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When we landed in Amsterdam and passed by these flowers in the airport my eyes literally filled with tears! I know, a little dramatic, but there is something in my soul that is enriched by natures beauty. I miss spring time flowers and tulips are a favorite.  And yes, that is a picture of a cured pork log--it's the little things that excite me. 

The floating tulip market is amazing! Not only do they sell a gazillion bulbs, they sell gigantic amaryllis which I bought and can report have bloomed beautifully. My tulips and daffodils didn't do as well inside. Part of that may have been the soil and my container--I'll try again next year. Actually, here is what I learned...bulbs only need a 12 week cooling/dormant period, so theoretically I can try again in just a couple of months. I am storing the bulbs in the refrigerator. 
Amsterdam is a great walking city and so full of photo opportunities.  The canals in particular are fun as they provide endless reflections.  It was so nice to feel crisp spring air--to be just cool enough to need a jacket. It's not a sensation we feel in Saudi. 

We took a canal tour to get the lay of the land and hear a bit of Dutch history. The city has become so popular and with rents so high, people have turned to the canals to live. I am not sure I'd like to live on a house boat, but some have gotten creative with their tiny spaces. One had turned their deck into a private outdoor garden. 
This cloistered neighborhood is for single women only.  Begun in the 14th century it originally housed Beginites, a Catholic sisterhood of women who lived like nuns, but took no vows.  Today it still houses single women in reduced circumstances and has become a hot tourist spot for being a bastion of quiet in the middle of the city. We lucked out to hear a concert in the church with in the compound.  

The rest of the photos in this this post simply highlight the architecture I found interesting. We absolutely loved the city, even considering all the vices so easily found here.