Once upon a time, two young Italian men decided to act on their vision of a vegetarian cafe with delicious and balanced meals to nourish bodies and minds, a place that could function as an inspiring chill out room as well as a podium for different artists. They called it H/eart.h, which sounds like the name of a long lost tribe of people, united by the love of art, musical gatherings, and tiramisu. An oasis in the buzzy Albert Cuypstraat, right in De Pijp, one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Amsterdam.
I’m a cafe person, and hardly a day goes by without paying a visit to one of my hangouts of choice. Usually the process of deciding which cafe to head to is quite simple: I know my favorites, and I am well-acquainted with their dynamics, their menu, their barristas. I do happen to have conditioned myself to work in public spaces, where the cacophony of conversations and crockery, and the smell of coffee being brewed have this magical property of making me focus. I’m a sort of pavlovian dog, specialty coffee being my trigger.
It was autumn and I had promised to make dinner. He remarked, please, anything but a cold salad. That was it. Anything but a cold salad for dinner.
This man knew my habits well. Believe it or not, a hearty salad ( still) is my favorite type of meal. The fact that he didn’t want to eat one didn’t bother me, that day. Somehow, I didn’t feel like eating a mix of veggies, grains and leaves either. I’ll improvise something, I replied. Next thing I knew, I was buying a bag of creamy potatoes at the supermarket. And kale. And two sausages.
The first thing you notice when you come in is this intense smell of cake – grandma style. Second thing: the friendliness of the girl behind the counter. She has a frank and welcoming smile and the very fact she is baking cake makes her adorable. Finally, ( in case you didn’t know it in advance): everything here is vegan. This is like you’re jumping into a witch-free version of Hansel and Gretel’s tale.
A few days ago I got a wordpress notification letting me know it was my 3rd birthday within the community. It was funny to realize that I started the Amsterdive project precisely 3 years ago and that I only really went for it this year. That’s quite a delay.
Right now, I’m sitting at Rum Baba, at the Pretoriusstraat in Amsterdam East, as I used to, when I lived in the area, and I just had this epiphany of how this place played a special part in the Amsterdive’s kick-start.
I love the feeling of being in love. I guess most people reckon with this. That’s why I want to talk about it while it’s still hot and burning.
With this late-tropical summer we are facing, I’m sure a lot of our original plans are going to be replaced by outdoors options. Anyway, the program for this week looks like an exciting one (as usual), so maybe we can find a compromise between sunbathing / barbecuing and feeding mind / soul. Yes, vitamin D is also very necessary to the soul but well, you know what I mean, right? Don’t forget that the names of the events include a link to its website, and free events are signaled as well. And we’ll start out tonight in the best of fashions, with the fiery rhythms of my dear friends Guzanghida.
One of the best perks of adulthood should be the love of Sundays. I mean, when i remember about how i used to detest them, i have an immediate feel of relief i’m out of that place. Now that i think about it, loving a Sunday is easy when you don’t have a deadly hangover.
(for directly diving into the routes you can click ‘continue reading’ or scroll down)
I first published these routes three years ago. Yes, Amsterdive started back in 2013 but somehow it took a cinderella nap until 2016, when i decided to just go for it. ‘Gewoon doen’ was the actual kick-start of this blog. In 2013, I was living in Amsterdam for one and a half-year and thrilled about touring my beloved ones around the city. Moving to Amsterdam meant starting to have people over very frequently. Think of family, friends, high school former colleagues, couchsurfers, you name it.
I wondered much if i should erase this post or not, for a number of different reasons. If i were to write such an article today, i would just cover alternative routes. Those are the areas of the city i am most passionate about (if that’s your case, scroll down to routes 6 and 7, in the end of the article). Furthermore i feel there’s a sort of saturation in the media covering the main routes of Amsterdam, and there are enough websites doing a great job in that manner. My goal with Amsterdive is not to extensively cover the city but rather selecting and highlighting the places i find unique, and ultimately make me happy. While doing this i want to tell stories about the possibilities of life over here, from my personal perspective. Since i am very interested in arts & culture, tradition & crafts, vintage & second-hand places, biological & vegetarian places, you are going to find much of it here.
My contribution as a blogger should be as original as possible, that’s how i believe i can enrich this whole ‘Amsterdam conversation’. It is possible that my blog reaches people interested in exploring the city, whether travellers or locals. In this sense i would feel happy if i could inspire people to dive into the authentic life of the city, which is something that manifests itself in plentifully different ways. If, through my own experience, i can trigger someone to discover less mainstream places, off-the beaten tracks and hidden gems in the city, all the better.
At a certain point, the host of this iFly KLM video says that Amsterdam’s inhabitants are usually proud to live in it. The video is self-explanatory.