Religious Atheists.

Ask almost any Tokyoite and they’ll tell you ‘I’m not religious’. ‘Don’t ask me if I’m Shinto or Buddhist. I’ll be very embarrassed’, said our guide in Asakusa. But shrines and temples litter the city – they are everywhere, in the corners of car parks, on busy streets, down alleys, surrounded by high towers and modern buildings; we come across them in the most unlikely … Continue reading Religious Atheists.

On A Budget? Eating Out In Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a ‘feest voor het oog’ (sight for sore eyes, as the Dutch say) but it’s not a cheap city to visit. Unless you know where to look. We’ve all been there – strange place, hungry, but no idea where to go. Tourist traps abound in Amsterdam.  But the following are my favourite places: nice places – with a good atmosphere – where you can eat at … Continue reading On A Budget? Eating Out In Amsterdam.

I Like Driving In My Car – Not!

Learning To Drive In Amsterdam.  I have never been good at doing more than one thing at once. At any aerobics class, I’ll be at the back, stumbling blindly, legs and arms incapable of coordinated movement. In my one attempt at skiing, years back, I snow-ploughed down mountains while everyone else did nifty parallel turns, and still I managed to knock one poor soul down … Continue reading I Like Driving In My Car – Not!

Bos en Lommer. Not Your Typical Amsterdam.

Our third Airbnb address in as many months was in Bos en Lommer. Or BoLo as it’s called nowadays. There is nothing much in BoLo. Most tourists probably never venture this far west but maybe that in itself is enough of a reason to give it a go. At first glance it appears uninviting, nondescript even, but delve a little deeper and BoLo doesn’t seem … Continue reading Bos en Lommer. Not Your Typical Amsterdam.

Thoughts On A Nomadic Life.

It’s strange being settled for a while. We thought we’d be in Amsterdam for three months. Turns out it will be six. That’s the longest we’ve stayed anywhere in the last eight years. There are many advantages – for a while I have a semblance of routine. ‘Autumn is a time to let go’ my yoga newsletter told me. I don’t have any problem with … Continue reading Thoughts On A Nomadic Life.

The Night Watch.

Rembrandt and Amsterdam go together hand in glove. The Rijksmuseum has over two million visitors a year, and it’s a safe bet that all of them spend a few seconds in front of ‘The Night Watch’, his seventeenth-century masterpiece. But the painting has a doppelgänger. On the Rembrandtsplein, overlooked by the master himself, all of the twenty-two characters in the painting are cast in bronze, … Continue reading The Night Watch.

I Do Like A Nice Bit Of Cheese…

  ‘When they told me were mounting an exhibition of artworks with cheese as the subject I thought there can’t be that many paintings of the yellow stuff’, Oscar, a volunteer at the Stadsmuseum Woerden told me. I thought the same. My interest was piqued. And now, here we both were, he leading and me listening. Everyone knows that cheese and Holland go together. Cheese is … Continue reading I Do Like A Nice Bit Of Cheese…

Foodie Heaven: A Tour of Amsterdam’s De Pijp.

Breakfast: Omelegg. For a great start to the day, omelettes of every description. Leaving Omelegg, turn right and walk up the Ferdinand Bolstraat to the Albert Cuyp Market, after 350 metres on the right. The best known market in Holland, and with over 260 stalls, possibly the largest day market in Europe. When the fish stalls close down for the day, and the street is … Continue reading Foodie Heaven: A Tour of Amsterdam’s De Pijp.

Home. In Amsterdam.

In October, in autumn as the leaves were turning, we lived for a month in ‘de Pijp’, Amsterdam’s southern bohemian shabby-chic neighbourhood. I’ve always loved the Pijp. I thought I knew it, but I didn’t really. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, the broad Albert Cuypstraat bereft of it’s famous street market and all of it’s charm. Oceans of tarmac, shuttered shops, a few parked cars … Continue reading Home. In Amsterdam.