Amsterdam City Blog restaurants, shops, people and life in Amsterdam


A ring, theatre roulette and Voltt

Oh my, how fast August has sped by! And there were so many highlights in between the relaxing, what to share first?

- Let's start with love. On a sunny Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, Levi invited me to the Vondelpark for a picnic. He'd picked an odd place to sit though, because we usually sit somewhere else. I said to him when he explained where he was on the phone: "That's where you and I met, nearly six years ago!" And he replied with an ever so innocent: "Oh really?"

Turns out this was no coincidence. While enjoying luxurious bites from Opera Prima (Kinkerstraat, Amsterdam) in the sunshine, he suddenly produced a tiny box and proposed. Complete the picture with our song, champagne, dinner reservations and tears and you're there. I am now wearing a lovely silver ring with two lovebirds that he went to great trouble to find and just thinking about that perfect afternoon (well, the entire weekend, actually) makes me happy all over again.

Yes, I'll happily spend the rest of my life with you!

A glorious day at De Parade in Amsterdam- The Parade in the Martin Luther King Park is one of our favourite things each year. It seems to get busier each year, but we love the romantic atmosphere, the merry-go-round, the lights, the food and the joyous creativity.

We always try our luck with the shows and this year opted for Keet! (a hilarious trip down memory lane) and 3: The Garden. The latter was at times brilliant: a caleidoscope of movement, a well-oiled machine of six human bodies, and at times it was completely  incomprehensible (the spoken words? The body paint?). Intriguing to say the least!

A rare sliver of sunshine during Voltt Loves Summer festival at NDSM wharf in Amsterdam Noord
- And then last weekend there was the Voltt Loves Summer festival at the NDSM wharf in Amsterdam Noord. Gods, the weather was terrible. Slivers of sunshine wedged in between bouts of pouring rain. I made good use of my wellies and  rainponcho (Halfords, E2,50). We enjoyed Robag Wruhme in the tent and thought Gaiser Live at the main stage was the absolute shit!

- Of course something as abominable as the weather cannot ruin a festival if you have friends who make the day worthwhile. We had a great time!

- Just yesterday I had dinner and went to a movie with my friend Robbie, who I hadn't seen in a while. I had such a lovely time, I'm immensely thankful that once in a while I get to connect with people I care about. Thank you.



Theatre, fun and romance at De Parade

Merry-go-round at De Parade in AmsterdamEvery year De Parade tours the four big cities in the Netherlands: The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam. It's a festival that offers performing arts (theatre, dance, singing, even magic), food and fun, all wrapped up in an old-fashioned carnival setting. Theatres, restaurants and restrooms are set up in tents on the site of the Martin Luther King park in Amsterdam.

Levi and I go every year. We love the romantic atmosphere, the merry-go-round, the poffertjes, the old-fashioned candy stall. The performing artists regularly tour the grounds, dressed up and promoting their shows. The success of De Parade is largely dependent on the weather. We lucked out with dry weather and a few rays of sun on Friday!Eating at Amaro in the open air at De Parade

Foodwise, there's a lot to choose from: Sushi, woodfired pizza, a tempurabar, Italian restaurant Lust, Mediterranean food at Amaro and I'm probably still forgetting a few. After dinner you can satisfy your sweet tooth with some ice cream, a coffee from the Douwe Egberts tent (expect to pay a deposit for the earthenware coffee cup) or a batch of poffertjes, that you get to bake yourself. I love poffertjes!

We saw two shows this year. We originally only bought tickets for one, called Moulin Rouge (tickets were E8,50 a piece), knowing the story I expected something exciting and sexy, but it was a dud. The tapdancing was fun, the accordeon and the violin were ok too, but the story was awfully told and the opera singing brought the tempo way down. The supposedly jawdroppingly beautiful Mimi looked like a dowdy housewife in an unflattering dress with too much bling. For some reason, she did not speak, only sing. By comparison, the male lead only spoke and rarely sang. He talked a lot. It lasted 35 minutes but Levi and I were both bored halfway through.

Anatomica #1 by Danceworks at De Parade 2011Coming out of the tent, we decided we had to see another show, to make up for this godawful one. While we were waiting to be let into the Moulin Rouge tent, we had heard the people in the neighbouring tent clapping and cheering loudly. We decided to take a chance and see whatever was going on there. It turned out to be a piece called Anatomica #1, by a company called Danceworks (ticket for this show: E9,-). What Moulin Rouge lacked in the sexy department, Anatomica had in spades. It was seductive, physical, embarrassingly sensual, funny and wholly captivating.

Festival opens at 3pm. Tickets for the festival are E7,-. Admission is free until 4pm. De Parade is in town until Sunday 21 August. Go see!

De Parade
Martin Luther King Park
(there's button for English at the bottom of the menu on the left)