Amsterdam 1/3 2/3s

The canals at night are just so beautiful.

The canals at night are just so beautiful.

Yesterday was a terrific day and today has been a perfect city day. It is about 4pm and we are back at our hotel room after a walk down the canal to the Noordmarkt, which is a combination flea market and farmers market right in the middle of downtown Amsterdam. We strolled down the canal and then up through the market taking pictures (which unfortunately I can’t show because I forgot my blanketyblank cable that connects my camera to my laptop), sampling cheeses and chocolates and olive oils, listening to the different kinds of music from all over the world and taking in the colors, sights and sounds of the city on a Saturday. Then we stopped at the famous De Winkle Cafe for some deeelicious Dutch Apple Pie and espresso. This served as our breakfast and lunch as we had slept in till noon, ahhh life on vacation in Amsterdam.

Our hotel overlooks a canal and we sometimes just stand at the window at night and look out over the reflection of the lights in the canal and let the sounds of the night waft up to our room.

Our day yesterday was a great day for walking, exploring and taking trams. We successfully managed hopping a tram from near our hotel and made our way to the Rijksmuseum to make our way through the Dutch Masters, Rembrandt, Ver Meers and their ilk marveling at their love of light and the way it creates mood and emotion. I like the size of the Rijksmuseum, it is a museum that you can spend time in and take it all in with out having to rush. We got one of these wonderful audio tours, this one was a very personal tour by an artist and actor who loves the art and the stories behind the art and created a journey for us not only of what to look for in the art, but also stories of his childhood and his grandchildren’s appreciation of the various works of art. It was a wonderfully intimate way to sink into the appreciation of the art that reminded me so much of my youth when my Mom, an art historian, would take us through museums and churches and talk about the art and her memories of seeing it the first time herself or of seeing it right after the war or a flood to help us really sink into the art from a personal place.

We then took a short walk over to the Van Gogh museum and walked through two exhibits there. The first was a temporary exhibit called “The colors of the night” that showed Van Gogh’s love of the evening and night light and colors. Both indoor and outdoors and ending with The Starry Night. It was an excellent exhibit that gave some wonderful insights into Van Gogh and had gathered incredible works of art from all over the world to show off Van Gogh’s love of evening, twilight and night. Then we went upstairs to the permanent collection and took another audio tour through Van Gogh’s short life and extraordinarily short career as a painter. He really went from not painting at all to the end of his life in 10 years. Astonishing to see the confidence of his brush strokes and the passion for life, color and light in every painting. So much expression of all the stuff of life that it wants to break out of the containment of the canvas and leap directly into my heart. I have never felt so deeply while looking at a work of art.

We left Van Gogh and walked a few blocks to an Indonesian Rice Table restaurant. A completely unique eating experience, unlike anything I had ever done before. We sat down at this little table with little warming trays between us and another little table with warming trays on it and many many small dishes were brought out with different foods piled on them and then the waiter made up a plate with rice and some of the food off the little plates and then told us to get busy and start eating and then add more things to the rice bowl as we emptied it. It felt like it was a ton of food and in actuality it wasn’t it was perfect. Both Karen and I called for “consciousness breaks” all during the eating so that we could check into the fullness quotient and we were good to go. So a delicious, abundant and conscious meal was had by all.

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