We got a nice bit of sneeuw (snow) on Friday, but today was the first chance I had to get out and enjoy any of it. It’s been bitterly cold, supposedly getting down to -18C yesterday, so it’s not like you’d want to spend hours outside anyway. Well, I suppose all of the ice skaters might be spending a fair bit of time, not to mention the kids sledding down anything even remotely resembling a hill. Anyway, I’ve got another busy week ahead of me, so no real time for proper blog posts. Instead, I think I’ll just post a picture a day of the snow photos I took today. Considering we’re looking at below freezing temps for much of the week, the snow itself might still be around all week!

Snow Revisited

When I posted the photos of Atlas yesterday, I realized I never posted the other photos of the Nieuwegracht that I took that day in December. The Nieuwegracht is beautiful, stately and charming at any time of year, but with the coating of snow, it was something special.
X Marks the Spots
I saw this man walk out to the canal with a bucket and dip it in to get water, but my camera wasn’t fast enough to get the action shot, just the before and after.
The Bucket
Just Missed
It’s a long, quiet street, filled mainly with private residences and businesses, rather than a lot of shops. It’s yin to the Oudegracht’s yang, I suppose. The Oudegracht is the more obvious tourist spot, but the Nieuwegracht is definitely worth a wander if you visit. After all, both of them have the famous below-street-level wharves that are somewhat unusual.
Along the Nieuwegracht

White Stuff

Weight of the World
It snowed yesterday. Not a lot, but it did snow. That’s after that glorious sunshine earlier in the week. I’m not really surprised, though. My birthday is coming up soon enough and I’ve had plenty of occasions over the years to realize that my birthday seems to coincide with truly lousy weather, including snow storms.

This picture wasn’t actually taken yesterday. It was from the real snow storm we had right before Christmas. We had walked along the Nieuwegracht a bit to enjoy the scenery and I finally noticed this rooftop display, which I’d seen in someone else’s photo on Flickr. There’s some lovely detail in the building and the rooftop with the molding and the window tracery. Still, the poor guy looks a bit chilly!
Atlas Shrugged

Foto Vrijdag 2.51 White Christmas

Winter Wonder
The snow we’ve had this week seems to be sticking around, even though we haven’t gotten more in the last few days. So it might not be fresh snow, but it looks like we’ll still manage to have a white Christmas tomorrow; a rarity for this native Floridian. We went out earlier this week to do a bit of shopping and photographing. Utrecht is beautiful anyway, and with the snow, it becomes even more picturesque. The domtoren, as you can see, was particularly lovely, with the snow dusting the edges of the Gothic tracery and the icy tree branches framing it all. It looked like something out of a fairy tale, or Narnia, perhaps!

Winter Wonderland

It has been snowing off and on for the past few days, to go along with the arctic cold temperatures. The native Floridian in me still gets a thrill when we get snow (sneeuw), so today, with the snow coming down steadily, I couldn’t resist going out in it. Pippo was equally excited about the idea; I’m not sure who was more eager to go! I bundled up — Pippo already has a fur coat — and we headed out into the blowing snow.
Sticks and Snow: Heaven
Pippo is a snow dog at heart. He was racing around, jumping, sticking his nose in the snow, and playing with every stick he could find. He becomes like an overeager puppy any time he gets in snow. Because of his exuberance, we didn’t go far, just to the Zocherpark nearby. I didn’t want to try to navigate snowy sidewalks with an overexcited dog barreling ahead! There were a number of people out and about, but there’s still that lovely hush that comes over everything when there’s a layer of snow on the ground.
And for the record, yes, people are still out and about on their bikes, even in the snow, although I did see a few people who gave up riding and just walked alongside their bicycles.
Snowy Transport
The canal hasn’t frozen over yet, although if these cold temperatures remain, I’m sure it will get a bit of ice in some areas. Not enough for skating, though.
Somehow it seemed appropriate in this calm, peaceful, quiet world to see this particular sticker:
Power to the Peaceful
We’re home now, with Pippo curled up in the bed on his blanket and me with a nice warm mug of hot chocolate. The snow is still falling and it’s just all so gezellig! (However, our neighbours who are moving out today might not feel so enamored with the snow, nor are my friends who are trying to travel by train today. A little snow and the train service falls to pieces. Good luck to you if you have to be out in the weather for anything other than fun!)

Fantastic Flamingos

I’ve seen this a few times in the past week and figured I ought to share it, even if it has nothing to do with Utrecht or the Netherlands.  But really, a blog with the word flamingo in it really should be excused for going off topic in this case. The photo was taken by Robert Haas (National Geographic/Caters News Agency), and shows flamingos in roughly the shape of a flamingo, in Yucatan, Mexico. A rare, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime shot!

Certainly quite a bit different from the weather we’re having here now. We got snow yesterday and it’s cold enough today for it to keep hanging around, with more expected to join it tomorrow, from the looks of things. The cats are dreaming of warmer, flamingo-inhabited climates as they suck every bit of heat possible out of the radiators.

Weather With You

I’ve had stuff to blog about the past few days, but I’ve lacked the motivation to do it. Maybe tomorrow, in between cooking the turkey and dressing and other Thanksgiving dishes, I’ll manage to post about what I got up to this past Saturday. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of the crazy skies we get here in town sometimes. In one part of the sky, it looks like a gorgeous sunny day with blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Then when you turn around, there’s such a solid, grey mass of cloud that it looks like one of those giant alien space ship invasions!

We’ve got a possibility of snow arriving this Friday. There’s talk that this winter may be similar to last winter, with the unexpectedly high amounts of snow all winter. It’s a good thing I got some new boots! I hope you’re having nice weather wherever you are today and that you have a tasty Thanksgiving tomorrow if you’re celebrating.

Foto Vrijdag 2.6

Not my best shot, but there’s just something about it that I like. The snow was really pouring down at this point, even though it had been snowing fairly steadily all day. I was at the window, trying to get some shots of the little black bird that was weathering the storm, when this woman suddenly rode past, nose bright pink from the bitter cold. A little snow — or quite a lot — won’t stop the favored Dutch mode of transportation!

Slip Slidin’ Away

We went out today to do some last minute shopping, which meant wandering from one side of town to the other. And when I say wandering, I mean slowly, carefully creeping through the slippery mush and across the hard-packed and equally slippery snow that covers the majority of the city’s sidewalks. It’s like walking on really soft sand, but more dangerous, not to mention cold! We were out for close to four hours, but I’m pretty sure we could have been done almost half the time if we could have walked at a normal pace. If you look at the photo, you can see that the streets are clear — which is funny since there’s not really much traffic in the city center — but the sidewalks are still quite white. There’s a bit of a slushy area where the bikes make their way through, although even today I didn’t see as many bikes as usual. Or perhaps I was just too busy looking down to keep my footing to notice the bikes!

I admit I had my moments of missing the sue-happy U.S., where sidewalks and shopping centers are usually quick to clear any and all walkways. But then I remembered that we haven’t cleared the sidewalk in front of our house, either, so I guess I can’t complain! We seem to have made it home just in time. It has started snowing again!

Merian stopped by for a while yesterday afternoon and was saying that this amount of snow really is unusual for here. She was having a hard time remember the last time they had this much snow. We may well end up with a white Christmas. On the other hand, we may not have G’s mother here. She was supposed to fly in last night, but her flight was cancelled. She’s booked onto another flight for tomorrow night, but the way the weather has been, you never know. Hopefully, there will be some window of opportunity between now and Friday! I don’t think we’re supposed to get much snow before tomorrow, so hopefully they’ll be able to keep Schipol clear and somewhat on schedule.