In June my parents had a trip planned to the Netherlands and France … since they were nearby, we figured we’d join them. We met up in Amsterdam on Friday night, where we had dinner out on the street, watching the people go by. And enjoyed some local beers.
Saturday we started our sightseeing earnest. We started our day at the Dutch Resistance museum – which told the story of the Dutch Peoples’ Resistance against the Nazis during World War II. The Museum itself was a bit scattered, but it was interesting anyway … and a little off the beaten path. We stopped for lunch at a nearby pub called Koosj’s (Don’t ask me how it’s pronounced) where I had the world’s most amazing goat cheese sandwich. It was thick goat cheese, with honey, delicious bread, something green, and maybe pine nuts. aMAZing. amazing.
After lunch we headed to the Van Gogh museum – which is probably one of my favorite museums in Europe. I love Van Gogh, but I also love the way the museum starts with Van Gogh’s first works, as he was beginning to develop as an artist – and continues to tell the story of his life as it related to what he was painting at the time. The displays explained his development as an artist, but also why he was painting wheat fields when he was painting wheat fields, and it explained why he travelled to other places in France, and what was happening when he went crazy. I really feel like it adds a whole new dimension to the art when you learn about the context in which it was painted.
We finished off the day of sight seeing with a rain-soaked (but covered) canal ride. The tour was given in four (!) languages. We got to see lots of amazing old canal houses – the ‘skyline’ that Amsterdam is known for. And, of course, it was a relaxing way to spend the early evening. I loved looking at the houses, and the flowers, and the bikes, and the house boats … and counting the inches between the top of the boat and the bottom of the bridge!
Oh yeah, Did I mention the bikes? Apparently many people keep one bike at home and one at the train station near work. So they can bike to the train from home, ride the train to work, and then bike to work. And boy are they serious bikers! Keep your eye on the bike lane … and make sure you’re not in it!
Sunday we started our day in style … at the palace.
… where I became enthralled with the chandeliers.
It turns out that I like lights. You wouldn’t believe the number of pictures I have of lamposts and chandeliers from our travels.
This metal one had a crazy story about how they found all the pieces and had to try to reassemble the pieces.
Ok, i’m done with the chandeliers, I promise. :)
After the palace, we stopped for amazing crepes. I remember bacon, and cheese … and after that it just becomes a blur of happiness. We had to carbo-load of course, because the next stop was the Heineken Brewery.
We learned about the ingredients and the production of beer … and it was followed up by a series beer-tasting. They went through a long explanation about how the foamy head is actually a requirement to properly taste a Heineken. It’s meant to keep the flavor in. Actually … my favorite part of that tasting was watching the American tourist who received his beer (after the ‘importance of the foam’ speech), dumped off the head right in front of the bartender, and had his beer confiscated.
After the beer tasting – we headed over to the Anne Frank House, which everyone but Ryan had been to before … and everyone wanted to go to again anyway.
We rounded out the evening with a Mexican happy hour (Apparently I have a Mexican Food fetish from living in Rome). Dinner was dutch ‘hotch potch’ – which looks an awful lot like “Bangers and Mash” … and I’m pretty much a sucker for anything that’s meat and potatoes.