This is just about the longest post I’ve ever put together (and it’s taken me quite some time to do so!) What follows is a recap of the year in just a few photographs. You can imagine how difficult it was to just choose a few photographs to represent each month, so be sure to click on the accompanying links to see more. Here it goes…
After a wonderfully white Christmas (we weren’t as lucky this year), I settled into life back at home. I started a part-time job which kept me busy most of the week. I was lucky enough to travel to London for the first time in years to visit my younger sister who’s studying there. I put together a London Recap, and posts of everyday in London (1, 2, 3 and 4) with additional photographs of Notting Hill, Liberty and Marylebone, Chelsea and the Saatchi Gallery, Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds at the Tate Modern, breakfast at The Diner, and Trafalgar Square.
In February, I started my weekend in 3 posts (#1, #2, #3 and #4). A second visit to London (see a recap in weekend in 3 (#3)) included a visit to the Courtauld Gallery a day trip to Cambridge. I couldn’t get enough of how beautiful it was – Cambridge Green, Cambridge on Bikes and King’s College.
March was a quieter month. Weekends consisted of baking, walks on the beach and feeling restless for spring. I didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like I used to in Montreal, but it was festive anyway. The official first day of spring was on March 21st, which meant there were plenty of tulips (these were my favorite) and baby lambs frolicking in the fields. On March 29th, I left to Paris with my mom for a long weekend…
April started with a weekend trip to Paris with my mom – we explored Canal St. Martin and the sixth arrondissement, spotted all things orange, visited the Place des Vosges, the Centre Pompidou, Merci and Musee Bourdelle, went to the ballet, marveled at Paris in bloom. Here are a few of my favorites from that Paris trip. I purchased a new lens, a standard Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, in mid-April, and I can’t get enough.
A third visit to London included brunch at The Breakfast Club, a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, a walk in Hyde Park and a decor8 event at Liberty London. The next day I spent exploring by myself as my sister had class and we went to the Ben Howard concert at The Borderline. And before we left, we hurried down to Borough Market for lunch and a coffee at Monmouth Coffee. Here are a few of my favorites from that last visit to London.
I left London with my sister, as we were going to spend Easter weekend at home. Late-April, I found out that I was accepted to a Masters in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam starting in the fall. We celebrated Easter and my birthday, as I left for Montreal (and my 2+ month travel adventure) on April 25th, a few days short of my 22nd birthday.
I spent the end of April and the first few weeks of May in Montreal. I spent my time in Montreal walking the familiar streets of the city, seeing old friends and visiting old restaurants and cafes. It felt as though I had never left. I put together a list of Montreal Dos and Montreal Eats, with all my favorite places. It was hard to leave again, after spending three wonderful weeks with friends. But there were so many things coming up the rest of the month…
From Montreal, I flew to Portland, Oregon with a friend of mine, where another friend of ours (the three of us) drove down to Los Angeles, California for a wedding. One of our best friends from high school was getting married at the end of May, and we spent a week with her family before the wedding. It was a busy week (Wedding Week Part 1 and Part 2) with the Bridal Shower and all the other wedding prep, and before we knew it, it was the day of the wedding. We started getting ready early that day, and the ceremony and reception were beautiful. It was a stunning wedding and I was so happy to have been a part of it. Congratulations you two!
A few days after the wedding, my friends and I started our California roadtrip! We made a point to visit the major LA highlights before leaving town, then drove to the wonderful Joshua Tree National Park and on to Santa Barbara for the most incredible Mexican food. The next day we covered San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Big Sur, and headed to San Francisco. Oh… San Francisco was wonderful (how great is Chinatown?) We then drove through Sausalito to the Redwoods and ended back up in Oregon, on the Oregon coast.
I can’t even tell you how lovely it was to spend a few days on the Oregon Coast after the whirlwind California roadtrip. We built sandcastles, watched the sunsets, roasted marshmallows, walked through town, explored Cape Kiwanda, climbed Proposal Rock and spent an afternoon in Newport. There’s nothing better than cozying up with good friends and blankets by the fire and watching the crashing waves of the ocean… After those wonderfully relaxing days, we headed up to Portland (here are my Portland favorites). We spent our time sampling delicious food (Portland Soup Company, the Tin Shed and others) and coffee (Stumptown, of course) and explored the Pittock Mansion and the Rose Garden. Oh Portland is one of those cities I hope to visit again…
From Portland, I flew to Calgary, Alberta, to spend time with my boyfriend. It was lovely to lounge around the house, stroll through the city (here are some photographs of downtown and Prince’s Island) and drive up to Banff National Park for a two-day camping trip. We went on a hike at Lake Louise which was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.
From Calgary, it was on to Nice, France, to spend two wonderful lazy weeks with the family. Sadly I never got around to posting more about our adventures in Nice, but I can assure you, it was lovely. And warm.
After 2+ months away, I was back home. It rained and rained the rest of the month. And transitioning back to real life was hard. But I baked the most (memorable) three-layer Lemon Poppyseed Cake. And my good friend and her boyfriend came to visit from Canada for a weekend. We went on a stormy beach walk and wandered around Amsterdam. It was so great to see them!
After spending a few days in Amsterdam, we went to Berlin for a long weekend (here are my Berlin favorites). We managed to do so many things in just a few days – we visited the major sights including Checkpoint Charlie and the East Side Gallery, explored different neighborhoods including Friedrichshain, and made the most of our time by exploring the city by bike. After he left, I prepared myself for the move to Amsterdam. By the end of August, I was settling into life in Amsterdam, having attended the International Student Network introduction week.
In September, I started classes at the University of Amsterdam. I was getting settled in my new apartment (that I was sharing with my older brother), and finding my way around the city. Weekends were spent with friends and family. I explored markets (Noordermarkt and Nieuwmarkt), sampled ice cream, visited the Stedelijk Museum and Waterlooplein flea market. One weekend a group of friends from Amsterdam came to visit me at my house – we munched on Lemon Blueberry Muffins, visited the beach, had the most amazing dinner and a pancake breakfast and went on an afternoon walk. My mom also came up to Amsterdam one day and we had the most lovely time. The end of September was surprisingly warm, and I spent some time at the beach and celebrating my brothers’ birthday. More time with friends, exploring Amsterdam-Noord, and a mini-Montreal reunion with old friends.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also started Amsterdam Insights (September Roundup here) and my post Amsterdam Insights: Westerpark (Cool Globes) was featured on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page (which was incredibly exciting!) AND I started my internship as an Editorial Intern at Time Out Amsterdam, a monthly magazine featuring interviews, articles and listings of everything to see/do/eat/drink in Amsterdam.
Another busy month. Weekends were spent celebrating friends’ birthdays, at home for much needed rest (love the woods behind my house), enjoying my sisters’ company when she came home from London for a long weekend (we celebrated my brothers’ birthday (two weeks late) with the family, explored Amsterdam for a day and she ran the Amsterdam half marathon!), wandering the streets of Amsterdam and celebrating Halloween. Love these photographs of an autumn evening, market finds, the changing of the seasons and an afternoon spent with friends. Amsterdam Insights (October roundup here) were in full force – I ate hearty sandwiches at Singel 404, browsed trinkets at the Sunday Market, made a recap of shops on the Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk, discovered my favorite coffee in the city at Two For Joy Coffee Roasters, sampled frozen yoghurt at FROZZ, browsed books at the TASCHEN bookshop, had a delicious hummus sandwich at Latei and wandered down the Prinsengracht. I also started “recent in 5” posts documenting Amsterdam in a more casual way (#1 and #2).
Weekends were spent with friends in the city (and attending Museum Night), in London visiting my sister, at home with friends and taking a day trip to Utrecht. Amsterdam Insights this month (November roundup here) included a visit to the photography museum Foam and Foam Pop-In, tasting pumpkin burgers at Burgermeester, a recap of all things Amsterdam-Oost, weekend brunch at Greenwoods, a drink at Cafe Koosje, browsing art-books at Boekie Woekie, hanging out with small businesses at YES WE CANTEEN and visiting the Jewish Historical Museum. Additionally, I wandered around The Hague, biked along the canals on Saturday afternoons, browsed stalls at the Noordermarkt, admired the changing colors of the leaves, hung out in Spitalfields in London with my sister and walked down the lovely Utrechtsestraat.
A lucky fifth trip to London in November (see favorites) included brunch at The Table, eyeing the Christmas decorations at Covent Garden, stopping for a quick coffee at Monmouth Coffee, popping into the independent shops (like Jessie and Buddug, Elphicks for prints, Suck and Chew for traditional British sweets, Ryantown and Treacle for cupcakes and trinkets) along Columbia Road Flower Market, just to name a few.
Weekends included celebrating the Dutch holiday “Sinterklaas,” getting a Christmas tree and a last dinner with friends. Amsterdam Insights (December roundup here) included brunch at Cafe George, finding quiet places in Amsterdam, walked down the Brouwersgracht, discovered a new shop Options!, Additionally, I visited the Begijnhof, biked around the Nieuwmarkt, photographing the lights at Dam Square and the canals, marveled at a beautiful sunset and spent an afternoon at Roest.
It was a busy month at Time Out Amsterdam – I helped at the Time Out Amsterdam ‘Best of Amsterdam’ Awards 2012 were hosted at the Heineken Experience, the December issue was published with all the winners, the 2012 Restaurant Guide hit the shelves and the January issue had to go to print before the holidays. A few of my photographs of Two For Joy Coffee Roasters were featured in the recently published book by Amsterdam NOW, a “luxurious city guide” for only E19.95. For now it’s been published in Dutch but hopefully an English guide will be published soon.
My sister came back home for the holidays on the 17th. We celebrated her and her twin brothers’ birthday with two beautiful cakes on the 21st and the house turned into a Christmas home as of the 22nd. Baking and decorating commenced, as did Gluhwein and Bailey drinking and movie watching. Christmas weekend was the best. As was a day spent in Amsterdam with my sister, and a daytrip to Ghent with the parents. New Years Eve was spent with friends, a long dinner and watching the fireworks on the roof, and New Years Day with family.
I can’t believe how great this year has been and I’m so curious to see what 2012 will bring! Happy New Year!