Waterlogue Takeover on Storehouse

Have you all been over to Storehouse yet to see the story about the Falling Off Bicycles Instagram takeover of Waterlogue? Hop over by clicking the link or either of the images. Be sure to let me know what you think!

Here’s a little teaser…

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Waterlogue, Storehouse Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Waterlogue, Storehouse

Don’t miss the story here.

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Tour de France Begins Today!

I love this time of year for sports. I used to think watching tennis was so boring, but now having attended Wimbledon I get pretty excited about watching a few matches. And who would have thought I could sit for hours in front of the TV watching cyclists I know nothing about ride for hours? And yet, if you’ve ever watched the Tour de France, you know that the scenery is so beautiful in the French countryside that one can’t help but be seduced! This year, it’s a double dose of eye candy for me, as the Tour begins today in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Utrecht has been trying to be a part of the Tour de France since 2002, according to my research, and the people there are therefore overjoyed to have this opportunity so many years later. Many European countries have cycling traditions, but the Dutch are one group that consultants go back to time and time again for their expertise on everything from bike safety to bike paths to bicycle construction. Below is a quote from the Director of the Tour de France on how the city of Utrecht and the Dutch people are an important part of the sport – and leisure activity – of bicycling.

Utrecht, Tour de France, Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, cycling race

In addition, I thought it would be fun to celebrate by sharing a few images of bicycles in Utrecht and France. Enjoy!

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland, Netherlands, flower market, bloemenmarkt,

Bike basket overflowing at the Utrecht bloemenmarkt

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland, Netherlands, flower market, bloemenmarkt,

Cycling in the rain is no big deal in the Netherlands

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, French flag, Arc de Triomphe, Tour de France, Paris, St. germain des Pres

Cute bike parked in St. Germain des Prés

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland, Netherlands, flower market, bloemenmarkt,

Vélib’ station in front of the historic Hotel du Nord in Paris

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, French flag, Arc de Triomphe, Tour de France, Paris, Charles de Gaulle Etoile

Le Pavillion Tricoloré waves as it dangles from the Arc de Triomphe

So what will you be doing to celebrate today or over the next three weeks? I will be cycling all over town on my adorable green bike… and no doubt watching countless hours of the Tour, itself.

Thankful Thursdays – Local Art

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Paris art

France is a country whose history is steeped in art tradition. I have written many times about the French attention to detail, a quality that I so admire. The list of famous French artists goes deep, from Cezanne to Renoir to Matisse. But there are artists all over Paris whose work is far more approachable than that of Monet and Degas. Everyone knows about Place du Tertre on Montmartre, where artists gather to tempt tourists with their representations of the Sacré Cœur. But some of my most precious Paris art pieces have been purchased from a lone artist among the bouquinistes along the Seine, at an outdoor marché, or on one of the City’s beautiful bridges. Whether you purchase or not, these artists add such a beautiful element to the landscape of the city, with their own splendid touch.

Discover Walks Free Paris Tour

Last month I had the good privilege to join a tour of Montmartre that made an embarrassment of me. You see, I have lived in Paris for seven years and thought I had a pretty good grasp on the history of Paris. Yet I found myself thinking frequently throughout my recent Discover Walks Tour “oh really?!” In the days following, I found myself questioning friends, “Did you know X,Y, or Z about Montmartre?”

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Paris, France, Montmartre

Discover Walks has a unique format in that the company welcomes people to join and learn about the city they are visiting without an official obligation to pay. Of course, the assumption is that those who partake will compensate the tour guide in a manner that is reflective of the quality of service he or she has offered.

Without giving all the fun and juicy details away, a few things I picked up on the tour that struck me are:

  • The origin of the name Montmartre (and the accompanying speculation about it)
  •  There are three windmills in Montmartre, although there were many more once upon a time
  •  The hill used to be covered in vines. The your passes by one you won’t want to miss.
  • It used to be completely separate from Paris (annexed in 1860), and was seen as highly debaucherous (even more than I had thought!)
  • There’s a place called Le Bateau-Lavoir for artists to bunk and hang out still in use to this day. We stood for several minutes in front of this historic place, as there is so much to learn about it and all the artists who have passed through its doors.

Discover Walks offers tours in many cities across Europe including Madrid, Rome, London, as well as St. Petersburg, Russia, and even San Francisco in the USA. I look forward to trying out another one of their tours (there are many others offered in Paris, alone) in various places across the world.

Paris, France, Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Montmartre, Paris, France

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Montmartre, vineyard, Paris, France Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Paris, France, Montmartre Falling Off Bicycles, Julia Willard, Montmartre, Paris, France

The Holland Times Raw Food Article Interview

the holland times

Raw food more popular than a burger? is one of the latest articles in Dutch press to discuss the up and coming health food movement in the Netherlands, and it represents quite a big movement indeed. When I first moved to Amsterdam in 2010, there was a single juice bar that popped up in a google search, with one vegetarian and one vegan restaurant occupying the city center. It was my first time living together with my Dutchman, so we were quite happy to eat at home with our canal view (it still seems like a dream), but now when I return to the capital city I’m surprised (and thrilled) with each new spot that opens up.

Since we’re on the topic, a few of my favorite plant-based (or plant-based friendly) spots in Amsterdam include: Lite/Dark, Tarwegraskoning, Pluk, Vinnie’s (get the black bean hummus sandwich!), Golden TempleAlchemist’s Garden, de Waaghals, Lavinia GoodFood, Dr. Blend. There are, of course, others, but I don’t recommend them all. Even a couple of the above have a few kinks to work out, but they are still great options for healthy eating in this progressive city.

Check out the Holland Times article and weigh in in the comments. Does your city have a “clean eating” movement? I love to hear about how food consciousness is changing around the world.

wheatgrass, tarwegrass, Amsterdam

Thankful Thursdays – Raw Vegan Catching on in the Netherlands

“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”
~ Hippocrates

 

Walking to a meeting a couple of years ago with the head of the fantastic organization (which I must name-drop here because I so love this woman’s mission) Girl Gone International, I paused somewhere near De Pijp, surprised at what was in front of me… Stacked high in front of a sleek green and white storefront were trays and trays of tarwegras, or wheatgrass. Having lived here before – and probably having mentioned it on the blog before – I was rather frustrated during my time living full-time in Amsterdam, as saying there were few to no health food restaurants/ lunch rooms/ shops was an understatement. And don’t even get me started on the small village in Brabant where I had spent so much time prior to our big city move. I had the impression that asking for a wheatgrass shot would more likely get me some marijuana cocktail than a superfood boost. Sure, there are organic markets and chain grocery stores selling “health food”, but as many of those of us who eat clean know, these types of establishments foster their own communities of people who enjoy swapping stories, recipes, and anecdotes about recent reads on the topic. I longed for a place to sip matcha lattés and spirulina smoothies.

IMG_2277

Tarwegraskoning, Amsterdam

Being on my way to the meeting, I couldn’t very well pop in to this place claiming to be the Netherlands’ first slow juice bar and give it the attention I wanted, so I returned to  Tarwegraskoning for lunch a bit later on. The inside was filled with more trays of sprouting wheatgrass and the bright green worked well against those typically-Dutch stark white walls. I discovered a back room with seating for those who wished to linger over a superfood shot or healthy meal. Naturally, I had to try a “house special” wheatgrass shot accompanied by a sort of slaw salad. Both were appropriately flavorful and energy boosting, and I left looking forward to my next visit and wondering if this was the beginning of a new wave of food spots in NL. I’m happy to report in 2015 that indeed eating fresh and raw ingredients rather than frietjes or god-knows-what from a wall is becoming more the norm and is now widely accepted and accommodated.

juice bar Amsterdam, Tarwegras, Falling Off Bicycles

IMG_2276

For the overall health of the planet, for the innocent animals killed thoughtlessly every day, and for my own selfish desires for a long and healthy life, I am super thankful that attention to health through food is catching on so strongly in one of my adopted countries.

Stay tuned for information about health food in the Netherlands coming soon…

Tarwegraskoning
Roelof Hartstraat 10
1071VH Amsterdam
Tel: +31 (0)20 820 03 76
E-mail: info@tarwegraskoning.nl

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Parked Bicycle in Avignon

Avignon, France photo by Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles

Today’s Waterlogue is from an image I took at a church in Avignon. As you probably know by now, I go to Provence regularly, since I have an adopted French family there. I took a few days away from my sweet family to explore a few French towns on my own. I had been to Avignon a couple of times before, but I had a completely new experience with it this most recent time. It’s so charming and has such a strong bike culture! (I can’t help but wonder if I was oblivious to it before or if cycling is on the rise there.) I loved getting up early and wandering the streets by myself. Those beautiful French doors, the framing of the churches beautiful stonework, and the bicycle all together naturally caught my attention.

Thankful Thursdays – Macarons

Pierre Hermé Paris macarons

France has been the leader in beautiful sweets for who knows how long. Whether you indulge or not, any stop to a pâtisserie is a feast for the eyes. The sugar, the butter, the top quality ingredients come together to make the most beautiful desserts and Pierre Hermé is among the most famous and popular in Paris with their creations of what has become the quintessential Parisian dessert (or snack, as the case may be!): the macaron. If you’re on any social media site that has a Paris theme, they have surely been a huge a huge presence (Pinterest, anyone?). And pastry chefs just keep getting more and more creative with flavors.

Although I’ve learned to control my indulgences of these (it took years), I do enjoy one still from time to time. I love that this is another way the French bring beauty to the world, even in a tiny dessert.

Pictured flavors: Infiniment Rose, Yasamine, Imagine, Velouté Ispahan

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Amsterdam Damrak

Amsterdam, Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles

Color Bloom

Amsterdam, Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles

Streamlined

Amsterdam, Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles

Vibrant

Today we’re doing things a bit differently… I always have so much fun trying out different style types on Waterlogue, so it seemed like it would be fun to show the audience what one image looks like in a few different styles. (Beneath each photo, you’ll find that info.) I took this image just a few weeks ago while wandering the center city one afternoon. It’s one of those shots from Amsterdam that everyone has because it’s so iconic with its representation of the city… water, boats, gables, beautiful architecture, and flowers out of camera range. Which one is your favorite?

If you missed my collaboration with Waterlogue, check out Instagram  from a couple of weeks ago.

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