I am back to London from Amsterdam Feel like I have spent ages there, so weird now to see no more incomprehensible Dutch signs in public places At least now we know what ingang, uitgang, huis, plein, 4 halen 3 betalen… etc mean
But I lost my Esprit towel, Muji face towel and slippers in the hostel, plus the memory card before setting off … anyway the gain is greater than the lost
1st Day – A single Chinese girl roaming the Amsterdam streets
Jessica and Jackson went to Utrecht, so I was charged with the duty of checking in the hostel, and given leave to walk around this city I once visited 2 years ago.
Stayokay hostel – Jackson gave me the wrong address so that I walked all the way with my backpack from Central Station to Rijksmuseum to know we booked the other hostel which was half way back We had 3 beds in a dormitory, felt like back to those days when I used to go camping with girl guides
Rembrandthuis – The house of Rembrandt refurnished, his etching and painting workshops The famous self-portrait etching is only about 2 square inches large The black and white tiles, Dutch boxbeds are so cute
Anne Frank Huis – Walked from Rembrandthuis across the Dam Square to the house of the famous Anne Frank, 14 year-old Jewish girl who kept her diaries during WW2 German occupation. Shocked to find a long queue outside, did not attempt going in finally. It was even more popular then the other museums and galleries in Amsterdam
Red Light District – The famous Amsterdam erotica, “red light” perhaps relating to the red light bar above the prostitutes’ windows. Surrounding the Oude Kirk (Old Church) were these little boxrooms fitted with glass doors lined with curtains and a red light bar above, which made a really spectacular sight (the godly and the profane coexist side-by-side in such harmonious state) Shocked by the old and fat dames at first, then found some much better Natalie Portman in “Closer” type The behaviours of the (male) customers were an interesting thing to note as well
2nd Day – Across the boundaries, a super-condensed tour of Holland
This was a day of extreme exhaustion… we were in 4 cities in one day. Even the travel agencies cannot organize such a packed schedule
When we set off, it was snowing!!! My jacket was covered with a thin layer of white feathers as we treaded toward the Central Station
Dan Haag (The Hague) – A brief look at the Parliament Buildings, then the Mauritshuis to see my Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” Finally I got to see the real thing, not the distorted printed versions…
Rotterdam – Erasmus’ Rotterdam? Postmodern Rotterdam more like… All the experimental buildings created a postmodern virtual space Fantasies made real.
Delft – Vermeer’s Delft Oh what a lovely little town! I wish I had more time for it… looked like the serenity Vermeer represented in his View of Delft had stayed crystalized throughout these centuries.We could only look at the Oude Kirk where Vermeer was buried from the outside because it was closed already, and walked up to the square before the Neuwe Kirk before we had to catch the train again.
Amsterdam – Back to discover the cleaner of the hostel took away all our stuff The staff was not being helpful at all, left a blemish in the journey
3rd Day – Goodbye Holland
Zaanse Schans – The symbol of Holland. Despite the windmills, there were even cheese and wooden shoe workshops
Rijksmuseum – The world famous Rijkmuseum was under renovation, the masterpieces were moved to another wing. When I first saw Rembrandt 2 years ago I could not really appreciate his style. Now that I know more about Dutch Art of the Golden Age through my MA and my essay on painting last semester, I can recognize his genius The best quality print cannot reproduce the stunning effect of the real paintings. And of course there was Vermeer as well The Dutch Blue Porcelains faking the Chinese Ming Porcelains were so hideously fake that Jessica and I could not stop laughing in the exhibition room
Anne Frank Huis – Finally got to see the annex. The Frank family hid in a secret annex which entrance was hidden behind a bookcase It was very sad as we walked into the annex, reading the persecuted Jews’ testimonial of their suffering in WW2 and feeling the horror of Auschwitz… Especially when we finally came to a thick catalogue of about 103,000 Jews in Holland who died during WW2 I guess I must get an English copy of Anne Frank’s Diary…
London was snowing when we arrived. Back to hall before mid-night. Extremely tired but fulfilled.