[SNED] More Public Libraries and a Bike Shop

On Thursday I spent the morning in the library at De Hallen writing marketing copy for a TV production company. In the afternoon, I moved to the Central Library and worked on tidying up the memoirs of an ex-model. What a world.

The library at De Hallen was a little noisy for my tastes. There were too many kids, one of whom was going through the high-pitched squealing stage and should really have been removed. This is why I decided to try the Central Library after lunch.

Amsterdam's Central Library is really special. It has seven floors, with pianos scattered about the place for people to provide ambient music, should they so desire. It has a large variety of different seating and work-stations, including on the first floor three self-contained pods. It has a café, great views over the city and outside seating just in case the sun ever comes out.

Oh, and I found this today. It made me craugh.

bike shop

On Friday, I was helping a friend, a newcomer to Amsterdam, look for a bicycle. One guy had nothing in stock, two others were closed for the summer holiday and it was quite by chance we stopped at A&M Rijwielhandel on De Clercqstraat. There, not only did we pick up a tasty little part-exchanged Gazelle for €80 but I got to know Martin and Jan, the guys who work there and I established a bond. I mean, I don't think they'll be inviting me for dinner any time soon — they are Dutch after all — but I got to know the excessively friendly and helpful owner Martin a little, certainly well enough that I shall return next time I need a repair and he will remember me and shake my hand and maybe I will feel a slightly stronger sense of belonging to the city. 

It's a very unusual bike shop by the way, inasmuch as it doubles as a chichi clothing and jewellery boutique, courtesy of Martin's wife Astrid. The bike shop has been going for 24 years, the boutique for the past three. Oh, and there are flamingos everywhere.

So yes, on Friday I found a new favourite bike shop. Sorry, Ahmed. You're out.

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you'll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already.

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