In Amsterdam, there's always room for a garden

As most of you know, Rob and Kaia and I took a huge step and went on an epic vacation for the past couple of weeks. None of us had ever left this country, so it was quite a big deal for us. My requirements when choosing the places we'd visit were that it wasn't crazy hot (I cannot stand the heat. The hotter it is, the grumpier I am--a fact Rob is well aware of, so he agreed...) and that we wouldn't have trouble not speaking the native language since, like most Americans, we do not speak second or third language. Not even close. Rob wanted to see an old European city, being a huge architecture buff, and I wanted grand wilderness. After much deliberation, he chose Amsterdam with a short trip to Bruges, Belgium, and on IcelandAir, we were able to take a 5-day stopover in Iceland on our way home. We both got what we wanted!

We didn't plan our trip solely with seeing gardens in mind, but you know, gardening is pretty universal, and it found us pretty quickly upon our arrival in Amsterdam. As soon as we arrived at our little marina boathouse, where we spent the first two nights, Rob made us drop our bags and head right back out to explore the city. Brave, since Amsterdam was in the middle of a warm spell (80s) and I was running on 2 hours of sleep.... All in all, we walked over 7 miles that day, and what we quickly noticed is that while there certainly isn't much room to garden in this beautiful city, people find a way. Every little niche is an opportunity, and vines are very useful in small spaces. Once in a while you'd get a peek at a garden in a back alley, a courtyard, a neighborhood park, or on a balcony, and even the houseboats got in on the game. In fact, they had more real estate than most for a garden. But we did hear that gardening on the water means lots and lots of slugs. Ew.

Check out a few scenes from the streets of Amsterdam below. In the next few posts from our trip we'll take you to the famous Amsterdam flower market, to a private courtyard community with lots of charming little gardens, and then on to our short jaunt to Belgium. And there's lots more after that! At the same time I'll try posting some independent posts with non-gardening photos for those of you who might be interested. Stay tuned.