Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Amsterdam Trip 2017. Day 4

WED MAR 15 (day 4)

Slept in a bit and got to the Van Gogh Museum around 11:00.  The museum was quite impressive, and had by far the largest crowd seen to date.  Very bright, modern building(s) set up well for big crowds. Three - count ‘em three - gift shops  You could buy a Potato Eaters watch.  We could not interpret the symbols used for the numbers.   One gift shop was for books only.  This must keep the intellectually curious away from the mere curio seekers.  

The Van Goth Museum

On display apart from the Van Goths were works by artists that influenced him, and by those he directly influenced.  One whole floor focused mainly on his life history.  Many self-portraits, which he seemed to use to develop his style and try new things.  Several canvases had been painted on both sides, and were displayed in special frames.

In the egg-shaped new wing was a big display of early 20th century prints and posters.  Toulouse-Lautrec, et.al.  Many also by Pierre Bonnard, which I totally didn’t know about. Totally different than his paintings.

Had a late lunch at the Cobra Cafe on the Museumplein.  If the M of the “IAMSTERDAM” letters fell over, it would crunch the corner of this resaurant.  Once again, in a tourist-packed location that would provide a valid excuse for mediocre, over-priced food served with indifference, the Netherlands proved us wrong.  Good food, good service, at a good price.  Something is wrong here - we’re not use to traveling and NOT griping about food.

Betsy on a bridge
Everyone loves a crocheted wiener dog.

Took a walk after lunch, and saw a bunch of things:
  • De Afstap knit shop
  • A great bookstore that specialized in books on just two topics: Architecture and Nature.
  • The Homomonument, which comemorates all persecuted LGBT men and women.  There are three ground-level triangles that form the corners of a larger triangle.  You might miss it, or even walk right through it, if you didn’t know it is there - it is right in the middle of a busy square.  
  • The Anne Frank Huis had a line that wrapped around the block (we’d see an even longer line, in the rain, later in the week).
  • The Cheese Museum.  Actually a plain old cheese shoppe with a little display in the basement.
  • A two-story, floating bicycle parking lot on a barge by the ferry dock next to Centraal Station.
  • Had a beer on the dockside deck outside the main public library.

If you leave your Bakfiets parked in one spot long enough, it will get tagged.

We finally got to attend a concert. It featured a string quartet AND a saxophone quartet.  Music from Bach to Bartok.  The venue was the Muziekgebouw on the IJ, a big, ultra-modern performance space right on the water.  Four story glass walls, cantilevered roofline, big atrium, the whole modern architecture thing.    There was a cool laser show with mirrors and mist, which was both fun and tastefully done.  It was the first time the musicians had seen it, too.  

Muziekgebouw on the IJ

We got there early to pick up our tickets, so we attended an “Intro” 30 minutes before the concert, but the fired-up, animated speaker presented it in Dutch.  All we understood was, “Talking Heads, Bartok, U2, CBGB’s, Rolling Stones, David Byrne”, and “Does the composer write with the venue in mind?”  We had nabbed front row seats, so we couldn’t really just sneak out. 

Wine for everyone (included with ticket) in the big glass  lobby afterward.  Hobnobbed with the musicians and other concert-goers.

They do have bowling

They also have unimaginabley long, skinny river cruise ships.  

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