Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Amsterdam Dec 23
Amsterdam, The Netherlands December 23, 2008
We left at 8:30 this morning for a full day in Amsterdam. The tour started with a canal boat cruise. We had done it before but it was nice to do it again in a different season. Of course some things have changed since we were here in 1988 and I took more notice of the bikes. Unfortunately it was quite foggy, which made taking pictures even more difficult than just taking them though the windows. On the left is a picture of a tall ship. In the fog, this could be the Endurance in Antarctica. On the right is a typical Amsterdam canal scene.
After the cruise we went to the Van Gogh Museum. I found it quite overwhelming to see so many of his paintings. I will have to go back someday and see the other floors. Even though I have seen Van Goghs many times before, this was an amazing experience. I bought the museum guide because there were pictures that I really liked that I hadn't seen before.
Then we went off with Mike and Sandy and had a very expensive and not very good lunch at Cafe Cobra. Peter and I shared two pancakes, one with bacon and the other with apples and cinnamon. Neither was memorable and with water and tip we spent €22.
Lunch was followed by a trip to the Rijksmuseum. We agreed on an hour but spent longer and could have spent even longer. The Rembrandts were amazing. Most of the museum is closed but the exhibit, which is treasures from the collection, was more than enough to see. It is a chronicle of the Dutch Golden Age. Of course it ends with "The Night Watch." You can't even see the damage repairs. The restoration was excellent. There was also a Vermeer street scene that was unusual for him and really nice.
Mike and Sandy decided to go back and we went on to the Anne Frank House. Because of the time of the year the line was negligible. Moving through the small rooms, hearing and reading the testimony, climbing impossibly narrow, steep staircases was very affecting.
Coming back we got turned around at the train station. But eventually we found our way back to the ship. Then we just relaxed after a long day. Pidge and Pete joined us in the lounge and after Walter's briefing we went to dinner where I had duck and everyone else had halibut. I ate quite a lot of Peter's creamy lentils and they were delicious.
Most of the passengers went off on a walking tour of the Red Light District but we didn't bother. We started thinking about possible trips for next year.
We may return to cold, ice and snow although the reports are sketchy. I just don't want to get caught somewhere. It's funny that as you get closer to the end of a trip you start thinking beyond it. I need to learn to enjoy the moment more.