Thankful Thursdays – Springtime ~ Amsterdam Version

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Pansies, a first sign of Spring

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The former Eye Museum

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Living in Amsterdam when Spring comes around is just as much a joyful and momentous occasion as it is in Paris. Since the Netherlands is indeed the flower country, what else would one expect but to have tulips available for super cheap and bright colors popping up on all those charming front stoops? If I can’t be in Amsterdam year-round, Spring is no doubt one of my favorite times to indeed be there, as the colors and spirit are so bright around the City. Many terraces have newly opened, and people are so thrilled to be outside along the water once again.

 If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you,
if the simple things in nature have a message you understand,
rejoice, for your soul is alive.Eleanora Duse

More about tulips in a future post…

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Salon de Thé at the Grande Mosquée de Paris

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As Spring comes into further bloom, I’m reminded of some of my favorite afternoons in Paris, spent at this pretty place. Here is a Waterlogue version of the tea courtyard at the Grande Mosquée de Paris in the 5th arrondissement, just behind the Jardin des Plantes. The vibrant colors here are perfect for the kind of shots I love, with all those gorgeous tones and shades, all of which change throughout the day and seasons. I almost always come with my friend, Mme Parisdise.

Thankful Thursdays – Springtime ~ Paris Version

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It’s probably no mystery by now that we are currently in my favorite season. I’ve well established how much I love bright colors and flowers. But there’s also the feeling of the world coming back to life that gives so much more to love about this beautiful season. Spring is a time of rebirth, a time to nurture the small seedlings of wishes and goals you planted within the last few months. Everything in nature follows a patter; it’s only right that we do the same and bring our best selves to the world at this time!

“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

~ Claude Monet

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Spring Colors in Paris

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Home of Claude Monet, Giverny

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Waterlogged

Courtyard of Le Petit Palais

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Place Franz Lizst

Spring is popping into full splendor all over Paris, and I can’t get enough of the colors and newfound spring in people’s steps! Here is this week’s Waterlogue version of a few of my favorite places to take in the pastel colors of Spring. Two of the originals of these photos were posted on Instagram this week. Follow me at: @fallingoffbicycles

Thankful Thursdays: Birthdays in Fun Places

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

I used to think I was so unlucky. Every year my birthday seemed to fall right in the middle of Spring Break, and all my friends would be on vacation somewhere far away from any birthday party I may have wanted to have. My 14th birthday being spent in Maui helped me get over that a bit, and many years since, I have spent my March birthday in some of my favorite places in the world.

When visiting my French family in 2009, we lunched at what has remained one of my favorite meals ever, in a restaurant mere steps away from the tide of the Mediterranean. I took a picture of my plate that day, and am not ashamed to admit I have looked back at it many times. Last year, I decided to spend my birthday with my adopted family and requested that we return to O’Pedalo in Marseille for our lunch. It was slightly chillier (thanks to the Mistral) than our initial visit when we were out in the sunshine listening to the waves crash, but the company was just as wonderful and that Provençal food was just as good as I remembered.

As if a birthday lunch alongside the Sea weren’t enough, my French papa made us this delectable tarte tatin for the birthday celebration (three birthdays that week!). A perfect Provençal birthday celebration, indeed.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Provence Tarte Tatin

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Blue on rue Crémieux

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A favorite stop on a lovely walk in Paris is rue Crémieux in the 12th arrondissement, near Gare de Lyon. Both sides of this mostly-pedestrian street are colorfully painted, each house making its own charming photo. There are so many photo opps every time I come here! The bright colors always make for a beautiful photo, and it’s certainly true in a watercolor as well (with Waterlogue).

Thankful Thursdays – My Bike

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A couple of weeks after I moved to Amsterdam, my Dutch boyfriend bought me this beautiful omafiets, or Grandma’s bike. That thing was my prized possession until it got stolen 10 months later. It was my transportation and my reliable companion all over the beautiful city of Amsterdam, so I was pretty devastated when someone made away with it (and at Leidseplein of all places!). The freedom a bicycle offers is so unmatched by anything else I can think of. Riding again after so many years away from a bike, I realized how important it is to feel that carefree feeling a bike necessarily gives. (The necessity and fun of it is well-explained in this book.) I just loved going everywhere on this thing, and it even made going on dates even more romantic.

I am so thankful for the gift of this darling bike and all the freedom it brought me.

(Notice the bouquet of flowers in the back.)

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Veggies at the Marché

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In Paris, it’s always the season to go to the marché and gather your produce for the next few days. Here is a Waterlogue version of a photo I took at a marché one day when I noticed a beautiful pile of root veggies with onions, shallots, and radishes.

Thankful Thursdays – Observing Nature Take its Course

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A few years back, I discovered the most spectacular tree I had every laid eyes on in the Jardin des Plantes. I visited this tree several days in a row, as it was such a marvelous sight to see. Although these photos look just like a dormant tree, make no mistake – in a few weeks this tree will burst into glorious splendor, and the photos I will share will blow your mind on what nature is capable of. I promise I’m not trying to be hyperbolic; I really think this tree is positively spectacular, even as it readies itself to blossom (both literally and figuratively). Just wait!

So thankful to get to see what Nature will bring us every Spring, and to appreciate the nurturing of the plant as well as the fruit, itself.