Amsterdam XXX

I liked it more than I thought I would. Unless you know the streets well and can identify shops and landmarks, it’s quite possible you could get lost…canal/cobbled street/old architecture straining to the left or to the right/canal/cute little restaurant tucked away beneath the sidewalks/canal/bridge/people riding their bikes everywhere/boats coated in thin veils of ice, threatening to never sail again/bikes perched precariously on the sidewalks and streets/canal/nice lady politely suggesting I walk on the sidewalk (not the path where the bikes go) whoops/coffee-shop-cum-pot-stop/bank/original little store… Good thing I had an expert guide!

Machiel even responded to an elderly lady who lightly grabbed my arm and started speaking to me in another language. (Machiel had earlier instructed me to say: “I don’t speak Dutch”, to anyone daring to think I was from Holland. But this lady wasn’t speaking Dutch, but she did have a question. So, I replied to her query: I only speak English…my feeble attempt at trying to get something right. So, Machiel spoke with her for a few seconds and as we walked away he said: How would she expect any random person would just know Spanish? Luckily, he did. See…expert guide.

The buildings charmed the hell out of me. I loved that every door was different. At night you could steal glances through the windows into the lives of people who have spent upwards of at least a million euro for their home. The thin-facing building fronts looked negligible in housing anything beyond hobbits, but when you round the corner it’s in plain sight that the homes are longer and higher (several stories, in fact)…plenty of room to fit your average human. And windows everywhere! The tenants can use them to look out on us…perhaps they have the better view.

Every meal was delicious. The cheeses, the breads, the coffee.

Hotel V in Amsterdam was absolutely gorgeous. The lobby had a fireplace set in a raised pedestal with a half moon couch hugging on side of the pit. So cozy. It was like a boutique hotel: independently owned, gorgeous and fabulously unique!

The Van Gogh museum blew my mind. To be honest I only really knew a few of his paintings. The uber famous ones. But I was pleased to discover that he was also an avid letter writer. He wrote to his brother Theo often…telling him about the other painters he met, like Gauguin. Secretly, I loved the sketch books and letters more than I liked the paintings. Although there were a few that impressed the heck out of me. They even had three originals by Hiroshige…of whom Van Gogh was a fan. Van Gogh even dabbled in Japanese-inspired paintings himself, very much resembling Hiroshige.

In a display case there was a small wooden box (a cigar box?) that was overflowing with brightly coloured balls of yarn…some their own little tawny-coloured entity, some a brazen mix of mustard yellow and the deepest of violets. Van Gogh used the yarns to see how colours would work together. How ingenious! Such a smart little painter. But he was that, a painter. Through and through. No other jobs, no pretending to be anything, just struggling to contain his mind, to get the right colours together and to get the images from sketch to canvas. He relied on Theo to pay his bills. Imagine! His painting now sell for millions. The entrance fee for one day at the museum could have kept in supply of oils and canvasses for several years. I can’t say I like everything he did, and I did think that the sunflowers painting would impress me more, but I did thoroughly enjoy all four floors of paintings and stories and sketches and letters…all with my own little Dutch artist.

More later on Anne Frank, Absinthe and the Absynthe Minded…

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About soulglue

Canadian living in the Netherlands. View all posts by soulglue

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