Amazing Amsterdam..

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Darlings, I am head over heels in love with Amsterdam!

As you know, I recently spent a magic four days there and I fell utterly & deeply for the city, the people, and most of all my wonderful hostess Mariska Meijers!

Some of my snapshots of Amsterdam. Loving this sazzy bike!

 Noticing the little details here and there..

Lovely tulips spilling onto the sidewalk!

I left Sweden having never met Mariska, but returned feeling as if I had known her for years!  This girl is beyond generous, warm and kind! She opened up her home, her life, and her schedule for me, and made me feel so welcome and at home. Thanks to her and her super sweet friends (extended thanks to Herb, Lise, and Joost! x) I got to experience Amsterdam in a true and genuine way!
Spending these four days with Mariska not only gave me a much needed break, but also released a rush of energy and creative flow. In fact, I am still smiling! :)

Gorgeous vistas like this one everywhere!

My borrowed bike that took me around Amsterdam! 

 Fell in love with the orange shutters of this old warehouse building!

Wonderful old buildings and brickwork!

To me, every city in the world lends itself towards a particular way of getting around.. Paris to me is all about walking, Rome in my mind is best seen from the back of a scooter, in London I prefer the bus, and Amsterdam is to be explored by bicycle. So that's what I did! Mariska had organized for me to borrow a bike and I loved peddling my way around town. The freedom and flexibility that comes with riding a bike definitely adds a certain flavour to the city. People seem very relaxed, spontaneous, and easy going!

Mariska and her funky green bike waiting for me to finish my 100000th photo.. :)

I particularly loved riding through the beautiful Vondel Park in the morning seeing corporate suits, parents with children, students, grandmothers, and tourists alike zoom past on their bikes. What a wonderful & varied crowd, and what a great way to start the day!

Apple cake, fresh orange juice and coffee. For breakfast!:)

Colour prefection, right?!

And of course stopping to spend a moment in silence, remembering those less fortunate..!

I cycled the charming cobble stoned streets and avenues of the city, and snapped hundreds (!) of pictures of what seemed to be an endless stream of absolute eye candy. A never ending parade of bridges crossing wonderful canals that were fringed by stunning architecture and quirky house boats. The city has a tangible warmth and character that went straight to my heart. It is unique, charming and so full of personality and creative expression.

 Just look at this 'bearded' balcony! :)

Boho and quirky boats everywhere!

 Wonderful buildings shoulder to shoulder everywhere I looked!

 And cute houseboats moored side by side on the larger canals.

One of so many lovely canal views!

I was also incredibly lucky to be taken around the canals and the Amsel River by a dear friend of Mariska's. We spent a whole afternoon floating through the city on a private boat whilst sipping wine and enjoying wonderful company. Such a unique experience and so much appreciated! 

..and one more..!

..and cute houses like this one.

And the stunning 'Amsel Hotel'.. where the famous, fortunate and fabulous stay! :)

We passed the cutest river houses, charming bridges, historical sites, grand hotels, funky house boats, wonderful public sites and buildings. My camera snapped away and I loved every moment of this very special guided tour!

 Another lovely river house.

 The stunning 'Scheepsvart Museum'. I just love this building!

..and several contemporary architectural master pieces, like the Science Museum. What a beauty!

Another favourite part of my trip was when I got to visit Mariska's flagship store which is located on a sun drenched corner in the trendy '9 Streets' district, right on the cobble-stoned bank of the Singel Canal.

  The lovely and stunning Ms Meijers in front of her store!

Loving the tiger painting and Mariska's fab sense of colour!

Black walls show off art just as well as white ones. Sometimes better!

Lovely form pressed trays in all shapes and sizes. I bought a large one for myself! :)

This tray now lives with me and receives lots of comments and admiration from my friends!!

Housed in a 17th century canal house the shop feels authentic, confident, and true to the area. It has an air of chicness, edge and tangible happy energy all bouncing off the walls. Natural light floods through the large windows onto Mariska's wonderfully unique artworks and merchandise. In a corner, on a large easel is a half-finished piece of art, and everywhere there are vases with flowers from the near-by flower market ('Bloemenmarkt').

 Mariska's 'work in progress corner'!

 Tubes of bright colours giving life to Mariska's fantastic works.

The shop has heart, and it beats in total harmony with the city and Mariska herself. I can genuinely say that the art and the artist are one - everything about it feels genuine and real. And that is perhaps what I love the most about this girl - she is 100% true to herself and the life she leads. That is a rare thing to come by these days and something that I admire greatly!

Once again thank you Marsiska for my wonderful Amsterdam adventure. It was one of my favourite trips ever! xx

Before I go I want to wish all my American friends a happy 4th of July for tomorrow!

Love and hugs to all.

xx Charlotta

All photos by Charlotta Ward

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