Hair flies free here. Blue hair included.
Finally the first real spring days! And what do you do? Ride to your local park and chill out. At the Sarphati Park, in De Pijp, you could barely see the grass. Bikes and people everywhere. Oh ya.
“There are more and more tourists in Amsterdam. And what I see quite often is that the kids of tourists are playing on an IPad or checking their phones, or they are simply bored when waiting in a restaurant. That’s why Charlotte and I decided to make the book ‘Hotel Kids Only’. With this book we want to activate the creativity of kids and at the same time ‘teach’ them something about Amsterdam. It is the perfect book for young children who visit Amsterdam for a holiday, for the kids of expats and as a nice souvenir to bring home after an Amsterdam visit.”
Hotel Kids Only
The book ‘Hotel Kids Only’ is filled with fun things for kids to do; Game of the Goose along Amsterdam’s canals, a colouring picture of Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch, a map of the city for kids, amongst many other things. It is the perfect way for children to spend hours in their hotel rooms, on the plane to Amsterdam or waiting in restaurants or cafes. Ingrid: “Of course there are many bikes in the book too; there is a game where you have to count all the bicycles, there are bikes in the memory game, and in the ‘Game of the Goose’ you miss a turn when you stand on the ‘bike fell in the canal’ field.”
Ingrid the designer
Ingrid Robers (ingridrobers.com) is an illustrator and designer, she does a lot of illustrations for children. Ingrid: “I had not always planned to do so many children’s illustrations. I don’t have kids, I like kids just as I like other people, but I like the creative and pure mind they have. When I make illustrations for children I always think of my own childhood. What did I like when I was a kid? When making this book I also looked at the city imagining I were still a child. What would draw my attention?” The other author of the book ‘Hotel Kids Only’ is Charlotte Borggreve, she founded the well-known ‘Kinderkookkafé’ (restaurant where children cook), and together they wrote another book ‘Kookologie’ (a playful cookery book for kids).
Amsterdam city centre
Ingrid lives in the city centre of Amsterdam, just a 5 minute walk from the Central Station, in a ‘red light alley’ near Spuistraat. “I live in this apartment for almost 17 years and I love the neighbourhood. Even though the area is becoming more and more touristic, it still has a local feel. I actually became friends with quite a few neighbours. When the weather is nice we take chairs out and sit in front of our houses with a glass of wine. One neighbour lives on a typical Amsterdam house boat, that is also a great spot to hang out in summer. The ladies who work in the red light district are my next door neighbours. Most of them work in this alley for many years. So in these past 17 years, I really got to know them.”
Ingrid’s Amsterdam tips
Ingrid does most of her grocery shopping at the many markets in de Jordaan (the Lindengracht, the Noordermarkt and the Westerstraat). Another area she likes is the Zeedijk (Amsterdam’s Chinatown) “There are great Thai and Chinese restaurants in that street. My favourite store is the Chinese department store Dun Yong, a three story building full of Chinese food and other products. I love to go there and try food I don’t know. The nice thing is that they have little cards with information about each product.” When Ingrid has meetings for work she mostly goes to café Kobalt, where they have nice coffees and a relaxed atmosphere. Her favourite bar in the area is ‘Café In de Wildeman’: “It is a typical brown café with many different beers. There is a nice mix of locals and tourists and always when I go there I end up talking to new people or neighbours, it is a place I even go alone, because there is always someone to chat to.”
The mist rolls in and back go our gloves and scarves. Let’s hope it’s just for a day! I will miss all the layers and a good animal print.
…9 days until Spring!
The other day I was riding down Vijzelstraat towards the city centre. As I was approaching the Prinsengracht (a one-way and precisely here), I slowed down, looked for on-coming cars and bikes from the left and right… and kept riding.
Yes, I knowingly rode through a red light. In Amsterdam. The capital of red-light-running. I know, that doesn’t make it ok.
A police car followed me, pulled me over, and proceeded to lecture me about how it’s unsafe, especially “because a police car was parked at the intersection.”
And then he actually asked me if he could give me a fine of €97. I had already argued my side by saying I felt safe, so I didn’t argue further. But could I have said no? I wonder.
So watch out Amsterdammers. They’re out to get ya!
Stand out from the crowd with bright, wild, neon colours! Make your bike a masterpiece.
Give a lift, or carry your friend’s bag. These two friends have it down.
When I first moved here 2.5 years ago I always carried an umbrella. People forewarned me of the climate here and briefed me to be prepared. But after the years I just got used to the basics ( I couldn’t bring myself to put on waterproof pants anymore and listen to the swooshing noise it made as I walked!). This entire Winter has definitely been cleansed from the heavens regularly – I have lived in my worn my knee-high trusty rain boots and olive green raincoat pretty much every day…the staple uniform! :) I decided to turn a negative thing into a positive fashion choice.
For others, practicality kicks in and a soggy seat is solved with a shopping bag as a cover. I have even seem bags worn as rainhats! (and very eager to catch it on camera).
With grey misty skies, a low sun and the leaves all fallen from the trees, the canals seem almost monochrome. It’s part of our daily lives here in Amsterdam and the city wouldn’t be the same without it x
I caught these Amsterdammers going though the Rijksmuseum bike path, enjoying today’s sunny chill and riding fast through the tunnel. So many people out and about on their bikes today. Babies, bakfiets, lovers, and friends — I love that no matter the weather, we keep on peddling.