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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 🙂

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It felt wrong to end with photos of the modern town at sunset, so I saved a few of my favorite shots from the Great Temple exploration to close this series with. Here we’re looking through the Temenos Gate, along the Colonnaded Street to the Royal Tombs beyond. The other three below were taken from inside the Temple, giving you panoramas or yet another look at the Royal Tombs looming in the distance.

Do check the map to get a sense again of all the wanderings I’ve shown you – and come back to these posts any time you need a reminder of sunnier and drier days :-).

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These “Djinn Block” are the first obvious items of ancient archeological origin which you encounter after walking past the entrance gate and beginning the slow descent towards the path through the Siq and on to the vast array of sites in the heart of Petra. Like everything else on the main path and the Siq, I passed them four times (in and out the first and second days), and only took the time to photograph them as I neared the entrance at the end of the magnificent day that I’ve been documenting for you. 🙂


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This tomb sits relatively close to the entrance, before you enter the narrow path through the Siq itself. I took a photo of it the evening before, when I walked in for the very first time and it was bathed in full sunshine: if you’d like to compare, you can find that photo in Petra.3, where I also posted the map and explained a bit about how I planned to go about this series. Hope you feel I’ve fulfilled my promises :-).


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We’ve walked back past the Royal Tombs, the Theater, The Wall of Facades…we’ve turned into the Siq where – this evening, after rushing through it with barely a pause for a photo 12 hours ago on my way to the heights to look down at the Treeasury – this solo tomb stands alone in an odd corner.


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