Cue Monty Python’s And now for something completely different. Easter Sunday the plane was jammed but the flight was brief, landing twenty minutes early. I got a taxi right away and was at my B&B door in no time. My driver had a blonde buzz, blue suit, dark glasses, and a deadpan expression. He looked like he could be working a secret service detail. I’m in an Ingmar Bergman movie in terms of how people look, which is a lot like me. Tow-headed women are bare-shouldered in sundresses and flip flops. It’s like I went to sleep in NYC in the winter, and woke up in LA in the spring. People are in bright colors and patterns, clothes fit haphazardly and loose, flaxen hair as far as the eye can see. And everyone is physically bigger, hale and hearty, like they all just came off a farm in the midwest. The thin, edgy, sleek, groomed-to-the-teeth look that everyone and their dog had in Paris is a fading memory.
I was welcomed into a bright and airy kitchen/breakfast room/garden by my host, and I can tell immediately why this place is #1 on TripAdvisor. He offers me a much needed cappuccino, and spends a good 45 minutes acquainting me with the area around the bed and breakfast, using a map he annotates for me with restaurants, stores, and museums. He’s patient with my questions and just easy to be around.
In my room – large and bright, simply and very comfortably furnished, I spread out my belongings, plug in my electronics, and head out to buy a museumkarrt that will do for me what the Louvre card did, get some Euros out of the ATM and find a lunch.
Hit the Seafood bar – which was slammed, but they found me a seat at the bar. Sad to be told mussels are now out of season, I settled for fish and chips. Seafood is very different when you live by the water, unlike my landlocked hometown.
Afterwards walked to the Stedelijk – the modern art museum – because that’s where I could buy my museumkaart and not have to wait in line. Because I was there, and because I had the museumkaart and a ticket to the place in my hand, I walked through the galleries Now, I was raised by a southern lady and taught that it’s better not to say anything, if you can’t say something nice. So here, I’ll post some photos. Recall that I’ve been marinating in the Louvre in all her gloire and magnificence and this is what greets me at the Stedelijk.
Here are two art works which are, yes, a black square and a white square. I think somebody wrote a play about this.
But wait! There’s sculpture too.
If you happen to love this kind of thing – terrific! You can have my place in line. More room for you! Feel free to dismiss me as a philistine and a fossil.
To be fair, on the second floor there was a visiting exhibition of large format photographs by Canadian Jeff Wall, which I found captivating. I spent a long time with his work, which functions as a kind of portal into his view of the world.
Moving right along, Monday morning breakfast was brought to my happy, sunny room on a tray. It’s exactly what I wanted. plus a flower.
I lounged just inside the door of my balcony that overlooks the private gardens in the courtyard. Pots of flowers on most of the other balconies, baby laundry strung out on some of them. The gardens are charming, with tulips and grape hyacinths, vines and trees. It’s a homey little neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood. Lots of baby and child ambient noise, which I don’t mind. It makes a change from drunks singing on the street at 3am in Paris.
Went to the Rijks today and it It is petite after the Louvre. I arrived early and got a good look at the Hall of Honor residents before the deluge of visitors arrived. Vermeer and Rembrandt and Franz Halls. My idea of a good time.
Lunch in the museum café was a tasty open-face pastrami on rye with sauerkraut, and I drew postcards. Weather is variable. When I left the B&B for the museum, a pleasant fifteen minute walk women were in sundresses and flip flops. When I left the Rijksmuseum, it was spitting rain, and I wished I had my mittens.
Amsterdam has me reeling, in a good way. It feels more like a village than a city. Owls hooted through the night, and birdsong woke me up, including one that sounds like a bicycle bell. I picked up fresh fruit and green salad for my dinner from a market. I’m in bed, writing this, all cozy and warm and listening to the rain. Oh, and the marble floor of the spacious, modern bathroom is heated. Ah.