26 Oct
Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
Number of flights.  Click here to go to the itinerary page.
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
Countries visited.  Click here to see what we think of them. (14 posts)
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
Photos taken.  Click here to go to the photo gallery. (94 posts)
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (50 posts)
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

4 November 2016

Go Van Gogh!

Last day in Amsterdam

Last day in Amsterdam

31 October 2016

Having a 9pm flight home basically gave us an entire day for exploring… and we did it again, we took full advantage of the day and ended up pooped. Not as warm as the last two days, but still perfectly sunny and pleasant. This time we settled on the Van Gogh museum as our target, the only one so popular that there are allocated timeslots. We got 11am, which left us an hour to kill. We killed it in a nearby coffeeshop… er, cafe… er…

The problem is uniquely Dutch. The word “cafe” refers to a dark and smokey bar. Not to say you can’t order a coffee there, but most everyone else will be ordering Heineken. The word “coffeeshop” means very specifically a cafe/bar where you can buy marijuana. So I’m really not sure what you’re supposed to call all those various places where you can get a cup of coffee and a cake. As an aside, we haven’t had a single bad cup of coffee or flat white all the time we’ve been here.

Back to Van Gogh. His story is fascinating. He didn’t even consider art until the age of 27, when he already had a career. But he ditched that, picked up a paint brush, started with muddy splodges that look like a student’s work, and then over the course of six years turned himself from a beginner into a genius, produced hundreds of paintings, went mad, and took his own life. Six years.

Satay and chips!

Satay and chips!

The museum is a successful showcase of one man’s work (supported by works from other artists inspired by, inspirational to, or contemporaries of Van Gogh) and in some ways it’s more satisfying to go deeply into one topic than to skate over a pot pourri of masterpieces at the Rijksmuseum. Enjoyed both. Enjoyed a lunch of chicken satay and chips in De Pijp (pronounced: pipe), a district with a more up-and-coming hipster feel than the well heeled Grachten-gordel. I get the impression that satay and chips is a bit of a standard dish for all the cafes around here.

Standing room only on the 30 minute bus back to the airport, totally packed. Far too much standing and walking on this weekend altogether, really. Amsterdam has won me over in spite of that. And in spite of the bicycle death squads hurtling around the city’s streets and pavements in search of inattentive tourists to mow down. It’s not a city of grandeur like Rome or Vienna, but it is very handsome and I think would be a pleasure to get used to.

Leave a Reply