With the departure of the “cold, bleak, biting weather” (thanks Charles), we headed out into sunny skies and crisp temperatures. What a difference no rain and wind make, and how nice to have a little sunshine. We walked all day and checked off most of what we had on our ‘to do’ list.
The floating flower market was pretty much a bust in this pre-growing season month. The flower stalls had many bulbs for sale, but not the endless buckets of fresh flowers I was hoping for.
We visited the cat art museum called Katten Kabinet, and had the sweetest, most talkative little docent of any museum I’ve toured. Her name was Shirley and she had a hair trigger purr. She guided us through the rooms of cat art in a converted canal home; two museums in one really, as we were able to see what one of the old houses looked like on the inside.
From the cat museum we walked along Vijaelgracht, then followed alongside Singelgracht until we reached the Rijksmuseum, newly renovated and quite popular. However, I can usually only take one large museum per day, and my priority was the Van Gogh Museum, so on we walked, passing an ice skating rink, and then into line for the Van Gogh Museum. The Van Gogh Museum was truly fabulous, and with as many people as we saw in the exhibit in this off season, it must be shoulder to shoulder in the tourist season.
The Van Gogh Museum is four floors of the world’s largest collection of his works, including 200 paintings. You work your way chronologically through his life, starting on the ground floor. It was quite informative, and we learned many details, including that without his brother’s wife, the world may never have known his art. His nephew, Vincent Willem van Gogh inherited the art collection and carried on the legacy by creating the Vincent van Gogh Foundation.
I bought some postcards of a few of my favorites, and the museum masterpiece book. Here are copies of the postcards, as best as I can post them without a scanner.
A pub lunch, of course, followed the museum, and then to the Heineken Experience. I’m not a beer drinker myself, but I did want to see the stables where the Shire horses that pull the beer wagon are housed. Unfortunately, the stables were closed for repair.
The Heineken Experience was interesting, included two free beers (admission was 18 euros), and seemed geared towards a younger audience. I really did try the beer, taking a “manly swallow” and not a sip as advised, but I still have to count myself a non-beer drinker.
We boarded the complimentary Heineken boat and saved ourselves some walking, as it dropped us near the Opera House on the Amstel River, the only natural waterway in Amsterdam. We still had quite a few blocks to walk back to our B&B, and as the sun started to lower in the west, the temperature started to drop under the clear sky.
We walked along the river as the sun faded and light turned magical.
After a very brief rest at the B&B, we headed out for dinner in our neighborhood, the Jordaan. We know this is the off season, but for all our lunches and dinners, the restaurants have been packed and we can’t imagine what it would be like in the busy tourist season.