Monday, 19 December 2016

Amsterdam - Day 2

Our second day in Amsterdam started off with a visit to the Textile Market nearby (only open on Mondays).  It was rather like a flea market with lots of textiles - more of interest for me as a people watching place.  We then headed south, with every intention of getting to the Rijksmuseum in the early afternoon.  

We spent a good half hour in the Westerkerk as it has a fascinating candle tree that piqued my photography interest.  On to Kalverstraat, a pedestrian street with lots of shops and the easy to miss De Papegaai Hidden Church.  Needless to say, it took us much longer than expected to get to the museum, with so many distractions along the way.  The Flower Market and the canal behind it was worth a second morning trip to get the reflection off the water.   

By the time we got to the museum, rested up in the cafeteria, it was mid-afternoon and the closing announcement came on an hour later.  These Dutch museums close early!  We didn't leave enough time for the museum other than checking out the essential Golden Age galleries.  All the more reason for a return visit which I fully intended to do.  

Morning view, on the way to the Textile Market, looking south at the Westerkerk's tall spire down Prinsengracht - many houseboats parked on both sides.  A spot on these canals cost as much as a house on land!
Textile market, more like a flea market with textiles

The Dutch are so green!
What they do to kids who don't behave...
Cheese museum outside and in
You can taste you way through the cheese shop above the museum!
Canal house with interesting facade
Beautiful organ inside the Westerkerk
Even more beautiful candle tree inside the church
A resident artist at work inside Westerkerk
More distractions - the shop windows!

It's a Monday in September, yet it felt so leisurely in Amsterdam...
De Papegaai Hidden  Church - it's hidden alright, I have to backtrack to find it.  The narrowness on the ouside belies the much wider church inside.  The church was originally hidden in a garden behind a regular housefront belonging to a bird-trader in the days when Catholicism could not be practised openly - hence the nickname De Papegaai (parrot).
Inside the Hidden Church
Many old houses in Amsterdam have this device for hauling large pieces of furniture up through the windows.

Finally, we got to the Flower Market and its amazing shops, selling all kinds of exotic flowers and plants, fresh, dried or otherwise, including cannabis starter kits!


The Singel Canal behind the Flower market - the only way to get the reflection is to come here in the morning, which I did - on a second trip (good thing it's only a 15 minute walk from our BnB)

House with many shutters!

Working women...

Leafy part of town - houses with backgardens facing the canal

The walkway to the Rijksmuseum
This group made use of the good acoustics in the covered walkway to play Vivaldi's Four Seasons on repeat... 
Captive audience
The renovated atrium of the Rijks

Rijksmuseum Research Library - the largest art history research library in the Netherlands
What everyone came to see - Rembrandt's Nightwatch

It was a relief to be let out into the sunshine after the dark Dutch art - even though it's their Golden Age.  And what better place to be than at the Museumplein with its "I amsterdam" sign, watching excited children chasing giant bubbles.  It's a great way to wrap up the day. Exhausted, we climbed on board a tram and was thankful for the efficiency of Amsterdam transport - the driver will sell you the tickets you need, no need to scramble.

Dinner that night was interesting - it was the first time we ate at a restaurant where you get different ambiances set up depending on the menu you chose.  Please pay a visit to Food Sparks to read about this interesting idea.

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