The Lisbon Feeling

It’s been only two days that I’m back from my holiday in Lisbon, yet I am still not over it. The city has totally charmed me, perhaps even more than on my previous visits.

There is something extremely sensual about Lisbon, it’s like time moves in a different rhythm. It’s the sunlight, the architecture, the colourful façades, the views atop the hilly streets down to the river. Everything about Lisbon is romantic and it almost urges you to slow down, enjoy life, contemplate, and be happy. It’s the Lisbon feeling.

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Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

The Lisbon Feeling

August 33rd

Whoever thinks summer is over is simply wrong. Today is August 33rd!

So I am posting these photos taken in beautiful Frankendael Park just a few weeks ago, hoping that this sumer feeling stays with us.

Have a nice weekend!

Amsterdam, Summer Day
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Amsterdam, Summer DayAmsterdam, Summer Day

August 33rd

Another Day in Amsterdam. Thoughts?

One of my favourite things to do at the end of a working day is to have a drink in the balcony, lounging on the chair and watching the sun go down on Amsterdam East, Java tower somewhere in the distance, and the Amstel towers ever farther away.

To me, this is a perfect moment. The sky turns orange, then it’s pink. The wind stands still. All I can hear is the sound of bikes passing by every now and then, the Flevoparkbad announcing its closing shortly before 8PM – a sound that reminds me of mobile ice cream vendors -, and then the sound of cutlery and plates coming through the open windows, indicating that dinner is ready in the neighbourhood.

Another day gone by in Amsterdam…

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The mornings are just as beautiful, even if that means waking up at 6:30 AM, and still managing to be late for work on a daily basis. As I pass over the numerous bridges on my way to Zuid Station – I switched to Zuid when I’ve had enough of Amsterdam Centraal – I am simply in awe each time I see the sun rising and reflecting in the water, the surface of the canals completely still. Sometimes, after a cold night, steam is coming out of the houseboats. The sun, the water, the steam, and I’m happy.

At the station, people are rushing to catch their train. Sometimes I’m rushing too. But most of the times, when the situation allows, I am taking my time. I love to take my time. Besides, there’s another train in five minutes. Instead of rushing to the platform, I go to the coffee place and get a coffee-to-go. Croissants are freshly baked in the oven and they smell delicious, but I only take coffee. I am having my breakfast at home every day because I am taking my time.

The trains at Zuid Station are less crowded then those at Amsterdam Centraal, so I always get a seat by the window, preferably looking into the sun. I only use my phone to listen to music while commuting, so I don’t need to keep my eyes open when I ride the train in the morning.And, like this, with the sun on my face and the music in my ears, the smell of coffee coming out of the cup I’m holding in my hands, I go to work.

I could be daydreaming if I wanted to – I have some 10 minutes to do that before the train stops – but most of the days I am simply opening myself up to my thoughts. Sometimes, words are coming out of my head, and that’s when I take my phone, open Notes, and write them down. Maybe I’d like to read or use them someday.

“Life feels as if staring at a blank piece of paper sometimes. Where to start?”

“Past feels like fiction. Science fiction.”

“My salvation is beauty.”

“I have a question every time I hold you.” (that’s from a song I was listening to)

“I’m not doing you a favor, I am doing you justice.”

“Despising the ordinary, but fearing the extraordinary.”

“It’s not what you feel, it’s what you decide to feel.”

Another day gone by in Amsterdam.

Another Day in Amsterdam. Thoughts?

I in IJburg

Amsterdam, Eastern Docklands

It doesn’t happen very often that I go to IJburg, and that’s mostly because I don’t have any friends living there. Come think of it, wouldn’t it be nice to have friends living all throughout the city, to have an excuse to leave, every now and then, the comfort of your own neighbourhood?

Luckily, I don’t always need a reason to go and explore various areas of the city. Amsterdam is just so diverse from one neighbourhood to the other, and it’s so easy to travel throughout the city, that all I need is to jump in a tram without any direction in my head, then see where I feel like getting off.

Such spontaneous decision lead us to IJburg last Sunday. We took tram 26 from Central Station and got off 15 minutes later, at the end of the line. We walked to Blijburg and had lunch on their terrace – it felt as is we were at the seaside – watched the windsurfers at the Surf Center, then had some coffee and carrot cake at Espressofabriek, before heading back to the center.

I particularly loved the architectural details of this building in IJburg, so airy and serene, I had to stop and take several photos of it. Waves? Shells? Dunes? Not sure how exactly to describe those dynamic, flowing details, but I have to say they make one of my favourite buildings in Amsterdam. Just take a look! And see just how “in awe” I was when staring at it myself. :)

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Amsterdam, IJburgAmsterdam, IJburg

I in IJburg

KNSM Island, Amsterdam

KNSM Eiland – in spite of all modern architecture and recent developments – still has a prevailing air of old harbour that charms me time after time. That’s mostly because the specific of the area was carefully preserved when the island was repurposed for living in the early 90’s, together with the rest of the Eastern Docklands of Amsterdam.

The absolute revelation of the short trip we took on the KNSM this past Sunday were the artist lofts with a generous water view that you can see in the last photo of this post. What would it feel like to live in one of them? I can only dream. :)

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Amsterdam, Eastern DocklandsAmsterdam, Eastern DocklandsAmsterdam, Eastern Docklands
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KNSM Island, Amsterdam

One Day in Amsterdam East

On Saturday, when the weather was extremely summerish and pleasant, I felt like spending time in the neighbourhood – that is, I didn’t want to adventure to other corners of the city. I somehow always feel like I’m not spending enough time in the East ever since we moved here last Summer.

So we started our day with a walk on my favourite street in the area – the Javastraat. This street is just so charming, particularly on a Saturday morning, when it’s bustling with people of all kinds, out for grocery shopping at one of the many ethnic shops, or simply enjoying a coffee at one of the hip cafes.

Javastraat:Amsterdam, OostAmsterdam, Oost

The place we had in mind for breakfast was Bar Botanique, which recently opened its doors on Eerste van Swindenstraat, on the premises of De Pontaneur, an old bruin cafe definitely closed after 25 years of activity. I must say I’m in love with Bar Botanique’s green, plant inspired interior, and the breakfast we had there was simple and very good.

Bar Botanique:Amsterdam, OostAmsterdam, OostAmsterdam, Oost
Amsterdam, Oost
Amsterdam, Oost

We decided to have coffee elsewhere, so that we can explore even more of the East. So we crossed the Oosterpark on our way to one of our all time favourites in the area.

Amsterdam, Oost

Indeed, I’m talking about Bar Bukowskia landmark of Amsterdam East when it comes to nice places to hang out. And they have good coffee, too!

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On our way back home, we realised we lacked pretty much everything in terms of groceries, so we made a stop in Oostport. We quite like to shop in this area, as it is all lush and green. Some parts of Oostport are so new – like the beautiful houses in the photo below, which did not exist last Summer – it makes me think about how much the East is growing.

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We dropped the groceries at home, but we were not ready to call it a day yet. So we took the blanket, some books, cold drinks from the fridge, and some snacks, and off we were again, this time to Flevopark. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the grass, relaxing, then some friends joined us to make it all even more enjoyable.

Flevopark:Amsterdam, OostAmsterdam, Oost
Amsterdam, Oost

But no stop in Flevopark is ever complete without a beer or a glass of jenever at the Distillery. So tradition was kept on this occasion as well.

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By the time we left Flevopark, the sun was already setting, and we were starving for dinner. A nice surprise was waiting for us on our way home – one of the most beautiful sunsets of this Summer in Amsterdam. A glorious end to a perfect day!

Summer sunset in Amsterdam East:
Amsterdam, Oost

One Day in Amsterdam East

Landmarkt, Between Sunshine and Showers

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When you lived in Amsterdam long enough, it becomes harder and harder to convince yourself to go out in the center or in the trendy neighbourhoods, especially during the weekend. It’s just too busy, and you simply don’t feel like asking for permission – every two minutes or so – to move along the sidewalk or to cross the street. It becomes even more complicated when you feel like eating something, as all the seats are already taken.

Today was one of those days when, soon before lunch, I wanted to go out for a little walk – in spite of the pouring rain – yet I wanted some peace. We also needed to do some grocery shopping, and we were starting to feel hungry for lunch. This is how Landmarkt, the market plus restaurant in Amsterdam Noord, came to mind. It proved to be an excellent idea.

Situated just across the river IJ, as you come from Amsterdam East, Landmark is surrounded by nature  – like you are in the countryside – and feels so welcoming.

We grabbed a shopping basket, added some items to it, but then we saw the restaurant. We decided to stop for lunch and continue the shopping afterwards. Taking our half full basket and placing it under the table seemed like a very natural thing to do, and I was happy to see we were not the only ones to do so.

The lunch itself was a very pleasant surprise. Everything tasted delicious. At De Proeverij – the name of the restaurant within the market – they take pride in using the same ingredients they sell. We had green bean soup with croutons and mint, and two sandwiches that we shared between ourselves: grilled goat cheese with beetroot, nuts, and pesto, and, the other one, salmon with cream cheese and green onion. As we say in Romanian, we licked our fingers – that’s just how good the food was!

By the time we finished lunch, the sun came out. However, as we were going to find out soon after we left the Landmark – grocery shopping completed – the miracle didn’t last long. We were caught in yet another round of pouring rain, our feet soaking wet. But the again, it was all worth it. :)

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Amsterdam, Noord

Landmarkt, Between Sunshine and Showers