And without further ado, I shall attempt to convey our adventures from Saturday the 13th. We got up a little bit earlier than the previous day and went to have breakfast at the same place as Friday. This time, I had a chocolate pancake. Mhm. Unfortunately Colette was not happy with her breakfast, which tainted our morning a little bit. But we refused to be down and headed out to find the Hermitage Museum after breakfast. We had found out that the original Van Gogh Museum was closed for reconstruction and that part of the exhibition was on display at the Hermitage Museum, so we went to see some original paintings. I had looked up the location and led the way. It promised to be a nice day, the sun was coming out and we could wear sunglasses to look cool.
In the museum we were only allowed to either see the Van Gogh stuff or the other exhibition (unless you wanted to pay a huge sum of money), so we were content with tickets for Van Gogh. I think he is now officially the painter I have seen most paintings of. It is so much better to see originals, where you can make out every brushstroke and see how much paint he applied and all that. I took mental notes for my own art, storing it away for future reference. I think my favourite pieces are the three orchard paintings that go together as a sort of triptych. They are really beautiful and I like the fact that Van Gogh actually thought about them as an installation and not just three paintings that happen to show trees.
In that souvenir shop I got a little mirror with the motif of the Blossoming Almond Tree on the back. I wanted to buy that in the other exhibition, but it was sold out, so I was happy to get it after all – even at a better price!
After the museum we walked around again, slowly making our way to the shop with the fries. We had them for lunch and then tried to locate the pier for our canal cruise – there are so many different ones! Finally we found it and embarked on the little ship. By that time it was actually almost hot, so we happily sat down in shirts and enjoyed the sun. The boat was closed so it was a bit stuffed inside, but we could open the windows, so it was ok. The audio guide spoke to us in three languages, English, Dutch and German, so I got all the information more than once. I actually tried to understand Dutch, which is not too hard, really. I’m far from understanding everything, but the general topic of a conversation is clear to me. Colette and Hannah both were lost when it came to Dutch; I had the advantage that many words are the same as in German. The canal cruise was really lovely, I took some pictures with my phone – I wanted to explore the potential of that camera. It takes good pictures, I was surprised, really.
The whole cruise lasted around one hour and the next stop would be the Reijksmuseum. Thanks to my parents I knew that it was reopening in April after ten years of renovation, and I wanted to go and see it. What I didn’t know until that morning was that it was exactly on that Saturday that it would open. Because of that special event, it was open till midnight and had free admission for everybody. What a treat! So of course we wanted to go there! I think we took a tram to get down there, but I’m not sure anymore. In any case, we got there around 5:30. They had a capella playing and an orange carpet (sure, red carpet would have been so ordinary!) Coca-Cola was obviously sponsoring the whole event since they gave free drinks to everybody. The sun was shining brightly, we had drinks and a free entry – we were happy, even if we had to wait half an hour to get in. Because it was opening day, not the whole museum was open. They had designed a special route for the visitors, so we were not able to see everything up close, but that was quite alright. We had seen so many paintings that day, looking at everything would have been quite overwhelming. So we were content with that little walk and enjoyed it. We saw the Night Watch by Rembrandt! We felt very cultural after that day, having seen so many things. Of course, we also felt drained of energy. But the day was far from over – we had to complete the daily scavenger hunt for dinner!
Trying to be clever about it, we googled for Indonesian restaurants in the area. Somebody had told us that Amsterdam is famous for Indonesian Food and we wanted to try it. Unfortunately, the place we tried to find was no longer there (bad google! Shame on you!), so we were back to zero. We walked around and around and around and finally, around an hour later we were so tired and hungry, we settled for a Chinese Restaurant where we had to wait another 15 minutes to be seated. I’m impressed that we didn’t opt for McDonalds, which was also around. The food was good and we were finally happy again. I tried to figure out where we were, because it was getting dark and I just wanted to go home afterwards – when I discovered we were about five minutes from home! The hotel was just up the street, yay! After dinner we were content to go home and settle down with another movie night. I am a little bit confused right now as to what we watched. So let’s say it was Pocahontas, even though that could have been the next day as well. Anyway, we had survived another long day in Amsterdam with a lot of cultural experiences and the canal tour. The next day was the highlight of our trip, the expedition to the Tulip fields.
Oh, I almost forgot a little anecdote. Colette wanted to walk through the red light district, since Amsterdam is very famous for it. I think we did this after the canal cruise, but it was a short adventure. We found the district and were lingering on its edges, not sure where to go, and Colette took some pictures of the surroundings. Apparently, the workers there don’t like that, so one Latino girl threw a glass of water after her, cursing in Spanish and threatening to grab her camera if she doesn’t stop. That was quite frightening so we hastily retreated and found a different route on our way to the Reijksmuseum.
Cheerio, we’re almost there. One more entry!