Day 26 and 27 – All things Amsterdam

Day 26

I refused to take a picture of the I amsterdam sign with six billion other people crawling all over it. I had tried to swing by last night on my way to dinner, but there was still a lot of people there. Being that it’s summer and all, it gets light nice and early, so I decided to get up way too early and head over. I didn’t even make it to my alarm clock however, as many people in my room were getting up to go places before then (16 people in a room is a lot of alarm clocks). So off I went.

Lucky for me, I think it was around 7 when I got there, and was pretty much deserted. I did run into a couple guys who were stopping to take their picture with the sign on their way home from the bar…. luckily, they were totally sober enough that I could ask then to take my picture too!

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After this adventure, I headed back to my hostel to grab some breakfast. Nothing would be open for a couple hours anyways.

In the morning I went over to the Rembrandthuis, which is Rembrandt’s house set up as it was when he lived there. In his life he earned a lot of money, but he spent most of it before he actually earned it. Not a good route to go, and he ended up broke. The bank therefore foreclosed on his house. When they did that though, they made a meticulous list of all the things that he had in the house. That is why it has been able to be recreated as well as it has.

A bit interesting just to see a period house, but the most interesting part was definitely the paint making demonstration. I had never really thought about how you would make paint. Well, it’s a pain, and had to be made every day. Rembrandt would make a couple colors per day, and use those colors on multiple paintings at the same time. Pretty smart. Interestingly, the white paint was made from lead (at the time), and totally toxic. Powders were mixed with oil on a stone until the right consistency was reached, the different powders would create different colors. Some came from rocks, some from coal, etc. and that’s how you have the different colors. This demonstration made it so that I could finally figure out how some artists have what looks like “chunky” paint, and other don’t. It would have been a preference in how they mixed the paint.

After this I decided to bike around and find the smallest house front in Amsterdam. It was no wider than the door. Walking around back it’s hard to tell which house is which, but all the backs were much larger, which is pretty much what they tell you about the house.

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Other things I found while biking around: A pretty canal view, and a house that was so crooked I don’t know how it’s standing. Pictures don’t do either justice, but here they are anyways.

Canal in the morning before everyone gets moving
Canal in the morning before everyone gets moving
I swear the house with yellow windows was going to just fall into the street
I swear the house with yellow windows was going to just fall into the street

Day 27

I decided, after reading reviews, it was worth it to go to the Van Gogh Museum early. I got there around 850, because when I plan to be somewhere in Amsterdam, I leave plenty of time for wrong turns, and was surprised to be early. The museum opened at 9. There was already a crazy crowd when I got there.

They're working on a new entrance, because this is a mess
They’re working on a new entrance, because this is a mess

While I really enjoy Van Gogh’s work, I was not a huge fan of this museum. They have the largest collection of Van Gogh in the world, but I really didn’t feel like they had much of it on display. A lot of what was on display was the people who inspired him, and bits about his family and letters he wrote. While this is how he came to be, it wasn’t what I was expecting, and simply wasn’t that interesting. Perhaps I would have had a different view if the Munch Museum in Oslo hadn’t had the display comparing Munch and Van Gogh, which also explained both of their life stories and histories and influences. We shall never know.

I wandered around shopping for a bit, coming up empty handed. It’s amazing how hard you have to work to justify purchasing anything when you know it has to fit in the one bag you have packed!

In the evening I met up with Jeannette for drinks and dinner. I previously met her on the walking tour in Copenhagen, but she’s living in Amsterdam. I figured it’s fun when you can meet up with someone, way more fun than eating and drinking alone!

 

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