It was an unbelievably warm, and well lit late October morning by the time Jan and I reached the northern city of Zaandam. We set off before sunrise in hopes of meeting meet Kim and Ibrahim for some perfect morning light at Zaanse Schans. But by 8 AM Jan and I had been awake for hours, missed a bus, tripped up some stairs, and hopped on a train not really sure where we’d end up.
Well we ended up here, in front of this famous hotel — a good hours walk from our destination. So we decided to stop and take some pictures before figuring out how to get to the windmills.
I could watch the light play with the curves and angles of this building all day…
but we only stayed a few minutes.
We then got on a bus, which we took two stops too far (in hindsight, we should have been more caffeinated that morning). So we weaved our way through a neighborhood of quaint little houses nestled alongside an industrial park. It was charming nonetheless.
It was halloween, but it felt more like a mid may morning. If you were to close your eyes, the only clue that it was indeed fall would be the sound of rustling of leaves, and the damp smell of dew on the ones that had fallen.
We had hoped to arrive to Zaanse Schans before the bulk of the tourists, but we got there around 10, just about the same time thanks to our multiple detours. Luckily, I was able to capture a few shots of the morning light tourist-free.
Then, it got quite crowded.
But we can’t really complain. We were all tourists that day. Hi Kim & Jan!
So we headed out to the main attraction.
From behind the late morning light cast a dark shadow on the windmills, leaving them mere silhouettes. I watched this man crank at a wheel in the back for quite some time, then saunter to the side and soak up the view as the blades spun around him.
Peek-a-boo, it’s Jan.
The light was harsh, but I got a lens flare out of it — much to Ibrahim’s liking.
I also caught Jan multitasking…
and weirded out a couple of kids.
Even though this place is a pretty kitch-y tourist trap, you kind of can’t help but love it.
An authentic Dutch door.
A memory from the golden age of post.
Jan stopped squirming for about 30 seconds to let me snap some photos that actually showed his face.
Then, went back to his usual pose.
Ibrahim continued to do what he does best (hide from the camera that is). But that’s okay, because he does some pretty awesome work from behind it.
We finished up the day with coffee, and some dangerously delicious shots of liquor from the on-site distillery. And luckily, Jan and I made it home safely, without detours — unlike our trip there.
I have to say, the last place I thought I would meet friends when moving to the Netherlands was Instagram. There’s nothing I love more than a good story, and taking photos. So getting to meet people from all walks of life, and who enjoy the same things has been a great opportunity.
So, who wants to join for the next adventure?