We went to Amsterdam Mon thru Thus on Grandma Suzie’s visit. We hadn’t been before even tho it’s only a 2 hour drive. Amsterdam is a city of about 750,000, the largest in the Netherlands. I swear I read that they get about 3million tourists a year…need to find that.
We stayed just south of the canal ring in the De Pijp (pronounced “pipe”) neighborhood, a couple minutes walk from the Albert Cuypstraat market. That’s where we got the cool hats we’re wearing in some of the pics from Bruges (handmade from Nepal and a steal at 2 for 5€ ). Jacob and Nicholas’ are from a souvenir shop.
Amsterdam is interesting. Some strange juxtapositions with very modern buildings sandwiched between the historic ones. A lot of crooked buildings (with cameras on the corners to monitor the shifting), beautiful canals, a floating flower market, tacky x-rated souvenirs, walk-up urinals. It was chilly, but didn’t rain the entire time. We walked all over the city. The smell of weed outside the coffee shops was annoying and the red light district not as offensive as I’d imagined (possibly I’m becoming less and less a Puritanical American). Matt didn’t like Amsterdam much. I’d like to go back in the summer time.
The Royal Palace, the queen’s official residence (she doesn’t actually live here) was under renovation (and scaffolding). Disappointing. Add that to the list of things we’ve only seen under construction, partially or fully covered by scaffolding and tarps. I could make a whole gallery. Anyway, the palace was built about 1650 and looks great in pictures I’ve seen. Just not in mine.
After checking into our hotel Monday, we went to a little Italian restaurant near the Bloemenmarkt on the Singel canal. The flower market stores are actually house boats. You wouldn’t know it from looking at them or walking thru. They sell all sorts of bulbs, marijuana seeds, plants and cut flowers. We went back Wed and Matt and Jacob bought bonsai tree kits.
Tuesday we went to the Anne Frank house. Why am I the only person who was not made to read her diary in high school? I know the story, but it might have been more significant had I read the book first. Don’t mean this to underscore the impact of the museum. It was fascinating. The wallpaper in her room where she pasted up newspaper and magazine pictures has been preserved. The plaid diary (plus many other pages) is there. And there are video clips of interviews with Otto Frank and Miep Gies, one of the employees who helped them hide. Walking thru the building you can imagine what it must have been like to live there with seven other people. (Lugging Nicholas up those steep stairs was interesting.) From the street you would have never known that part of the building existed.
That nite Matt and I went out while Grandma Suzie babysat at the hotel. We went to the Beer Temple, an American Beer bar. Yeah, seriously. Someone (me) had a little too much to drink so the rest of the night is a bit hazy. And I didn’t get a very early start the next day.
Wed, among other things, we went to the Cracked Kettle. I grabbed a few Westy 12s on the way out of the house on Monday on the off chance they’d want to trade some beer for them. Glad I did. They gave what they considered “not much” in credit for them: 6€ per bottle. I thought it was pretty good considering they cost less than 2 per bottle.
Before heading home Thurs, we went to the Van Gogh Museum. Good museum, but I swear we saw as many Van Gogh’s in Paris. They have a lot of drawings, which I personally don’t care about. And they don’t have some of the notable paintings. It was worth it to go once; don’t think I’d go back unless there’s a special exhibition. When Grandma and Grandpa are here in the summer, we’ll go to the Kröller-Müller Museum which has the second largest Van Gogh collection (and a 60-acre sculpture garden).
Jacob was bored with the Van Gogh museum immediately so I held him and asked what he saw. He said horse, man, boats, etc. Pretty good considering they were impressionist landscapes.
M O R E P H O T O S
From Amsterdam Oct 2010. Shot Oct 11-14, 2010. Amsterdam, Netherlands