Woke up marginally earlier than we did yesterday — jet lag seems to be abating a bit — and sat in our kitchen for what’s become our regular breakfast of yoghurt, bread, and cheese. Once we got out, our first stop was at at a low-quality, high-variety candy shop called Jamin. The Dutch have the highest per capita licorice consumption in the world, and J and I seem to be determined to help them keep that record!
Then we walked over to the Rijksmuseum for a long day of looking at art.
The museum has an incredible collection of Dutch art, which really resonated with both of us. We grew up with prints of these two Vermeer paintings in our kitchen — now we got to see the real thing!
There are lots of people in museums these days who take pictures of art — it feels like there are as many people snapping pictures of some of the paintings as there are people looking at them. I thought this was pretty silly until I realized that I, too, was aiming my camera. But it seemed worth recording some of the things that Dutch people like to paint best, like cheese and windmills (sorry — I failed to take any pictures of cows, drunk people, or staid elderly folk wearing heavy black clothing with scratchy lace collars).
Looking at art makes you hungry, so we walked into the Oud Zuid/De Pijp neighborhood to have some lunch at a little Italian place called La Boutique Del Caffe Torrefazione. The smoothies were amazing — J had passionfruit, and I had raspberry. Yum, yum, yum!
The streets of Amsterdam have all sorts of interesting things from beautifully festooned bridges to the very occasional elegant garden with unexpected lawn ornaments to lovely houseboats on the canals.
We walked around a craft market on the south side of the Rijksmuseum and narrowly averted buying slightly-too-expensive-but-beautiful handbags. The museum also has great outdoor art, like fountains (and Tina in the fountain!) and Calder statues.
There was also a pro-Palestinian rally going on just across the street, but we decided not to venture into that particular fray (but it’s interesting that current events follow us very quietly — we started the trip on Thursday in Newark next to a gate that was entirely closed off because the passengers were headed to Tel Aviv).
Back into the museum to look at more art — mostly Dutch, mostly paintings, though it’s impossible to avoid the decorative arts for too long.
It was also impossible to avoid “Art is Therapy” exhibit posters in most of the museum’s rooms, which looked like giant post-it notes and consisted of moral exhortations that were meant to encourage one to reflect — it’s supposed to be a modern way of prodding you to think about your relationship with the art, rather than just staring at pictures and things. But the words on the posters were very biased, highly dogmatic, and, on the whole, rather depressing (I found myself getting angry at them). They taught us to think about art, not to be overly consumeristic, and to be tidy.
Walked home feeling incredibly tired, wondering if our feet and legs could possibly take standing up any longer. Rested at the apartment briefly — this is a dark picture, but it’ll give some sense of where we are. By the way, if you’re curious about our exact location, we’re staying at 24 Passeerdersgracht, at a very nice airbnb apartment.
Had dinner at Envy, a fancy, small-plate, food-as-architecture, lots-of-tiny-leaves-and-foam restaurant that was really yummy.
We raved especially about the local lobster with white asparagus and the “Bouncing Ball,” a dessert made up of sambuca pannacotta topped with blue curacao granita and blueberries.
Wandered up for a view of the Westerkerk (the tallest tower in the city) on our way home.
Headed out for a late-night drink at a neighborhood bar in the light rain — it’s finally gotten cooler here!