Amsterdam Light Festival

Sometimes I do stupid things. . . On Saturday, B and I had the ultimate awesome date-day planned. We woke up, went to a 2-hour Pilates class, and then came home absolutely famished. B kindly offered to make us a meal, so in return I offered to treat us to a movie. I’d gotten some free movie passes from a holiday work party, and we’d been saving them to see The Wolf of Wall Street. After devouring some amazing tapas (which I will tell you all about later this week) we got ready to hit the town. We were about to leave the house when I realized, stupidly, that I had left our movie passes in the office. . . which was locked, as it was a Saturday. Doh! We could have still gone to the movies, but we wanted to save the passes for The Wolf. I was bummed, but B was awesome. He suggested instead we go for a long walk, along the Amsterdam Light Festival route. Not minding one bit I’d stupidly left our movie passes in the office. I’ve got a keeper :)

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an outdoor light exhibition that is set up along the canals every year. There are more than 30 light sculptures and projections that can only be viewed at night. This was the last weekend of the 2013/14 festival, but never fear, as it occurs every year and lasts for about 50 days. So you can always catch the lights next year! The route wraps around the city and you can take a guided boat tour along the canals to look at the lights. As B and I had an open evening and plenty of time to spare (not to mention we’d just devoured enough tapas to feed half of Spain), we decided to walk.IMG_9006We started our light tour along the Amstel River, in the south by The Amstel Hotel. B offered to play cameraman for the evening, so he gets full credit for taking all of these beautiful photos. And not only did he capture some brilliant images of the lights, he also took some stunning photos of Amsterdam’s well-lit historical buildings and attractions along the way. IMG_9011The first installation was also my favorite – a large neon light sculpture glowing in every color. From afar the structure looked round and 3D, but as you got closer and eventually stood parallel to the installation, you realized it was intact flat! I loved the play on perspective and the rainbow lights bouncing off of the water.IMG_9017IMG_9031IMG_9022IMG_9036We continued our walk along the Amstel, up towards the next installation.IMG_9041Which was a bit lost on us, as we somehow landed on the wrong side of the canal to see the projections!output_PzA5VvWe did however enjoy pretending to be chameleons along the wall, morphing from red to green to blue! IMG_9060The next installation was at the Botanical Garden, a big greenhouse with white, flashing strobe lights. It here we first noticed the full moon, complimenting the exhibit’s bright, white lights.IMG_9079IMG_9064We walked up towards the Maritime Museum, which I’d first been to during Museum Nacht back in November.IMG_9075All of the ships were lit with twinkle lights or projections on their sails. IMG_9085We headed over a pedestrian bridge in front of NEMO, towards Central Station and the last two light exhibits.IMG_9094^^ This photo is my favorite from the evening. All night we walked along the canals, admiring how the light refracted against the water. Then, we reached this installation – the only one not surrounded by a body of water. However, B still managed to find a unique angle, capturing the installation’s colorful reflection in a puddle. IMG_9097^ ^ I had noticed this glowing golf ball a few weeks ago when I got in from Boston, and didn’t realize it was part of the Light Festival. Doesn’t it kind of remind you of the big, round ball at Epcot in Florida?IMG_9100We could have continued along the route, but we had already been walking for two hours, and decided it was a good time to walk back down the Damrak and head home. If you’re interested in visiting Amsterdam’s Light Festival, you can find more about the program here. B and I really enjoyed the light festival – it was an unexpected evening spent roaming the city, enjoying a free open air art exhibit. . . only in Amsterdam! xo Ali

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