Anatomy of a Sunday in Nieuw-West

This article comes a couple of days later than expected. In fact its completion was a challenge as i only have one available hand for typing. The other got swollen as hell after a wasp stung on Monday morning, while i was cycling to the coffee place, to work. It was fierce, and still after some strong medicine and rest – and being high half of the time -, it looks red as a bell pepper. Well, despite everything, i’m very happy the blog post is ready! So i won’t make you wait anymore.

Our morning started out at Coffee Room, a place where we really like to have breakfast at. What struck me at first was how colorful their terrace was (i am a woman of simple requirements). I found their collection of unpaired old chairs, flower vases, and folkish table-cloths, the coziest scenario for me to read my book at. Inside, there are newspapers and magazines available (a must for the man i share my bed with). For us it’s pretty much it, colour, a “leestafel”, real food, with some healthy options, and friendly service. Formula for morning hapiness in an unpretentious atmosphere.

For coffee i like to walk next door, to Lot Sixty One, as i am officially addicted to specialty coffe and Lot is one of the best places for such potions in Amsterdam. If you’re there on a Monday, when they’re roasting the coffee beans, the smell is heaven on earth. Sadly i don’t have a picture of the place on the right format  to share here – blogger’s dramas -, but you can check out a couple of nice ones on my instagram.

Next stop, Ten Katemarkt, at the crossing of Kinkerstraat with the Ten Katestraat. We had had breakfast not so long ago but who cares? My belly here is always ready to accomodate some Rauw Loempias, which is basically the same as saying, fresh springrolls. In Amsterdam, market stalls are brilliant places for certain types of food (herring!, kibbeling!, stroopwaffles!), and the one specialized in vietnamese street food at Ten Kate is a great example of that.

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I have to mention this fascinating store we found on the way to the market, the Volkskruidentuin. An old-fashioned grocery store where you can find all sort of staples like herbs, legumes, grains, dried fruits, canned goods, and exotic products.This finding was of primary importance as no ingredient of my knowing is impossible to get there. Just take a look at those gorgeously full floor-to-ceiling shelves.

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The spring rolls were good fuel to our cycle to Sloterplas. I can almost see a frowned face in front of me, moaning, “Sloterplas? Is that even inside the ring?”. Well, no, in fact it is located at an excruciating thirty minute bike-ride from the city center, therefore only the bravest of Amsterdammers managed to ever make it there. The reward for these pioneers was of no small-scale: a big lake in the middle of nature which serves as an urban beach as well – a space free of crowds and tourists -; super tasty turkish and surinamese food at the shopping area nearby – at more affordable prices than in the center -; and last but not the least, De Meervaart Theater, a big cultural center with a great offer on theater, music, dance, well, you get the picture. My crystal ball tells me it will be, in ten years, an up and coming area, especially if we take into account how fast the city is growing. We ended up stuffing our faces with surinamese delicacies while having a somewhat redundant discussion about gentrification (again).

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On our way back we stopped at Mercatorplein for a tea at Cafe Zurich, which was a first for me. I must enounce how brilliant the restrooms there are (i just HAD TO add this vital piece of information to the article); you have the feeling you are at a spa somewhere in scandinavia.

Mercatorplein is an interesting area, arquitecture-wise. The buildings in this square belong to the “Amsterdamse School” style and their construction dates back to 1925 – 1927. The Amsterdam School is part of the expressionist arquitecture movement, and it was often applied to (social) working-class housing and local institutions. The use of bricks and carved stone, and the use of adornments in the facades, is typical of this type of construction, as well as details such as ladder windows, steep roofs, and little towers. All in all, these were big construction projects but they never look too massive – they do keep a sense of proportion with the city, instead.

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We checked out the photography exhibition organized by Foam, which is display in the middle of Mercatorplein and then, time to cycle home because: FOOD. Guess what, we were hungry again.

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