Amsterdam: The Begijnhof

When I travel, I pretty much like to hit the ground running as soon as I arrive. I tell myself that I’ll just walk around and acclimate, get some sun and a feel for the city, but inevitably I end up wanting to check some places off my list too.

That’s how I found myself at the Begijnhof, an oasis of calm founded in the Middle Ages that I’d read in Nat Geo’s “I Heart My City: Keith’s Amsterdam,” which was an ideal first stop in the city. As I sauntered in, a wedding party was just emerging from the small church, toting pastel balloons, taking pictures, and talking quietly. I tried to watch from a discreet distance and also looked up through the trees at the top windows of the houses surrounding the small square. The general hush of the place was soothing, so I found a bench and just sat and breathed it all in.

amsterdam begijnhof

Imagine how a light, cool breeze must feel wafting in
through those partly open windows.

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