De Begijnhof, Amsterdam

On a recent early morning, I set out to get some shots of the Grachtengordel in Amsterdam, known in English as the canal ring. One place that I didn’t know about until last year, despite having done a lot of wandering (but apparently not enough research when I lived here) in my past, is De Begijnhof. If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam, you likely know about Het Spui or the American Book Center. I have been to this sort-of square (Spui) countless times, and often even noticed people huddled near a big wooden door, however it never occurred to me that I might be allowed to go through the door. When someone I follow on Instagram posted a photo of the interior, I was so disappointed I had missed it all these years. Still, it went straight to the top of my list when I looked into it, as it looked like a gloriously peaceful place to take a quiet moment.

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Indeed, that morning that I set out to shoot early light photos turned out to be a quiet and foggy day; it almost seemed like no one was going to go to work that day. I had lots of success shooting the still canals with the fog lingering over them, then made my way to De Begijnhof. This quiet courtyard is a truly serene oasis. Amsterdam is a relatively quiet city, but the calm and quiet that surrounds you in De Begijnhof is really wonderful and calming. According to Wikipedia, “the Begijnhof was originally entirely encircled by water (the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, the Spui and the Begijnensloot or “Beguines’ Ditch”), with the sole entrance located at the Begijnensteeg (“Beguines’ Alley”), which had a bridge across the Begijnensloot. The back facades were therefore water-locked. The Spui entrance only dates back to the 19th century.”

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The courtyard has a rich history, which includes that of it acting as a sort-of – but not officially – a convent, which was founded in the Middle Ages. Although not expressly requested, appropriate behavior and reverence is characteristic of a visit here, and highly recommended in any season, in my book.

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Amsterdam Shadows

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“Each of us possesses a creative self. Claiming that is a transformational art.
When you begin to act on your creativity,
what you find inside may be more valuable than
what you produce for the external world.
The ultimate creative act is to express what is most authentic and individual about you.”
~ Eileen M. Clegg

Magnolias in Bloom

Magnolias Paris

There is so much visual stimulus wandering around Paris, I wonder if you remember to look up from time to time. At a certain point last  year I found myself looking up more than usual and discovering a whole new love: wrought iron balconies. I will do a series on them one of these days, but for now how about this “look up” shot. I love the mix of the different architectural styles plus the magnificent blooming magnolia tree. We were on a beautiful Spring walk during my birthday trip to Paris, while we were living in Amsterdam.

Photo taken in the 15th arrondissement… I think.

Visit to Institut du Monde Arabe

I’ve just visited the modern and beautiful Institut du Monde Arabe for the exhibit Le Théorème de Néfertiti. This exhibit was unlike almost any exhibit I’ve been to. It is based around the investigation of the presentation of art in whatever context it is being shown and how that might change what the artist intended. While the exhibit wasn’t of great interest to me, I enjoyed going to this museum, which I had never been to. And, of course, I loved looking at the beautiful exterior of the museum, itself.

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, museum Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, museum Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, museum

Springtime in Paris

Today is my birthday! Had to post this beautiful spot on this special day. I ♥ the Eiffel Tower more than I might admit.
Springtime in Paris

 
You can purchase this photo on Instacanvas. Visit the Falling Off Bicycles Instacanvas gallery!

Parking at a Houseboat

Side door parking at a houseboat.

Canal FOB Instagram

You can purchase this photo on Instacanvas. Visit the Falling Off Bicycles Instacanvas gallery!

Parking at a Houseboat

Side door parking at a houseboat.

Charming Amsterdam

You can purchase this photo on Instacanvas. Visit the Falling Off Bicycles Instacanvas gallery!

Mokum Magazine Features Falling Off Bicycles Photo

Big day with my photos of Holland… two Instagram features today. This one is through Mokum Magazine.

I took this one at sunset on Prinsengracht.

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Mokum Magazine Falling Off Bicycles