Take a Walk. Or Ride a Bike

Bike-only parking lot near Central Station in Amsterdam

We went to Amsterdam a few weeks ago, where we ate a ton of great Mediterranean and Italian food. While we were there, we were blown away by how many people rode bikes. I don’t mean in a recreational sense, I mean that EVERYONE rode their bikes everywhere. We went to the Dutch version of Wall Street during morning rush hour, and we saw dozens of middle-aged bankers and traders in expensive suits riding their bikes to their offices. Why don’t we do more of that here? Continue reading

Peer pressure

Cucumber yoghurt salad from Bella Napoli in Amsterdam

I’ve noticed that women in the Netherlands seem more relaxed than women in America. Women there dress in loose-fitting clothes, don’t wear noticeable makeup, wear their hair in its natural style, and always seem to be smiling while riding their bikes in heels or boots. In America, I spend at least a half an hour every morning primping, but since I’ve been in Amsterdam, I’ve spent a total of 20 minutes on my hair and have completely given up makeup. But yet, somehow, I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. Continue reading

Are American grocery stores making us gain weight?

One of the few choices in the frozen foods section in Amsterdam

My fiance and I are on a two-week holiday in Amsterdam. We are house-sitting for my fiance’s sister, so we feel less like tourists and more like short-term residents. This is my first time in the Netherlands so I’ve been amazed at the city’s seriously inspiring biking habit and the ubiquity of kebab houses (which are amazing!).

Since we have a full kitchen, my fiance decided he had to get his hands dirty so we ventured out to the grocery store for some goodies. We entered the store next to the massive produce section, grabbed a few vegetables and some bananas and moved onto the deli section. The deli was chock full of fresh meats and aged cheeses–the Dutch really seem to love their cheese! We found bread next to the deli, not bagged bread that had been mass-produced and shipped to the store, but freshly baked bread that was bagged by the bakers in-house. We wanted some yogurt and decided on a raspberry drinkable kind. Even though the ingredients labels were in Dutch, the list was so much shorter than our American yogurt–there were just three or four ingredients! Continue reading