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.
We couldn’t decide. Should we go or not? It looked cold outside and the couch was calling. We’d got a stack of films recorded and food galore. On the other hand it wasn’t raining and we could get there direct from the tram stop outside the front door. We shrugged off the Christmas inertia, put on the layers and went for it. Sloterplas, the lake … Continue reading Taking The Plunge.
On a Sunday morning in November I stood on the Magere Brug in Amsterdam, surrounded by the under-tens, waiting for the Sint to roll up on his steamboat. The weather was throwing everything at us: showers, the occasional icy blast and an even more occasional burst of sunshine. The Sint probably wished he’d stayed in Spain, where he spends most of his year, but needs … Continue reading It’s Christmas!
Tokyo could make a (window) shopaholic out of me. I don’t want to buy, but I like looking. Ginza is high-end shopping. Bulgari, Cartier, De Beers, Sony, Nissan, Apple, but it was Ito-Ya stationery store that did it for me – these means to a creative end are artworks in themselves. Ink pens and glass pens. A pen care center. A paper concierge. Paper in … Continue reading Reflections In Ginza.
Apple pie goes back a long way. The first Dutch recipes appeared in the late 1400’s. That’s way before Rembrandt van Rijn and all those old masters. In Amsterdam, Dam Square and the Single existed, but none of the other main canals had even been thought of. Apple pie beat them all to it. Of course it was a little different then. The case or … Continue reading As Sweet As Apple Pie.
Amsterdam’s brown cafes are said to be timeless – but how useful would a 1969 guidebook be in the present day city? Stepping into my friend John’s apartment is like falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Walls lined with books waiting to transport the unsuspecting to worlds of fantasy and the realms of imagination. At the very least to a step back into the past. … Continue reading Amsterdam’s Brown Cafes – A Time Travellers Trip.