Bicycle on canal bridge

September 29, 2008

More doodles because people seem to like them.  🙂

Running in Amsterdam

September 29, 2008

Here are a bunch of pictures from Vondelpark.  This was my Amsterdam running route since my hotel was just around the corner.

Running in Amsterdam was a comedy of errors.  First, I forgot to pack my running shorts.  So I just ended up running in my airplane pants.  Then the cold air wasn’t great for my poor post-flu lungs and half the time, I  had to slow down or stop because I kept on coughing.  And to top of it off, on my last day, I realised that my shoes were about 1 run away from dying so I decided to take a walk instead.  It worked out well.  The weather was beautiful and I was able to take photos.

Note to self – NEXT TIME, BRING RUNNING GEAR!  ALL OF IT!

My random doodles for your amusement.  I drew it on the plane (with my magic water-barrel brush).  My evil pen leaked though.  I definitely shouldn’t be quitting my day job anytime soon.

Erwtensoep

September 28, 2008

Erwtensoep is a thick pea and smoked sausage soup, which is often served with rye bread and slices of ham.

Erwtensoep is a thick pea and smoked sausage soup, which is often served with rye bread and slices of ham.

This photo really does not do justice to the delight that is Erwtensoep. I love soup. I especially love hearty, comfort soup. I also love being in a foreign country, looking for lunch, walking by tables of people who look like they’re enjoying their food and then going up to the waitress and ordering the same with a point and a smile. (Although this little game isn’t as fun in Amsterdam because everyone speaks English.)

It was such a fun lunch. Yummy soup, wooden benches, a bunch of Sydney-sider strangers en-route to Copenhagen for company, Noordermarkt and a chef who kept on singing a made-up song about SOUPIE!  Erwtensoep makes me happy.

Sunrise over the Rijksmuseum

September 24, 2008

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The Rijksmuseum - taken from my hotel room window

I wasn’t intending to go to the Rijksmuseum. I love art but have a very limited appreciation for the old fashioned stuff. Maybe it’s the Gen Y in me that isn’t particularly impressed with the technical expertise needed to capture the moment in a room-sized painting that takes a year to complete. Add to that the “iNtuitive” tendency to prefer abstraction and concepts over details and really, I’d much prefer modern art.

But I’m staying right next to Museumplein and can see the Rijksmuseum from my window (and can hear its bells chime every 15 minutes) so I figured that not going was doing the museum a great disservice! Anyway, I was free early morning so before breakfast, I zipped around the corner and went to see the masterpieces of the Rijksmuseum.  (They are doing a reno so only it’s mainly the stuff from the Golden Age that is on view.)

I’m so glad I did. I did the whole tourist thing (guidebook and audio tour) and loved every minute of it.  It’s a fantastically curated exhibition.  My dad would have loved the Rijksmuseum too. He loves Rembrandt and ships and there are plenty of both.  As for me, I liked the dolls houses. I always wanted a dolls house as a kid although I think it slightly obscene that the rich would pay the equivalent for a small canal house for one.  I found about about Frans Hals and loved his confident and expressive brushstrokes. I started to appreciate Rembrandt and understand why he is as revered as he is.  When you see enough of his work together, you kinda “get it”.  So many highlights.  Too many to mention.  Suffice it to say, I enjoyed myself much much more than I thought I would.  Good art makes me happy.

As an aside, 2 paintings that I really really really want to see while I’m in Holland, which I’m not going to be able to, are “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer (it’s in the Hague) and “Cafe Terrace at Night” by Van Gogh (somewhere).  Pity.

    Amsterdam Graffiti

    September 24, 2008

    I took this a couple of days ago and while browsing through a book on Graffiti around the world this evening, I saw many works by the same graffiti artist.  Very cool.

    Someone is trying to tell you something.

    Cafe ‘t Aepjen

    September 23, 2008

    Cafe 't Aepjen only opens at 3pm

    Cafe 't Aepjen only opens at 3pm

    I only took 1 photo on my 3rd day in Amsterdam because I spent the morning doing work in my hotel room and only headed out to Oude Zijde in the afternoon for a meeting.  A cafe that only opens at 3pm bodes very badly for a 2pm appointment (I’m told that Cafe ‘t Aepjen is the oldest cafe in the Netherlands!) so we took our meeting to the almost equally old pub next door.

    Can I just say that it was the best meeting ever!  Meeting over coffee became chatting over beer became walking through the red light district (which I would have been very wary of doing on my own BTW) and  ended up having a lovely dinner of chicken satay (Indonesian style sans the spiciness); salad and fries sitting on the terrace by the canal.  A million brownie points for Dutch hospitality.  I had such a wonderful time!

    I love Amsterdam!