Although some Amsterdammers are brightening the urban landscape with their turquoise delight, on this dark and stormy Friday others are more into keeping it dark and classic. We can’t have enough black coats, jeans, and boots to match our black bikes.
We don’t need much gear for cycling in the rain – maybe a poncho if you remember to grab it as you rush out the door. Sometimes I see rainpants. Or huge capes.
Umbrellas are pretty common too – again, if you remember it. This little girl has it figured out:
- get comfy in the cargo bike
- shield yourself from the rain with a bright and super cute umbrella
- relax and let mom do all the work
One of my favourite spots to work is Brazuca Coffee on Ferdinand Bol and Ceintuurbaan. Not only do they offer excellent and curiously strong coffee – but it comes with a fantastic and exciting view of one of the busiest intersections in Amsterdam. And will only get busier with the new metro line opening up across the street.
Watching all the movement on this intersection is mesmerising. It looks like a whole lot of chaos – with people walking, driving, cycling all over the place – but it’s actually highly organised. I never see any crashes, or even close-calls.
Now that’s what I call entertainment.
“In Paris, people care a lot about the quality of food. In Amsterdam the price or quantity of food is sometimes more important. But it seems to be changing. Amsterdammers care more and more about good ingredients and are happy to pay a bit more for high quality food or drinks. That’s why I opened my patisserie here last year. I want to introduce Amsterdammers to the art of French pastry making. ” Parisian Audrey Krief is the owner of ‘My Little Patisserie’ in De Pijp. ‘My Little Patisserie’ is a small café with the best éclairs I have ever tasted. Audrey learned to make patisserie in the French capital and now cycles every day on her VanMoof bike to her own cafe to make these little delights for Dutchies. We asked her to be our Cyclist of the Month.
Paris in Amsterdam
When you enter My Little Patisserie, you feel like being in Paris. French magazines, a map of Paris on the wall and often you hear people speaking French. Audrey: “It’s nice how many customers start speaking French to me. Almost all Dutch people learned it at high school and here in this little French place, they like to practice. Often my conversations go from French to English to Dutch without us even noticing that we spoke so many different languages.”
“I started my career in the movie industry. I worked for 4 years in Australia and New Zealand. When I came back to Paris, I wanted to learn something new. I wanted to make something instead of sitting behind my computer.” That’s why Audrey decided to learn the art of patisserie making at the Ecole de Boulangerie et de Pâtisserie de Paris. After that she worked in a famous Parisian patisserie. “It had always been my dream to start my own business. This dream came true last December, when I opened this place in De Pijp.”
Amsterdam vs. Paris
“I love living in Amsterdam. Amsterdammers are more relaxed than Parisians. I think cycling really contributes to this relaxed lifestyle. In Paris you see people during their long commutes sitting unhappy in full metros or buses. In Amsterdam people spend their energy on cycling instead of on being frustrated or angry. The smaller size of the city and the more relaxed atmosphere makes the quality of life in Amsterdam higher than in Paris. I do miss the great shopping in Paris. Clothes, food, patisserie, there is so much choice there!”
Thank you Audrey for bringing this sweet part of French cuisine to Amsterdam. Eating an éclair au chocolat or choux vanille fraise et rose once in a while, definitely makes the quality of life in our city even better!
Wieger and Anne Marie love to go out for dinner, visit art galleries, and look for nice boutique hotels or B&B’s for their next city trip. So why not turn their passion into their work? That’s what they did, they started their own B&B in a typical Amsterdam house in the popular neighbourhood De Pijp. It is called Ollies Bed and Breakfast. The breakfast is lovely, they have cool photography in the rooms and they made their own mini-guide of the city so that their guests can enjoy Amsterdam as much as they do.
Food and Art
Wieger and Anne Marie love art. The museum district is only a 5 minute walk from their B&B. Wieger: “The Rijksmuseum is really a must see, both for the art and for the cool designed building. It is amazingly done.” Anne Marie: “But we actually prefer to visit art galleries and especially photography galleries. In weekends we love to walk around de Spiegelkwartier. We always pay a visit to Jaski Art Gallery and the Yellow Korner.” The Spiegelkwartier has been the heart of the art and antiques trade for the past 80 years with over 70 specialised art and antique dealers.
Their other hobby is to go out for dinner. Anne Marie: “We love restaurant Sent just across the street. It is a small and lovely place where they cook with a Green Egg. But we have so many other favourites like Vis aan de Schelde [Close to RAI. “Michelin-star quality food, and a very relaxed atmosphere”], Toscanini in the Jordaan [a very popular Italian place, so make sure to make a reservation], ‘French-bistro-style’ restaurant Rijsel in a side street of the Amstel, fine dining at Fyra just off Vijzelgracht and Bar Americano [along the Amstel, where you can eat Italian food and stay till late at night for drinks at the bar].”
What to do in Amsterdam
Wieger calls himself an Amsterdamophile: “Amsterdam is the best city to live in. The size is perfect, everything is walking distance. And after living here for almost fifteen years, I still enjoy the beauty of the city.” Anne Marie: “There is always something nice to do in Amsterdam; concerts, expositions, new pop-up stores opening and there are many festivals. I am not that much into electronic music festivals but I love food and art festivals like De Rollende Keukens in the Westerpark, the Food Soul Festival and the Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam-Noord. For shopping I recommend the 9 Straatjes and the Pijp. Just a few minutes’ walk from our B&B you have the Gerard Doustraat. Since a few years a lot of nice stores have opened there. It is becoming very trendy.”
Bikes and Boats
“The best way to see Amsterdam is by bike or boat”, says Wieger. “My favourite cycling spots are the Vondelpark, the old canals and the cycle path under the Rijksmuseum.” Anne Marie: “On sunny days we take a boat, bring some food and drinks, friends and nice music and sail through the canals.” They would both recommend tourists to rent a bike and go through the city like locals do. Wieger: “I think it is recommendable for tourists to plan their cycling trip a bit before they start cycling. Cycling can be quite hectic. But there are nice routes and neighbourhoods like the Jordaan are great to discover by bike.”
Ollie’s Bed and Breakfast
Ollie’s Bed and Breakfast has got three rooms. Anne Marie and Wieger live on the first and second floor and the rooms are on the third and fourth floor of a typical ‘de Pijp’ building with steep stairs in a cosy street. “Working together is going really well. We have a good division of tasks but we also work a lot together,” says Anne Marie. Wieger: “We have the same taste of style and paid a lot of attention to detail when furbishing the room. We would love to have guests over who share our taste for interior design and our love for photography.”
Dressed to the nines with black heels and all, this VANMOOF dame is heading out on the town!