Heleen is one of gloobles’ Dutch friends who has moved abroad. She currently resides in New York and loves to travel for both work and leisure, and to explore cities by running or eating. Her favorite restaurants are small and cozy with great, simple dishes that remind her of some of her favorite places: Amsterdam, Paris or the South of France.
how to prepare a trip
I don’t prepare. I prefer to keep my options open and to be spontaneous so I typically just pack my bags, hop on a flight and see what happens.
beach holiday destination
Anywhere around the Mediterranean in summer.
city trip destination
Depends who I am with and what I want to do. But any European capital I can keep going back to. There are always more museums, restaurants, beautiful squares and buildings to explore.
destination to live
I’m still not sure about that! I keep moving around and expect to do so for a long time. I think in terms of quality of life I can’t think of a more pleasant city to live than Amsterdam. It just has a great balance of things to do but not being too hectic. It feels like a small town and you can bike and walk everywhere.
considerations when choosing a restaurant
I love uncomplicated dishes that are just very well done and restaurants that have a relaxed atmosphere. The kind of place you could show up in jeans and a t-shirt but in a dress and high heels just as well. If a menu has 20 different allergy symbols, or proposes a 8 course meal I run away as quickly as I can. I don’t believe in food fads and want normal food.
considerations when choosing a hotel
I like my rooms to be very light and quiet as I’m a light sleeper. So I make sure the hotel is on a quiet sidestreet and I check that it doesn’t have a loud bar or club. I love small hotels that have only a few rooms and where the staff remembers your name and is a bit more attentive.
home cooked meal or restaurant
Always home cooked. I love making stews that you simmer for hours and to have my friends stay for lots of wine and desserts and discussions. Nobody pushing you out for the second seating (hate that in NY) makes a meal so much more enjoyable.
place to buy groceries
Anywhere the fruit and vegetables look good. I can live without meat but fruit and veggies I need.
Whatever is close by and has a decent selection of European wines. Eataly is pretty good, otherwise a smaller mom and pop store.
place to start a girls night out
At home. With my own tasteless playlist while doing make-up.
place & time to go dancing
On a Saturday night after a dinner that lasted until 2AM, with people I love that love dancing. The place and DJ irrelevant.
work out clothes shop
nike.com. Best price/quality. Aesics for my running shoes.
yoga & meditation place
I love Delight Yoga in Amsterdam. Le Tigre in Paris is great. I don’t enjoy yoga in New York as much.
place to go running
At my moms! She lives in the Dutch countryside and next to a river. I can run along the river for 20kms and hardly see any traffic. When you inhale deeply the air is clean and you can run on the grass instead of asphalt.
place to work out
Outdoors; i don’t really like gyms and I don’t usually do group classes. I take my running shoes wherever I go and integrate pushups, crunches and squats and rope skipping into my running routine. I also do weights at home. I find that gyms become so much about comparing yourself to other people and being surrounded by mirrors; I want exercise to be relaxing and myself to be the benchmark for improvement.
De Kroller Moller museum in the Netherlands. I grew up about 20 mins away. It has the most amazing Van Gogh collection (amongst many other great artists), is not as busy as the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and has a mindblowing sculpture garden in the largest national park of the Netherlands. Sadly a lot of Dutch people have never even been here. You can renr a bike at the entrance of the park and cycle to the museum and through the beautiful nature. An amazing way to spend a Sunday. A must!!! Even more beautiful on a weekday in fall, when there is nobody.
destination of your next holiday
A weekend trip to Madrid with my grandmother. I am excited as I have not been for leisure for a few years and think it is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities (although there are so many it is hard to pick favorites).
top of your bucket list
I want to do more train trips. I have done the transiberian and would like to travel across the north of India by train. I find trains the most relaxing way to travel and I love the old world feel of train travel. Also a great way to read in peace (my preferred holiday activity).