anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘Travel

5 Favorite Coffee Spots in Amsterdam

with 3 comments

Amsterdam Cafes by Anna Brones

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities, and not just for the bikes. There’s something about being surrounded by water that just makes me feel at home. You ride along the canals, your bicycle bumping over the occasional cobblestones and you can literally feel the pace of life slowing down.

On a recent weekend trip I made it a mission to track down good coffee (as usual). In fact I was so committed to my mission that half an hour after getting off the train I as sitting at local coffee roaster Headfirst drinking a filter coffee. If you’re committed, you’re committed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Written by Anna Brones

August 27, 2014 at 09:49

All About Bicycling in Paris

leave a comment »

bikes-paris-122

“What’s it like to ride in Paris?”

This is a question that gets asked regularly, both by those interested in cycling and also by those that just think it’s nuts to ride a bike in a big city.

It’s actually a hard question to answer, because there’s no easy answer. It’s difficult. It’s wonderful. It’s often a hot mess. It’s rewarding. It’s big city biking after all.

But there’s nothing better than exploring a city on two wheels, and if you’re up for the challenge of riding in Paris, you won’t regret it. Plus, the more people riding, the better. That’s how we make change.

This week I’ve got a guide to cycling in the City of Light over on HiP Paris.

Despite all the romantic pictures you’ve seen of ladies in flowing skirts with flowers and baguettes in their quaint bike baskets, cycling in Paris isn’t always beautiful. It’s often fast, dirty and sometimes a bit harrowing. But it’s also rewarding. Because when the sunlight hits the buildings just right and you get into the flow of navigating a tight Parisian street on two wheels, life feels really good.

Paris is a city of winding streets and grand boulevards; cars, buses, and pedestrians that don’t pay attention; and recklessly antsy scooter riders, ready to dodge a vehicle whenever the opportunity presents itself. Stop paying attention for a few minutes and you can get yourself into a lot of trouble.

This is not to deter you from cycling. On the contrary, I want you to embrace cycling in Paris – the more cyclists the better – but it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into. An added benefit of mastering vélo riding in Paris is that because it’s not always an easy city to ride in, you’ll feel especially accomplished once you learn to make your way through the network of streets and bike lanes. You will definitely deserve that glass of Sancerre when you saddle up to the wine bar later in the evening.

Read the full article here.

Written by Anna Brones

July 24, 2014 at 08:13

Posted in Paris, Portfolio, Travel

Tagged with , , , ,

Is Paris Any Good or Not?

with 7 comments

Paris skyline

I’ve got thoughts about Paris and our notion of “home” in a new essay over on Medium. I have been meaning to write this essay for quite some time, and happy that it found a place in The Archipelago collection.

In the beginning, you feel high just from being in Paris. At dusk, the light hits the buildings just so. You find a bakery that makes the best almond croissants in the world. Nothing can get you down. But then eventually the downs do come, and they hit you hard, like a bucket of cold water in the face. Your bank meeting that was supposed to take ten minutes takes two hours. A taxi almost hits you while you’re riding your bike in the bike lane and you’re the one who gets yelled at. It rains. It gets gray. You try to go for a run and get hit on — “courage mademoiselle.” You spend far too much time arguing in French to get something accomplished that you didn’t even want in the first place. A certain dreariness sets in that you can’t seem to shake.

Like Bogart in Casablanca, I try to tell myself “I’ll always have Paris” — not the real city, with its homicidal cars and persistent men, but the memory, the good stuff. Eventually the daily frustrations will fade, and in ten years it will be easy to gloss over the frustration and be one of those people that casually throws “that time I lived in Paris” into conversation. It wasn’t just a ten-day trip, or a month abroad, I’ll tell people. No, I actually went and lived there. Wrote there. Ran there. Drove there. Called it home for a while. Even in the darkest moments, there’s something comforting about that thought. I’ll always have Paris.

In the meantime, because of my adopted city’s magical reputation, I don’t get to complain. “The apartment is tiny, I’m starting to feel claustrophobic.” “Yeah, but Anna, you’re in PARIS.” As if, once enough poems are written about a city, it becomes impossible to be sad there.

It felt good to write this piece. The editor challenged me to call it “Is Paris Any Good or Not?” but if anything it’s less about Paris and more about thinking what “home” means, and maybe even, where “home” is.

You can read the full essay here.

Written by Anna Brones

July 23, 2014 at 08:23

Posted in Paris, Portfolio

Tagged with , , , , ,

Wild City: Les Jardins du Ruisseau, Paris

with 2 comments

Les Jardins du Ruisseau by Anna Brones

All wildness is finer than tameness.

-John Muir

In an urban jungle I have been craving wild respite.

Trees.

Flowers.

Earth.

Growth.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Anna Brones

June 10, 2014 at 17:20

1,000 Miles: Month 5

with 2 comments

IMG_8289

Hills and altitude.

If I had to sum up the fifth month of 1,000 Miles, that would be it. Hills and altitude. There were a lot of both of them.

During the last month I was home in the US, so running meant taking on the hills in Forest Park in Portland (a reunion run for the 1,000 Miles trio), a thigh-burn inducing uphill climb by my parents’ house in Washington, and making my best attempt at emulating a mountain goat on trails around Telluride, Colorado.

Realization: I have much more training to do before I become a mountain goat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Anna Brones

June 4, 2014 at 15:09

1,000 Miles: Month 4

with 3 comments

photo 2

Running takes time.

Any passion or project that we have requires time, but that time doesn’t appear out of thin air; we have to make that time. This is no news, but committing to running a certain number of miles a week means carving out space for a daily workout routine.

From the outside perspective this may seem tough. In fact, I have many friends that have said something along the lines of “man, that much take up so much of your time… I couldn’t do that” (note: yes, it does, and yes, yes you could). We’re all busy, and the thought of devoting at least an hour, sometimes two, almost every day is daunting to most. But the beauty of it is that eventually it becomes a habit. Skipping a run feels odd and disconcerting. It simply isn’t an option.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Anna Brones

May 8, 2014 at 18:16

Tracking Down Good Coffee in Montmartre

with one comment

sacre coeur

People often ask me where they should go when they come to Paris. It takes time to make personal itineraries for people (I really should start charging…), but fortunately I write enough roundups that I can just start sending links instead. Case in point: my favorite coffee spots around Montmartre.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Anna Brones

April 16, 2014 at 11:42