Posted in Travel

A slice of Dutch: part 2, Amsterdam

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I forgot my camera for the most part of my day in Amsterdam, so not many photos. In the morning, I went to Rijksmuseum with an advance ticket. It’s a beautiful building located at a pretty square, with the “I am-sterdam” sign.

Rijksmuseum2014 (Photo from John Lewis Marshall)

Inside the museum, I went straight to the “Night watch”, as it’d only get more crowded afterwards. The painting awestruck me as a very dynamic company preparing for action. I could hear the shuffle of the feathers on their hat while they were checking their weapon. The scratch of some lunatic was still visible on the canvas, despite efforts of restoration. Then, I learnt that 2 strips were legally cut off the original painting to make  it fit some room. What a vandalism. The original one, with its dimensions and extra figures, had a lot more depth.

An old American couple standing next to me was also admiring the painting.

“- Whose is this huge painting, honey?

– Van Gogh, darling.”

Eh.

The painting was accompanied by several Militia Company portraits by other artists. It’s great to look at them all with their different poses and proud faces. There were many  masterpieces in the hall, of which “The Last Judgement” triptych by Lucas van Leyden was a highlight. Lucky to see it outside of Leiden. Vermeer has his own space, but the Milkmaid was, of course, lent to Louvre museum (I hadn’t seen the Vermeer exhibition in Louvre yet at that moment).

Rijksmuseum has only one complete painting of Van Gogh  (the others are just sketches). As expected, there was a crowd of Japanese tourists in front of Van Gogh’s self-portrait.

Other oeuvres that I hadn’t heard of before, and which caught my eyes: Winter Landscape with Skaters (which really oozes out the chill’s frost, https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/SK-A-1718), Portrait of a Girl Dressed in Blue (look at her adorable face! https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/SK-A-3064), paintings about Holland’s early trade with Asia (the period that has so many economic/cultural  consequences on participated countries).

I intended to have lunch at The Pantry, as they had positive reviews, and my exploration of Dutch food had been very limited. But I lost the paper with the restaurant address on it, somewhere inside Rijksmuseum, and I didn’t have internet. So I looked around, and decided to eat at an Argentina beef restaurant, 2 steps away from the main street Leidsestraat. For such a central location, a decent meal of grilled ribs, French fries and fresh salad at the price of 11 euros something is quite good. But I had Argentina beef last time I was in Rotterdam too. Seems like I had no luck to taste “real” Dutch food. Or, does herring count?

The central station was impressive and the tulips in town was beginning to bloom.

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DSC_0062_small(My photos)

Bloemenmarkt is advertise as “the only floating flower market in the world”, but it doesn’t really float. It has shop houses on the bank. If you want to see a real floating market, come to Vietnam or Thailand. Nevertheless, Bloemenmarkt was interesting for gardening, cheap souvenirs and wholesale flowers. I was amused to see bags of cannabis seeds among bags of tulip bulbs. But I’m too lazy to bother with the gardening of either of them.

The Nemo Science museum provides a great spot to watch sunset in Amsterdam, not to mention the content of the museum. But when I was there, the sunset had no colors, unlike the case with my hostel roommate who caught a crimson sunset the previous day.

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The Central Library (Openbare Bibliotheek) sure looks quirky:

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I rent a bed in A&O Amsterdam Zuidoost. The hostel was like a condensed student campus, with its endless corridor, its large simplistic buildings and its student lounge. You can find anything within the hostel: bar & discounted tours, kitchen & fridges, frozen pizza & fresh fruit at the counter. It’s cheap, clean and convenient, only that it locates in a not so pretty zone, 20 mins of metro from Central station. There’s something I don’t like: they had too many hidden fees. 3 euros extra fee if you want to pay anything in credit card, bedsheet and bath towel were also to be paid. But I have to say that their breakfast, for the price of 7E, is very good: complete, healthy and varied. It can fill you for the day.

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My stock websites for photos: https://www.picfair.com/eressea

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