Nights start later here than in other European cities, I've noticed. Not only in terms of when people really begin to party, but also in the literal sense. Right now, at the very beginning of summer, the sun doesn't even start to set until nearly ten o'clock.
The Grasshopper is an enormous building that houses a coffee shop (not to be confused with a café!), a bar, and a steakhouse, all on different floors. For me it marks the entrance into the most touristy - and thus most crowded - parts of Amsterdam, so Dan and I usually steer clear. Though, I cannot help but love the pea-soup-green lights that illuminate its tan brick façade.
Bar hopping is easy by bicycle, and there are usually hundreds of them parked around lampposts and in alleys nearby the popular spots. The particular "Grand Café" pictured here is not one of those, but I couldn't resist the homage to NYC: a well-lighted Statue of Liberty! (And if you're familiar with American history, you'll recall that it was the Dutch who settled Manhattan, and that New York was originally called New Amsterdam.)
This canal scene is less than a ten-minute walk from Amsterdam's Centraal Station (yes, that's two As in "Centraal"), but it feels very far removed from the station's constant shuffle. I never get tired of peeking into the goings-on of the city's houseboats, or of listening to the water clap against the walls of the canals.
It's nice to stand silently during lovely moments such as these, taking in all the little details and snapping a mental photo to carry around with me. It's just completely iconic Amsterdam, isn't it? The shapes and lines of the bicycles, the twinkly colored lights reflecting on the canals . . . but there's something to be said for having the real thing, too, in that I get to share it with you!