It was early on a Saturday morning and the city of Amsterdam was coming to life with clanging bicycle bells and preparation of boats along the canals. The air was cool for May but it would warm up later on.
Carolina, Leslie and I set off from our AirBnB flat (more on that later) to seek out some breakfast and tea before starting our day.
The girls wanted to see the Anne Frank House, which I had already done a few times on previous visits to the city, so I left them in the long queue snaking around the building. We agreed to meet up four hours later which gave me plenty of time to explore, wherever my curiosity would lead me, which happened to be mainly around the colourful quarter of Jordaan.
I set out along the welcoming back streets dotted with corner cafes with outdoor tables where women shared a coffee or men sat alone reading the day’s newspaper.
Carrying on, I observed the steepness of the concrete steps leading up to beautiful old apartments that must have a stunning view, admired the quiet canals and ivy covered buildings.
I poked my head into a few interior design shops and sat down to have a tea outdoors with the resident black cafe cat sat opposite.
I was welcomed with a sweet scent of flowers, standing in buckets and with prices as cheap as London’s Columbia Road Flower Market.
There were piles of fruits and veggies.
I learned a few words like artisjok and munt.
Like most good markets, it offered a lovely mishmash of options.
And like almost all markets, it was a wonderful glimpse into the local life and the characters who live in this quirky city that just so happens to be one of my favourite places to visit.