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Hi everyone – we’re back :-). We’ll kick off with more winter light photos, whether light as art and human ingenuity, or light as those rare blessed moments when the sun manages to cut through these cloudy, flat grey days here along the North Sea coast. You’ve seen these butterflies before, when I noticed them on a dawn bike to the office, shortly after the Amsterdam Light Festival opened for this year’s covid-affected version.

Having waited in hopes that some friend might want to walk the route with me, finally last Saturday I bought my online map and covered about 75% of these art installations on foot during a bloody cold walk for which I stupidly went under-dressed. Unlike many of the photographers I saw, I don’t have a tripod or a real camera…so pardon the poor quality. I hope the enjoyment I and the many other viewers clearly felt walking this route and taking in the many artistic celebrations of light will shine through nonetheless.

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Here’s to a Happy New Year 2022. This is probably me signing off for a while despite a remaining queue of lovely canal and urban-garden images. Look forward to them once 2022 has shown us more of itself. 🙂

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As I’ve shown in the last two posts, December 21 dawned bright , clear & cold – and it ended bright, clear & cold. I played hooky from (American) or skived off (British) work in the afternoon to play tennis…but got to the courts to find frost still on the courts and all play suspended. The choices then were go home and slouch around depressed either avoiding work and feeling guilty or doing work and feeling put-upon, or embrace the day. These photos tell you my choice :-). Look closely the canal photo in the gallery below & you’ll note that there’s still frost in one corner of the photo. I think the air temps were formally just above freezing between 2 and 4ish, the time of this bike ride — but unless the sun was shining directly on something, the overnight frost did not melt. And that’s me soaking up the sun with my tennis bag in the bike’s basket behind me–didn’t go home to drop it for fear I’d sink into torpor if I did.

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At 8:22 on the morning of the solstice, the streets were nearly empty because the new corona measures included an early start to school holidays. (So no kids and parents biking to school together – there’ll be a post about that at some point; family values here in NL mean that commuting to work on school days for me means seeing all the parents biking their kids to school before they bike themselves to work.) A good thing, because standing while waiting for the lights to change and the usual backup of bikes at the main intersections would have made me even colder than I already was. On this shortest day of the year there were something like 7 hours and 44 minutes during which the sun was actually above the horizon: when this photo and the one in tomorrow’s post were taken, it has not yet graced us with its rays. But as you’ll see in our final post of the year (it’ll go up on my Friday morning), although its visit was very short on this particular day, the sun was very generous and kind to Amsterdam on the solstice this year. We’ll close out this funky year on the blog with three odes to a lovely city on a clear day :-).

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On the other side of that bridge is, in fact, the Amstel River. Just in case you ever wondered where it is 🙂