Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Third Day: Van Gogh Museum, Canal Tour

Day Three:

We enter the Van Gogh Museum bright and early and find it already crowded, so much so that the small elevator is crammed with us, a man, woman and large be-childed stroller. The woman gives me a big toothy grin, and I find out later that she has pressed her rear end into Frank in a rather lewd manner, he says, thus her big smile to me, apparently. Frank is not actually wearing his “Three Wolf Moon” t-shirt (gift from Andrew – Google it for further info.) which renders any man an irresistible sex magnet, but the t-shirt is in his suitcase and he has recently touched it.

The Van Gogh Museum has plenty o’ Van Goghs and shows his progression from gloomy potatoes and people infused with the darkness of loamy soil and coal, to the brilliant and dancing palette of his last years.
But I still think the best Van Goghs are in New York City.
A couple of Odillon Redons, one with a Buddha beside a tree contemplating strange visions, including what appears to be a cerulean blue hat, make Frank think more of this ethereal artist.
And the beef carpacchio he has for lunch makes him think well of the museum altogether. Also the Daubigny landscapes including “Cliffs at Villerville-sur-Mer” show off this underrated artist to wonderful effect.

Tired of museums, we take a canal tour on a long, low boat that takes us past the perfect house for Aaron and Courtney overlooking the canal with a Rapunzel-style high tower for the larger view.
I believe that Andrew and Jennifer would enjoy one of the 2400 houseboats, some sleekly modernist and full of plants,

some bedraggled and rotting, that make up a large portion of the “real” estate market in Amsterdam, the best going for millions. Also, hundreds of small boats are tied to the canal sides, most in amazingly funky condition—moldy, rusting, half submerged, and not looking terribly seaworthy.

I bemoan the fact that we didn’t figure out earlier that four-person paddle boats—“canal bikes”—were for rent. We could have paddled about by ourselves, become totally lost, smashed into and yelled at by the larger tour boats - missed an opportunity there! Our guide said that in the summer many strange things happen with all the paddle boat traffic. The tour takes us out to the bay where we see some traditional Dutch scenes,
and some of newer vintage.
Ramps for over 2400 bikes.
Bridge up, bridge down.
Clothes line next to "Nemo" Science Center.

We make one last visit to the Rijkmuseum and spend a lot of time in front of this Bartholomeus van der Helst painting which greets one upon entering. It was featured in the Museum Store windows, which is how I got a picture of it. I have come to love these large Militia portraits of cool dudes in smooth moods. Also I yearn for one of these goblets – alas, they are not sold in the gift shop.
Before dinner we watch another game of giant chess where the game is tense –Frank is riveted - with one opponent launching an all out attack, a dapper man kicking his black men around with pointy-toed black shoes. His all-out sacrificial strategy is eventually repulsed by a thoughtful opponent with wild white hair who lights a victory cigarette as we amble off to dinner. We go back to Van De Kaart where we have yet another fabulous meal finishing with a tawny- and a (food-of-the-gods) ruby-port—we highly recommend this restaurant to anyone going to Amsterdam. As a token of his admiration and respect, Frank did not sneak any wine.
The next morning we say goodbye to the Hestia.


  1. What are wonderful trip you are on. Really enjoying the photos and commentary.

  2. Thanks, Alice! It's great fun, but tiring! Complain, complain.