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Urban Garden: King’s Day Special Edition :-)

April 27th is King’s Day here in the Netherlands – they celebrate the reigning monarch’s birthday in uniquely Dutch style. What this means, so far as I can tell, is three things: a) It’s one of the rare “bank holidays” where just about every office and shop is completely closed (since one gets more weeks of actual annual leave / vacation here, one doesn’t need to depend on the three-day weekends to breathe, as one does in the US), and this year it fell smack in the middle of the work week which was kind of fun; b) As demonstrated in this post, here in Amsterdam it’s the one day per year where folks are allowed to lay out their wares on any old street corner for sale – and key parks like Vondelpark are reserved for kids; c) Once the day becomes more advanced, all the rest of the adults come out and turn more or less the entire city into one continuous, enormous citywide moving block party, with bands everywhere. Oh, and unlike the US, one’s allowed to drink in public here – though the city’s site reminds everyone that one bottle (allowed) means one bottle, not a six-pack (not allowed).

I’m fortunate to live just down the street from Vondelpark, more or less the most famous of Amsterdam’s many lovely parks, and having been told that the kid-energy in the morning there would be a lot of fun, I strolled on up around 8:30 and took all of the photos on this post between 8:30 and 9:45. It was fantastic – so many families out there with kids proudly displaying the toys they no longer want, or selling cookies they’d baked or coffee they’d made. The entire park become one lovely kid-driven block party / garage sale (the US term). It was delightful energy, and it began with the kid just above who’d clearly arrived early to snag one of the best spots just at the main western entrance to Vondelpark, whose bright smile & “goede morgen, mijnheer” started my exploration in just the right mood.

I did venture out to Centrum in the evening and experienced the many bands on the street and the HORDES of people moving en masse from one band to the next…but photos just weren’t possible. You’d have be here to understand, but let me say for those who’ve been here: it’s the first time I’ve seen pedestrians take over every street entirely so that no wheeled vehicle of any sort can move anywhere, whether main street, bike path, or sidewalk. (I mean, true, in Centrum at midnight during tourist season it’s hard, but it’s limited to Centrum…this day, much more broadly distributed, much longer, and more fun with bands and all.) So enjoy this gallery celebrating national pride the Dutch way, which is quite inclusive and enjoyable, I’d have to say. 😊

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Yep, that statue’s of Rembrandt because yep, that’s Rembrantplein or Rembrandt Square.


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These are from last month in Amsterdam…still alternating pics from the US visit with pics I took mostly before I returned. If you’re curious about the seasons in various places, try to open a photo and look at the title (if you’re on a phone, you can probably do that by tapping the image but it depends what version of the blog you’re looking at – full or “lite”), because I’m mostly leaving the dates in for now 🙂


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You might not recognize it with this very different lighting and format, but you’ve seen this church & canal view before :-). It’s close to work, so I pass it often but only photograph it every now and then…

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Some explanations may be in order for beloved members of my viewing community who see these posts only as email alerts or on your phones, where the categories & tags I always apply to posts are less visible to you: I was traveling around the US a bit, from the 23rd of March until last Sunday, the 3rd of April. I spent some time with family in Pittsburgh & Oberlin (apologies to Oberlin friends whom I didn’t connect with during my 24 hours in town), then out to California to touch base. If your viewing style for the blog doesn’t show you the categories & tags, then for example you’d think yesterday’s beautiful tulip photo was taken here in Amsterdam – logical, for many reasons – but in fact both that and the earlier orchid photos were taken at Pittsburgh’s lovely Phipps Conservatory, whose spring flower show is a lovely taste of spring in a place where spring does in fact arrive later than it seems to here in A’dam. It’ll get even more confusing the next week or two for anyone who doesn’t select the option to see the full blog view, because I still have lovely flower photos from the Phipps trip, maybe still one or two from California, and tomorrow I’m going on a walk through the blooming tulip fields you’ve seen on postcards and tourist sites from the Netherlands. It’s a safe bet I’ll take even more tulip photos then, so you might consider checking the full site for the category and tag, if you’re curious what you’re seeing. That said: this photo is clearly and undisputedly Amsterdam, on a rainy morning as I headed to work. I will be showing you both NL and US photos in the weeks ahead :-).


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I’m reasonably confident these are white storks, and I believe their presence on the platform also answers questions my cousin Maria (hi, Maria!) asked about similar platforms which appeared in photographs from other posts late last year. I can’t state with certainty that all such platforms are intended for or solely used by storks, but I expect they’re intended for and used more by storks than any other type of bird. You and I wondered if it was maybe ospreys, and I’m afraid I’ve not yet gotten a book that’ll tell me which birds ply the forests and waterways of this corner of Europe so I’m not even sure if ospreys are found here – haven’t seen any myself, yet, but I’ve not really been looking yet. I am confident storks do, and this is the first pair I’ve seen. They really do clack their bills and communicate with each other a lot! If the left-hand photo below, you can sort of make out this platform in the middle near the top of the photo.


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Same camellia bush, a few weeks later than what I showed you in Small Wonders.78. (I think these are camellias, but botanists among you, please feel free to correct if I’m wrong!)


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