Monday, 27 February 2012

Never Tear Us Apart

This video will tell you where I was for the last 5 days... ;-)


 See you soon!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

At The Weerwater Lake

Last Sunday. At the Weerwater Lake.

From Coisas Minhas II

From Coisas Minhas II

Just Like Heaven (The Cure)

You, soft and only
You, lost and lonely 
You, strange as angels 
Dancing in the deepest oceans 
Twisting in the water 
You're just like a dream 
You're just like a dream

Friday, 10 February 2012

My A-Z of the Netherlands: B is for Bikes

When we think about The Netherlands, we think about bikes and cycling paths. It's one of the country's trademarks. This interesting video tells us how cycling became so common in The Netherlands almost 40 years ago.

I don't cycle like the Dutch do

I don't cycle when it's snowing, windy, rainy or cold. I generally take the bus. Almere has a very good bus network. The bus stop is just around the corner and every 7 minutes we have a bus to the city center. A much warmer and comfortable trip, don't you think? ;-)
I only use my bike for recreation purposes. I enjoy cycling, specially in the spring, nearby the canal. I stop here and there, have a picnic, watch the sunset, and come back. Heel leuk!
For the rest, I use the bus or the train. I don't need to use my bike as they show in the video below. However, I think it is very cool to do as they do it!

I don't have a long history with bikes

I had a bike when I was a child, but soon I stopped cycling. The primary school, as well as the high school, were just around the corner. Later, when I went to the University, the bus and the metro were my favourite means of transport. And they remain so for 20 years more.
My current bike was bought after two years living in The Netherlands. I didn't miss it at first because we were living in the city center. Everything was just there.

A sad episode

One day, I dared to go for a long ride and I even crossed a bridge. However, the experience didn't go so well. I was on the right side of the road when I saw that a motorbike was coming on the left side. So far, so good. I slowed down a bit. Then, another motorbike suddenly appears between me and the previous one and I saw myself with no space available to go forward. I was not expecting this and I got scared and fell. Nobody stopped or asked me if I was ok. Just for luck, my glasses didn't drop in the canal. Niet leuk! Now, I'm trying other routes. I have a lot of paths to discover yet.

The Dutch are Pros with their bikes

The Dutch are very professional when riding their bikes. I'm far from having their cycling confidence.
I don't see myself riding my bike and, at the same time, reading a sms, talking on the phone, reading a newspaper or holding an umbrella. For me, it's also difficult to stop at the stoplight, put the foot in the floor and then restart cycling. I need a sidewalk where I can lean on.

Everyday Life in a Bike

In this video, you will find very interesting moments, specially in the following minutes:

1.42  A lady riding a bike and watching her mobile phone.

2.20  A lady riding her bike with her bags behind and her child in the front.

5.09  A lady riding her bike with one child behind and another in the front.

5.28  A lady riding her bike with a front box and three children inside.

6.18  A lady riding a brommer, very useful for those who have problems with their legs or get tired easily.

7.53  Children, adults and old people cycling. This is Netherlands!!!

8.29  A housewife in her bike with several baskets.

8.34  A well dressed lady riding her bike, probably coming from her work.

Almere has an extensive cycling network

Almere offers great cycling conditions. An extensive network of free cycling paths covers the entire city. Bikes can be rented at Almere Centrum and Buiten train stations. The Spoorbaanpad in Almere is considered the longest urban cycle route of the country. The name means ‘Rail road path’ and refers to the fact that it follows the rail road for its entire length. For more details, please click here.

How we say "bike" in Dutch?

"Fiets"! You can't imagine my surprise when I've heard it for the first time. "That's so different!" I thought...

I would like to hear from you about your cycling experience in The Netherlands. Do you want to share it with us?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


February, 3

The front yard

From A-Z

On my way to the bus

From A-Z

The city center

From A-Z

A Bike in the Snow

From A-Z

Going to the Art Center

From A-Z
The Wave

From A-Z

The Weerwater Lake

From A-Z

From A-Z

The Silverline

From A-Z

My former street, when this blog had a view to the canal ;-)

From A-Z

From A-Z

Friday, 3 February 2012

My A-Z of The Netherlands: A is for Almere

(about My A-Z challenge)

A is for Almere, of course. The city I chose to live in The Netherlands, I was still in Portugal.

Almere is the youngest city of The Netherlands. Situated in Flevoland, the most recent province of the country, its first house was finished in 1976. Named after the early medieval name of the Zuiderzee, this garden-city is now the 7th largest municipality in The Netherlands with 191,495 citizens (9 May 2011). Almere offers contemporary architecture, several parks, woods and lakes, an exciting cultural environment and a relaxing and balanced life. Annemarie Jorristma-Lebbink, a former minister, has been the mayor of the city since 16 August 2003. Her party (VVD) is the same one of the current prime-minister, Mark Rutte.

Almere is Contemporary Architecture...

Almere Centrum (where we lived in the first two years)

From Almere (III)

Tussen de Vaarten (our current neighbourhood)

Two Face, by the Dutch NIO Architecten.

From A-Z

The New City Center

The Citadel (2006)

A shopping complex by the French architect Christian de Portzamparc.
A complex of 100 to 100 metres which is divided into four quadrants by two intersecting streets (for pedestrians). Above the car parks there are 50 shops. On top of the shops there are 46 colourful houses, and an apartment complex including 6 apartments and a parking lot for its residents. The terrace of La Place restaurant (on the top floor of warehouse V&D) provides a unique view of the Citadel.

From Almere (III)

From Almere (III)

The Lakeside Tower (2007)

A building in front of the Weerwater Lake, of the architect Bjarne Mastenbroek (SeARCH, Amsterdam).

From Almere (III)

The Smaragd (2007)

 Apartments and a store (Hema) designed by Gigon and Guyer.

From Almere (III)

The Skyline of Almere

 The Wave (2005) by the Dutch architect René van Zuuk.
 A dramatic wave-like facade, covered with silver anodized aluminum plate.

From A-Z

From A-Z

From A-Z

Side by Side (2007)

Two residential towers by the Dutch architect Frits van Dongen.
The towers facades were made of light blue coloured industrial glass. In the base of the towers, there's a winter garden, sauna and gym, especially for the residents. Moreover, there's a private swimming pool (you can see it from the outside), overlooking the lake Weerwater.

From A-Z

Silverline (2001)

An apartment tower designed by the Dutch Claus and Kaan Architects.
The top of this apartment tower surprisingly leans over lake Weerwater. However, the reason for this is simple: because most people like to live at the top or bottom of a tower, the top and foot of 'Silverline' is maximized, while the least interesting middle section is minimized.

From A-Z

Urban Entertainment Center designed by the British architect William Alsop.

Apollo Hotel (2008)

A block of approximately 4,000 m2, which includes the hotel rooms, floats eight metres above street level. It has a beautiful facade of cedar. This section is supported by columns. The entrance to the hotel is a blob with a brass cladding.

From A-Z

Muzinq / Discotheque NOX

A pop centre with three halls, one accommodating 1200 persons.

From A-Z

Almere Buiten

The Eilandenbuurt houses.
They remind us the Dutch Antilles and the maritime history of The Netherlands.

From A-Z

Almere is Cultural Life...

Almere's library (2010)

A building by the Dutch architects Meijer en Van Schooten.
De Nieuwe Bibliotheek was considered the Best Library of The Netherlands in 2010.

From Almere (III)

Theater and Arts Center (2006)

A building by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) that was officially opened by Queen Beatrix in 2007. Simplicity, transparency and light is what this building is about. From a single storey surface of 100 to100 metres, three halls (1050, 350 and 150 seats respectively)  extend into the lake Weerwater. The building users are the theater and the arts center, De Kunstlinie, that offers workshops of music, visual arts, theater, literature, dance and multimedia.

From A-Z

The Pasion Buena Vista Show, May, 2009 in Almere's Theater.

From A-Z

Almere's Selexyz Bookstore.
Bookstore of the year 2008-2009.

From A-Z

Almere is Fun...

A lounge in the city center to enjoy the sun.

From Almere (III)

Enjoying Queen's Day in the several terraces of the city center.

From Koninginnedag 2011

Selling old stuff in the streets on Queen's Day. Everybody can do it and it is a fun and nice way to get rid of the stuff we don't need anymore.

From Koninginnedag 2011
The restaurant Boat House in Noorderplassen.
I like to go there specially to watch the sunset.

From A-Z

Stoomboot Rondvaart
A very nice trip in a luxury steamboat.

From Stoomboot Rondvaart Almere Haven 2011

Almere Strand (beach)...

From A-Z

Skating in the Weerwater lake nearby the Theater.

From A-Z

An old!! Muiderzand Marina in Almere :-)

From A-Z
Almere happens...

Midland Classic Show

A fantastic exhibition of old cars...

From A-Z

Smaak Parade

A delicious event. We can taste cheeses, wines, and many delicacies.

From A-Z

From A-Z
Almere Haven Festival

In the oldest part of the city, a brocante en antiek markt.

From A-Z

From A-Z

Historisch Festival Almere

Also in Almere Haven nearby the beach.

From Historisch Festival Almere 2011

Almere is gezellig...

A city where it is a pleasure to live.

From A-Z

From A-Z

From A-Z

Swans in the sidewalks. :-)

From A-Z

Almere is Nature...

The fantastic nature reserve of Oostvaardersplassen.
And if you like to watch birds in particular, this is the ideal place to be.

From Almere (III)

From Oostvaardersplassen

A sunset in Almere Pampus.

From Almere (III)

There is much more to enjoy, like De Kemphaan, The Beatrix Park, and many other wonderful places.
In the video below, you will be able to watch more amazing buildings, woods and nice places in Almere to relax and enjoy with your family and friends.

I hope you have enjoyed this trip to Almere, our adopted city.
Take your train in Schiphol Airport and in 30 minutes you are here. Enjoy your stay!
Have fun! Veel plezier!!

(Source of the information about Almere's architecture: