We drove by car to the Ij River and took the ferry across to Central Station in Amsterdam. From there we decided to take the Tram to the Albert Cuyp Market. It’s a big open air market with anything and everything from clothes to trinkets to food of all kinds. We bought some huge blackberries that were nicely sweet. We stopped at a cafe for coffee and were enjoying it at a table outside when it started to rain hard, forcing us inside.
Our next stop was the Rijks Museum, where we spent the entire afternoon. There was more Dutch art than I could properly digest, but it was impressive to see. Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Van Gogh’s Self Portrait attracted the biggest crowds. One of my favorite Rembrandt paintings in this collection was “Isaac and Rebecca”. There was a very wise quote on the wall near the painting that I thought captured the emotion of the piece very well. I wish I had taken a picture of the quote — dang! Another painting that impressed me was the massive depiction of the end of Battle of Waterloo. The Duke of Wellington is looking very smug up on his horse and William II, who is supposed to injured, is on a stretcher reclining as if he still has some control over the situation. Fascinating.
We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and as 6pm approached, we were anxious to get a nice, satisfying dinner. D decided to head in a direction in the Tram and wing it from there. After we got off the Tram, we walked to Dam Square. There was a Palestinian protest just ending as we got there. A large guard of mounted Police stood in front of the Royal Palace. I guess they were there to keep order and not to protect the King who was undoubtedly absent.
After a lot of walking and little idea of what restaurant we wanted, we ended up at a Thai place. The food was good enough and filled our empty bellies! The prices were good, too.
I wanted to see the Central Library or the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, which is world famous for it’s ecological architectural design. It did not disappoint! It’s doesn’t have the old library feel of NYPL or BPL, but it’s easily one of the most amazing libraries that I’ve seen. It’s incredibly well organized in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and practical. The arrangement by floor (distinct collections), shelving, and signage work really well. It’s very easy to navigate and use the material. It’s hard to believe that many libraries fail at this, when it’s their mission to connect users to information.
We met our B&B guest neighbors this morning and had breakfast with them. They are Rob and Jette and they have a 5 month old baby girl named Babette (love her name!). They’re a very nice Dutch couple and the baby is soooo adorable! They live near Arnhem — an area that we will visit next week.
Today’s curious sighting: Dude dressed up as a gold Rembrandt outside the Riks.