We took the train to Amsterdam today. I thought Portland was a bike city — it’s really a bike “wide spot in the road” compared to Amsterdam. Here’s the bike parking structure at the Amsterdam Centraal train station:
We walked to the Rijksmuseum, the only museum that was on our “absolutely must-see” list for Amsterdam on this trip. On our walk, we passed this apartment with pictures of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the window — most likely a Turkish ex-pat who is not overly fond of the current regime:
My 3 favorite works were:
– Van Gogh’s self portrait
– Rembrandt’s self-portrait as Apostle Paul
– and a very Dutch picture of a mother checking her daughter’s hair for lice (in 1660) – A Mother’s Duty by Pieter de Hooch (some things never change!)
It was also interesting to see a 1636 painting of the Grote Kerk in Harleem (that we visited yesterday), after it had been whitewashed by the Protestants in the 1500s to cover up the Catholic images.
After two hours, we were over-saturated, and enjoyed a stroll in the garden and park behind the museum. Tulips are everywhere — even in the ponds.
We decided to sightsee sitting down for a while, and took a canal tour in a small open boat. It was a bit chilly, but worth it to be able to see the sights without the enclosures of most of the canal boats.
Real estate is so expensive along the canals (1 million euro per floor, according to our guide), that houseboats have become expensive as well. There are over 2,000 houseboats permanently moored along the canals. Our guide pointed out one unimpressive-looking houseboat that was for sale for 1.2 million euro, including the permanent moorage spot (which was probably at least as valuable as the boat).
Notice the black house below, listing to the left.
On our small boat, the guests spoke Dutch, French, Italian and English, so the guide gave the tour in English (since everyone understood it).
Lunch was a cheese and veggy pannekoeke (large, very thin, crispy crepe) and more fresh mint tea: