So much has happened since the last time I sat down to write a blog post. After re-reading what I wrote last time and seeing how hopeful I was about the world and the end of winter, I can't help but laugh a little. My last post was in March, and right after that we really started seeing the effects of the Corona Virus here in The Netherlands. Suddenly, my dreams of frolicking in the tulip fields and booking more portrait sessions than ever came crashing down with the rest of the world.
I took this photo on a completely empty street in the Jordaan neighborhood when the wisteria was blooming.
I am a little hesitant to admit this because I know that I have been so incredibly lucky with how little the virus has affected me and my loved ones, and others have not been in the same privileged situation as me, but if I'm being honest, I've had a lot of great experiences during this time.
Amsterdam normally suffers from over-tourism, so on any ordinary day it can feel quite claustrophobic just walking around my neighborhood. Borders closed across Europe, but the virus numbers stayed relatively low here, and Amsterdam never implemented any shelter-in-place orders. Residents were allowed to go outside freely as long as social distance was maintained, so I took advantage of this and went on plenty of walks with my husband. It was surreal walking around the city and seeing it completely free from tourists. Walking around Dam Square without being bumped into, and sitting along the canals with perfectly still waters was hauntingly beautiful and something I am grateful to have seen.
One of the best things I did while the city was empty, was finally learn to cycle. The Netherlands is the most cycle-friendly country in the world, but despite that, I was resigned to avoid it out of fear. Amsterdam is extremely busy, and its cyclists are very intense, and I've only ever gone cycling in suburban areas as a kid. But I knew if I ever wanted to ride my bike like a true Amsterdammer, now was the time. I was never going to get another chance to learn in such a relaxed environment with the roads completely void of wandering tourists and cars. So I pulled up my big-girl pants, bought myself and my husband a pair of cheap city bikes, and we just went for it. Before I knew it, I was cycling everywhere.
Here is a picture of the seaside town of Marken, we cycled 25km (15.5 miles) both ways to get here!
I never expected to become a cycling enthusiast, but here I am planning my weekends based on where we can cycle next!
Now that things have mostly re-opened here in The Netherlands, life has gone back to a more normal pace. We have started seeing friends again, going out for food and drinks, and I even got my hair done lol. We still aren't able to visit our loved ones in the UK and USA, but for now we are content knowing everyone is safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, I didn't get my bike in time to try to cycle out to the tulip fields, but I think I will find a way to survive until next spring.