We lived  a short while  on the corner of Herrit van der veen straat and Beethoven Straat, in Amsterdam.    The best cheese shop in Holland was a few steps away.  Just a little further down  Beethoven Straatt was the best butcher shop –   Willum the butcher.

Down the street was my favorite shop.  The most elegant and decadent of chocolate shops.  Along with  the most heavenly selection  of chocolates  were exquisitely created cakes and desserts.  Life truly became a box of chocolates.

The flowers in Amsterdam were so magnificent, so plentiful and so inexpensive.   Ten feet from our apartment door a flower seller set up his displays  every morning.   We never needed an excuse to  catch the tram to the open air Albert Cuypmarkt or  the Flower Market on the Singel Canal  to find  the perfect flowers.

Our favorite florist gave me the two best tips when arranging flowers, and having them last.    I pass them on to you.

One –  don’t use too much water.   Don’t fill your vase with water. The stems need to breathe.

And two –  cut the ends of the flowers every day.  They self-heal –  cutting off the water flow.

Following this expert advice I have had roses last up to two weeks.  And, Casa Blanca lilies last even longer.



  1. Dear Bel’Occhio…I very much enjoy your sharings…having been introduced by our friend in common – “jane”. I am originally from Regina – but not there during Roxy’s time…darn! I had the privilege of enjoying Amsterdam for one day only…but your pics brought back lovely memories. From one of those flower shops I brought back lily bulbs which bloom profusely each year in my daughter’s patio garden. I’m drooling over your spinach pie…
    Thank you, Judy

  2. Virginia, I didn’t know you lived in Amsterdam! So did we! Wasn’t it fabulous? And you’re so right about all the wonderful flower stalls – and you had to learn to carry your bouquet home the “Amsterdam way” – upside down! Thanks for the flower-arranging tips – I didn’t know those. ~Terri

    • It was certainly a different lifestyle. Although we lived in a large apartment (two floors), and the kitchen was enormous with a big fridge, I adopted the Dutch way of shopping daily for groceries( Albert Heign Market was just across the street). V.

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