definitely on my list of places to visit. Your photography is stunning and you have certainly captured the beauty of the city. And those cupcakes look incredible! xx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lovely photos Lisa... Thanks for allowing me to come along on your trip. What a great day! I love the photo of the boats on the canal! and the Cow, love the cow!
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such lovely pictures, everything looks amazing; I so want to go on a vacation after seeing these pictures, I bet you had a great time! You have a lovely blog and I'm a new follower! Hope you'll like my blog and follow back!

    Pop Culture&Fashion Magic

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, wonderful trip! I always have heard very well about Amsterdam and I'm cuorious to know it. I will take note of all of the places you suggest. So cool!

    ReplyDelete
  16. alors là!!!!!!c'est le TOP!!!!!
    merciiiiiii

    ReplyDelete