Day 25 – Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Dutch Dinner

I started my day off heading to the Rijksmuseum (which is pronounced rykes museum, not sure what the ij combo into a y thing is). This is a large museum that has what seems like a little bit of everything. One of the main attractions is that it has Rembrandt’s Night Watch. I decided to head up there right away, in the hope of there being less people.

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This painting was pretty well guarded. Not surprising. This main gallery had a lot of the more famous Dutch artists and therefore ended up being rather full, rather quickly. If you know me, crowds aren’t my favorite thing, so I was happy to be there fast and then move on to the other areas which were much less crowded.  Over all I really enjoyed this museum.

Your cannon isn't very intimidating with this on the end.
Your cannon isn’t very intimidating with this on the end.

It turned out that I enjoyed it enough, that it took me way more hours to wander around than I ever thought possible. When I got out, I had intended to head over to the Van Gogh Museum, but there was simply no hope of spending any more time in a crowded museum.

So instead, I headed over to the Anne Frank House. Less of a museum right? But really, it was less crowded. The Anne Frank House is one place where you can’t buy tickets from any of the ticket locations in the city. Your two options are to buy them online, WAY ahead of time, or to stand in line and buy them at the museum. I was going with the line option. Luckily, it was a shorter line than a lot of days, and only took an hour and a half I believe. Met some nice girls in line that were doing a Europe tour at a super fast pace!

The museum was great to see, but super horrible at the same time. If you get to Amsterdam, it’s a must see.

After this day, I decided I should have some real food for dinner, and went to a place that was suggested by my hostel front desk man as a place for good traditional dutch food. Surprisingly, they’re not so easy to come by now that the city is such a mixing pot. A lot of the better food and more popular places are actually the immigrant food styles.

Dinner

Started off with cider and some herring. Yes, I know, strongbow is not dutch.

They serve herring with onions and salt. It is served raw and I was super apprehensive about it (not the raw bit, just the fish in general). Turns out that I actually really enjoyed it! I followed this up with Stamppotten, which is a meatball on top of mashed potatoes with some sort of veggie mixed in. The traditional version is with carrots, so that’s what I went with. I guess I could be Dutch because this was pretty much right up my food alley. Nothing to complain about. This was also the first place I’ve been that had a gluten free menu, but more exciting, gluten free bread. This area is so big on bread that I’ve actually been missing it.

Day 18 – København: Museums and Castles

It seems that most things open at 10, at the earliest. And being that this was a Sunday, lots of things didn’t open until 11. It makes for a calm start to the morning though. To start, I wrote my starting time on my Copenhagen Card, hopped a bus and off to the museums I went!

Design Museum Denmark – This goes over design and how Danish designers are influenced and what influences them. Not my favorite because a lot of it was just displaying what they made, without any information about how they got to that object. The temporary exhibit right now is on Children and design for them, or about them. So I did learn that the company Baby Bjørn is called that because the man that made the “babysitter” chair and whatever the harness is that holds the baby to you in the front had the last name Bjørn.

This chair made of newspapers I did find amusing.
This chair made of newspapers I did find amusing.

Amalienborg Palaces – This is now the home to the Royal Family. It has been so since 17something (I want to say 1749, but don’t trust that), when one of the great fired burnt down Christiansborg (see, fires are a common theme here). The Palaces were originally built as a place for four families of high nobles to live, and the royal family moving in was thought to be temporary. However, the family liked the palaces so much (they started with living in two of them) that they booted the other nobles and took over all four. They are connected by underground spaces, and a public street and roundabout continue to be used in between the four separate buildings. Luckily not many cars come through because all us tourists stand in the middle of the road to take pictures like this.

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The one pictured above currently houses rooms used by not-first-in-line princes and princesses when they are in Denmark, as well as the museum, which contains rooms restored from pictures taken near the time of death of the different kings and queens. Let me tell you, the kings and queens did not start the “Danish Modern” type of style. SO MANY things in every room. The reigning monarch lives in one of the buildings, the crown prince/princess in another (alternating every generation) and the fourth is used to house guests and to conduct business. Pretty cool.

Rosenborg Slot – This was built as a summer palace, I believe. Now, by who, I don’t remember. It would make sense that it was built back before Christiansborg or Amalienborg were the main residence of the royals, as they are only a few blocks apart. I’d probably remember it better if there had been more historical information in the Castle. However, the castle mainly contains items and pictures. It was used as a storage location for a lot of years, and was turned into a museum as early as the 1850’s. Denmark has had a monarchy for a long time, so not surprisingly, there are a lot of paintings. The exciting part of this castle, is that it houses the crown jewels. I, however, will never understand why some people take pictures of every single little thing in every room, including all the pieces of ivory and silver and jewels.

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I could have one of these, that'd be okay.
I could have one of these, that’d be okay.

Round Tower – This tower is part of a church and is a great spot for a look out over the city. It contains a ramp that spirals around until you reach the top (with a few stairs at the end). Certainly not an easy climb.

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Ramp going up!
View out over the city
View out over the city

I then walked around the shopping street hoping to find a replacement fitbit since I determined mine was really dead. Sadly, everything closes early on Sundays (not that an hour or two later on the week days is really all that late), and I had spent the opening hours seeing the sites. Google found me some place, and I took note to go the next day.

Day 13 – Ships and Sculptures

I started today out heading to the Maritime Museum in Oslo. The museum is located on the end of a peninsula, which has a ferry that runs between there and essentially downtown Oslo. I bought myself a 24 hour transportation ticket (bus, tram, ferry) and got ready to go. Turns out, the ferry to the museums is the only thing on the maps that doesn’t work with a normal bus ticket. So bus it was.

Almost everyone else got off at the Viking Ship Museum, but I kept going. The museum had been open for about an hour by the time I got there, yet there was no one in the exhibits. Like really, I was the only one in there for a long time. They had a lot of awesome information about shipping in Norway. Did you know that the largest cruise-lines in the world started from Norwegian Ferry companies? Nope? Me neither. I finally figured out what they meant by the different styles of boat building, which is useful, if I was going to build some ancient boats, or if I’d known it when reading descriptions for the past 6 days.

The view out from the museum, towards the fjord and the islands.
The view out from the museum, towards the fjord and the islands.

The views from outside the museum were quite amazing as well. Turns out lots of people in Oslo own sailing boats. Not sure if you can even distinguish one mast from another in the picture.

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From there, I headed back up the road to the Viking Ship Museum, which was still crawling with people. The museum has the remains of 3 viking ships which were found in Norway, between 1896 and 1904, and have been preserved and reconstructed. The ships were all used as burial vessels for important people of the time (all are believed to have been buried before 920). The first one was assembled from 90% original material! The second one, not as much, and the third one… just scroll to that picture.

First Ship
First Ship
Second Ship
Second Ship
Third Ship!
Third Ship!

The found a fourth around the same time, but that one had nothing left of the actual ship. They found lots of bits and pieces to go with the burial. The Viking people appear to have believed in the after life and that you needed the same material things there as in the living world, so animals, food, tools, etc. were also buried with the person. They believe jewelry was also buried, but the mounds were all robbed (evidenced by broken things) shortly after the entombment.

Hopped the bus back to town and up to the Vigeland Park. This is something I need to read up on a bit more, but I couldn’t talk myself into the museum with how nice of a day it was. Essentially it’s a large park a bit outside the city center, with a ton of Vigeland Sculptures. Some of them are very well known, others perhaps not as much. I, ofcourse, was drawn to the big things, like everyone else. I took some time to look at all the smaller sculptures around, and regardless of the position the people were in, they all just seemed so sad! I could tell some things were clearly happy events depicted, but the faces were so somber and sad looking to me. All of the sculptures are people, with the extremely large majority being groups of people.

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I pretty much just hung out in the park until the massive rush of tourists left. It really is a thing here to just sun bathe and have lunch in the park (which I was happy to participate in). Lots of people were in the park: some groups of friends, some families, some single people. A lot of the groups and families were grilling food. However, grilling here is totally different than home. Since everyone travels by bus/tram or bike or walking, no one owns actual grills. And there aren’t any in the park. But you can buy these one time use grills from the grocery stores! Pretty neat contraptions if you ask me. No long time grilling on them though, and probably nothing that wasn’t pre-cooked.

I was glad I brought sunscreen with me otherwise I would be fried pink! Such a nice day. Now off to my room, where I now have 3 other roommates!


 

Steps: 16,480 (even with a bus pass!)

Floors: 23