First snow of the year!

I didn’t expect to welcome December with snow. But that’s exactly what happened this weekend, when Marlon and I drove over the border with friends to Germany.

Can you say winter wonderland?

Apologies for the awkward telephone lines. I shot this from a moving car and I’m not a Photoshop ninja yet. But I just love the different shades of gray and white in this hilly landscape.

Not quite as spectacular, but exciting nonetheless, was waking up this morning to a light snowfall in Amsterdam. Here’s the view of my street from my living room window.

Out back, these plump pigeons were stranded in trees as a light dusting of flakes fell. The pigeons are flying around now, since everything has already melted—not even two hours after it stopped snowing.

It’s my second year here, and my second snowfall, but seeing snow still gives me this calm, happy feeling inside. I’m starting to believe this will never get old; I hope it never does.

While Holland is all about Sinterklaas this week, this blog will be all about Christmas. After all, I’ve just been to two Christmas markets in Germany… and I’m so excited to share them with you.

Hope these images start your week on a bright (white) note! Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

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First snow

Thanks to my obsessive monitoring of the weather reports (which are always accurate here), I was prepared for a cold snap this week—temperatures ranging from -15℃ to -1℃. It would be the first time this winter that temperatures dipped below zero. This meant that yes, it would be freezing, but we could also have snow and go ice skating on the canals.

On Monday morning, I woke up to this.

Nope, it wasn’t snow yet… only frost that had formed overnight. A teaser of things to come, this scratchy thin layer of ice soon melted away.

Today, it finally happened. As soon as the snow began to fall, a little before lunchtime, I went crazy monkey giddy. I was glued to the windows shrieking “Let’s go! Let’s go!” like a banshee on crack, forcing Marlon to call it an early lunch so we could get dressed and go out into the fast-falling whiteness. When we stepped out into our street, I learned the difference between frost and real snow.

 

The air outside felt completely different, not the normal heavy cold of the Dutch winter. It changed us into kids again. As you can tell, Marlon was really happy to be working from home today.

The street was completely deserted but for the two of us and a woman sprinkling salt on the road. We must have looked like lunatics to the neighbors. We couldn’t help it… it was our first real snow!

Click on through to enjoy this snowy day with us!

Right in front of our house was where Marlon and I made our first snowballs. The snow was fluffy and flaky, not at all compact. We forced it into snowballs anyway, and threw them at each other.

Then we decided to take a short walk around the neighborhood.

A Christmas gift from my sister from her stint in Norway, these boots were made for walking… in the snow. Thank you, Ate!

I thought people who’d left cars parked outside might probably be pissed to see their cars covered in snow. So I left a few smileys to cheer them up, just in case.

We walked down to the Stadionkade, the canal closest to our house. A thin layer of ice had formed, freezing boats into the canal. Everything was covered with white and looked so peaceful.

Marlon found a large branch, which he used to carve our initials into the canal. #sweet

We took portraits of each other with my beloved 50mm prime lens.

Snow as natural reflector = awesome lighting. 

This being Amsterdam, there were snow-covered bikes everywhere. They looked more magical and less utilitarian, thanks to a thick dusting of snow. 

Not all the bikes were left to gather snow. Nothing gets between the Dutch and their favorite form of transportation! The biking never stops here.

Everything I saw around me made me feel light, calm, free. It was a special time. I can’t describe how happy I felt, but I’ll always remember.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

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