Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Grand Beginning: Amsterdam

More canals than Venice. More bikes than Copenhagen. More Dutch than...well, pretty much anywhere. I give you (fanfare): Amsterdam!

Doesn't it look lovely June?
And truly it was a lovely city. Lots of quiet little streets, tiny cars, bike paths on every road, pastry shops, graffiti; everything I imagined Europe to be.
A tiny car (pink!) in it's natural, tightly parked, habitat.

Oh and museums! So many we didn't have nearly enough time. We went to THE museum, the Rijksmuseum. In addition to the Rembrandts we enjoyed, we also saw several Vermeers, that I didn't have a chance to photograph.
This is from the Rijksmuseum. It's called "Fishing for Souls. Protestants in the left boat, Catholics on the right.

This is a Rembrandt and it's amazing! You can't tell in the picture, but he painted the turban in such a way that it actually sparkles! Mom and I loved it.

Of course. Rembrandt's "The Night Watch." And wow is it powerful in person! So large and majestic and full of motion. I probably could've looked at it all day, if I hadn't sworn to my family I'd do the museum in an hour.
To further enjoy the Dutch Golden Age, we visited Rembrandt's house. This was fun not only because you got to see how he lived, but also because the walls of the house were covered in paintings. They all had a number and you could enter it into your audio tour in order to learn more about them. It was very interesting, as were his engravings. You should really look them up (sorry, no pictures of that either), he was a master!!! They were so carefully done.

We visited another famous residence in Amsterdam, this one a little more recent and more somber. Our first day in the city we went to Anne Frank's house. It was beautifully preserved, thanks to the diligent efforts of Anne's father, Otto. The secret annex itself was very saw, and very dark since they couldn't have any light from the windows. The weight of being trapped in there, day and night, not being able to move for fear of being heard, finally sunk in. What a fate. It's no wonder she and Peter would gaze at the skylight. And it was weird, since I'd memorized and performed the scene from the play about her life that involves that very skylight, to see the thing itself. A window into another world that survived long after Anne had left this one.

"Do you know what I do? When I don't think I can stand being cooped up for another minute? I think myself out." --The Diary of Anne Frank
We were also able to visit the Van Gogh museum on our last night. What an enigma of a man! His work was so influential, yet he lived and died so ignominiously. I definitely want to learn more about him.

To Robbie's relief, we didn't spend all our time in stuffy museums. We also took a spend bike ride in the country. We were trying to make it to a castle, but we ran out of time. Some lovely views though.
This path was perfect. Tree-lined for forever. I honestly felt like I was in the Wood Between Worlds or something with that kind of magic. It was gorgeous.
The food in Amsterdam was also fantastic. We especially enjoyed their (you guessed it) stroop waffles! (Which we called woofles. Makes sense right? Dutch accent and all...)
My [adorable] siblings enjoying some pure heaven.
Probably the thing I liked the least about Amsterdam was the immorality plastered everywhere. It was really disgusting and sad to see a society care so little about modesty. But my favorite part of Amsterdam was definitely the bikes. There were so many and everyone used them and I just really wouldn't mind if everywhere in the world was like that.

Our family's rented bikes all hooked together. So cute!

My bike and I got in a fight. I have to admit, he won. But by the end of the 20 miles, we were the best of friends. I even learned to deal with his pedal brakes.

"The claw" even pulls bikes out of the canal! Seriously, this guy fishes for big pieces of junk!

My all-time favorite. :)
So there you have it. Amsterdam. Land of the Orange, Home of the Dutch. One awesome city and the first stop for our week in Europe!

1 comment:

  1. I love that painting of "Fishing for Souls" classic! Looks like you're having a smashing time! Thanks for sharing your link on facebook!