The day began with a song, through my morning haze it sounded familiar, Heather later told me it was “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. I was a long way from figuring that out, when the song ended a calm voice started speaking loudly in Dutch from what sounded like just a few feet above my bed. My initial thought was that we had all slept in for way too long and the “ferry people” were in our room, telling us it was time for us to leave to boat. No one was in the room, then I noticed it was still dark out side, and the voice was coming from a loud speaker in the ceiling I had not noticed before. Then the English version of he announcement came on, explaining we had an hour before it was time to disembark. I tried to get more sleep for the next 45 minutes, alas a similar message was given every 15 minutes counting down the minutes before it was time to leave. Over all my experience on the ferry was a good one (much better then flying). However I wish there was an option to opt out of the wake up announcement. I ended up wishing we had taken a longer route or a slower ferry so we could get a full night’s sleep.
Getting off the boat we we got on the train, and rolled into Amsterdam around 11am. We figured out how the Tram worked and took it to the Mozart Hotel.
After checking in, we headed to Van Gogh Museum. On the way we stopped at a little store where Elysia and Heather got hot chocolate (it chilly and rainy). It was a great art museum. We actually started with their special exhibit on Picasso. They did a good of showing some of the different stages of his career, his influences and other artists inspired by his work. There was also a lot of interesting history about his life that they did not have time to cover in my art history classes or I had forgotten. Plus the exhibit was about his time in Paris so there was some interesting stuff about the city we were going to visit in a few days.
Then we got into the biggest collection of his work Van Gogh collection in the world. I’m a big fan on Vincent Van Gogh. I think he is one of the best examples of someone who really innovated and explored new ways to express ones self with paint, but his work still manages to accessible. I think a lot of good artists manage to do one or the other but doing both is the sort of thing that warrants getting your own museum. Also, like with Picasso they also included some work by other artists that influenced Van Gogh and Van Gogh’s work was something that influenced them.
After all that art, it was nap time, plus I was coming down with a cold. I had started to get sick when we were in England, but it had gotten worse since then. So we went back to Hotel Mozart and slept for a few hours.
We got up and to the Anne Frank House. Pre-ordered tickets have to have specific time to enter, which I would recommend doing if you go during the day. It is a small place to they carefully control how many people are in the exhibit at once. If you do not know who Anne Frank is, you should read about her. It’s a fascinating story. Before going in I was worried about how heavy it was going to be considering the subject matter. It was all done very well though. No where near as heavy as the Holocaust Museum in DC. Not that Holocaust Museum is bad, it was quite good, in fact, it is important, and I would strongly recommend it to almost anyone, but maybe I would not plan on doing something fun immediately afterwards.
Anyway, the Anne Frank museum was something you could do something fun afterwards. It was not so much about the horrors of the holocaust, but it was more about the history of this one family and their friends. At the end there there were some exhibits addressing larger questions about tolerance for other cultures and racial discrimination today.
When our visit to the Anne Frank House was over, it was time for dinner. We got Thai food. It was very good.
The plan for the evening was to explore Amsterdam’s night life. So we went back to the hotel. Heather and Elysia changed clothes, I did not, I forgot to bring anything “nicer” for “going out”.
The night got started out right though, about a block from our hotel, Elysia found a €50 bill on the sidewalk. We looked around, no one was nearby, it was ours… I mean… Elysia’s, she was super cool though and bought a couple of round of drinks with it, speaking of which, drinks in Amsterdam are expensive.
I can’t remember what day she said it, but Elysia noted that she was under the impression that Amsterdam was a “poor man’s Paris”; not quite as classy, but just as fun and less expensive. Well, that may have been true once upon a time, or maybe if you knew the right places to go, and some of the expense could have been the unfavorable exchange rate we were dealing with, but eating and drinking was not cheap.
We ended up find a couple of good places to hang out near our hotel then back to Hotel Mozart for bed.