It is evening as I write this (about 9:00 pm local) and we have had a full day. Except for the report of our security system going off at home, things have gone well. Sorting out the security system will take a while so I will write while we wait.

Good weather today. It was cloudy, but cleared up nicely. The temperature was in the low to mid 60s and there was a moderate breeze. The breakfast buffet was good at the hotel so it took us a while to get started.

We walked down to the Rijksmuseum.

The Rijksmuseum

It took about 20 minutes and this time the building was right where I left it several years ago. Luck is still with us on the second day of our trip because there was absolutely no line to get in—we were very fortunate. This museum in nearing the end of a 10 year renovation (I think they are about 11 or 12 years into the 10-year project, so right on schedule for a government effort.) to redo the interior completely. That means it is fairly cramped now and they can’t show as much as they do normally, but the number of patrons inside today let us see everything that was available with no trouble. I think that most of the work on display was from the 1600s and early 1700s. That means in addition to the ship models and pictures of sea battles and elaborate silver services, there were many pictures by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals and so on.

The Kitchen Maid — Vermeer

We moved through all 14 rooms seeing the originals of many pieces that Patricia studied in art class. I saw many pictures I don’t remember seeing the last time I was there. I was able to take several pictures. The guard said as long as I didn’t use flash, they didn’t care.

Prophetess Anna reading the Bible — Rembrandt

By the time we left, the sky had cleared and it was very nice outside so we had a little snack of waffles and cherries—it must be a local thing—

Waffles with cherry sauce

before going to the Van Gogh museum. That museum is only a couple of hundred yards from the Rijksmuseum. This time there was a very long line, but we did not have to wait; before leaving home I purchased a pass that not only got us I free, but also allowed us to skip to the very front of the line

The Van Gogh is going to move most of its collection to the Amsterdam Hermitage while the Van Gogh is restored. That will happen in just a couple of weeks so our timing was good. The museum has the bulk of the work done by Van Gogh—which probably raises the price of the others which are not [yet] in their hands. Not only are there many of his works, but there are also quite a few works of his contemporaries such as Monet and Manet (thanks for the clue on how to tell them apart, Kate), Sisley, Millet and several others about whom we knew little. The notes and exposition telling us about how these people influenced Van Gogh and how some of them were influenced by him were very interesting. Of course, the real draw is the work by Van Gogh himself. We enjoyed that a lot. We only saw one sunflower picture and Starry Night is in MOMA in NYC, so we didn’t see that.

By time we finished there, we had just enough time to walk back to the hotel and sit down by the Amstel for a drink before heading to an Indonesian restaurant to try “rijsttafel” or “rice table”.

Sitting beside the Amstel on Saturday afternoon

Rijsttafel presents a number of small dishes with increasing degrees of [spicy] heat and you sample them in turn. We got the version that gave us 18 dishes plus about 5 things to go with them. Patricia tried all but a couple and I tried 14 of the 18. The last one was so hot [how hot was it?] that even a tiny bite had us call to the waiter for a bowl of ice. We recovered fully.

It appears our home alarm is going off so we have been dealing with the security company to figure out what is going on. The sheriff’s deputies who came out didn’t see any signs of a break-in. Fortunately, our neighbor was also able to look and did not see any signs of trouble. Thanks, Elinor.

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  1. Dad and I were in this museum when we took our European Tour with Rock Valley College. Needless to say we didn’t have time to really appreciate everything.

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