Amsterdam: Part I

My first morning in Amsterdam was blessed with glorious sunshine.

I watched the canal boats slide through the sparkling water

and gazed at the historic beauty of this city full of Old World charm.

I marveled at the fresh air and the blue skies

and at the unique architecture found on every corner.

Little did I know how quickly those blue skies could change...

Unsuspectingly, I walked along the canals until I came upon a bustling Saturday morning farmer's market on the Lindengracht.

There were bright, colorful summer flowers

huge wheels of cheese

in every shape, size, and color imaginable.

The green cheeses were seasoned with pesto and herbs, while other cheeses were sprinkled with chili, caraway, and a variety of other spices and flavors.

There were homemade pastries with veggies and meat

and rustic looking round loaves of bread.

After walking through the friendly, local farmer's market at Lindengracht, I finally found the Noordermarkt by the Noorderkerk, or Northern Church, which is famous for its organic, specialty foods and its flea market held on Saturdays and Mondays.

Of course, I managed to find a wonderful French style bakery right away (ignorning those dark clouds).

There was an abundance of special treats, too difficult to choose!

I resisted for a long while, simply capturing all of the lovely food with my camera. 
And then it rained! 
Suddenly, and in a downpour -
 a weather pattern I would get to know well in Amsterdam.

So what else was I to do? Luckily, the wonderful Cafe Winkel was just around the corner, and I had a great opportunity to try their deservedly famous Dutch apple cake with fresh whipped cream and a cafe latte. The cake was very rich and tartlike with a chewy, crispy topping and crust, filled with big chunks of cinnamon covered apples and raisins. 
What a joy!


Tomorrow, join me for a solo canal cruise, a trip to Amsterdam's flower market, lots of bicycles, fresh mint tea, and there might even be a strawberry pancake involved...