Summer has arrived here, in full swing for the past two days. I’ve dug my flip flops out of hiding and remembered to slather on sunscreen, and Jesse and I have been doing our best to be outside a lot. Because really, it’s been a rotten spring. My poor parents had horrible weather for their visit, and even our friends last week had to wear jackets and carry umbrellas!

But summer is here (for now), and I’m enjoying it completely. I’ve made iced tea, we’ve eaten salads for dinner, and I already cut off a pair of pants into shorts. Because that’s what you do in summer.

It’s been fun watching Amsterdammers embrace the sunny weather. This city, though it be covered in rain and mist most of the year, is made for nice weather. It’s awash with cafe terraces, canal sides, benches, and green spots, all inviting you to sit…relax for awhile. As soon as the sun pops out everyone does their best to be outside. The number of boats on the canals has tripled, and the cafes have unfurled their outdoor tables and umbrellas. The same thing happens in Portland on a sunny day, but somehow Amsterdam embraces it in a different way. It’s all just a bit more…gezellig.

On our evening walks I’ve gotten a kick out of seeing people on every balcony, sitting on their front stoop, hanging out a window, or pulling a table outside for the family dinner. Beers are enjoyed on a canalside terrace while the sun slowly drops behind a building. The light lingers for a long time lately–it’s already past 10, and the sun is just now setting. The sky is lit with pink and orange, and it reflects off the canals as the smell of something grilled wafts by.

It’s summer in Amsterdam.

(These pictures are both from last summer, as I’ve been too enraptured by the sun the past few days to bother carrying my camera anywhere.)