Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Amsterdam wanders part 1

I don't think I saw too much of that strange ballet that Easyjet like to call a safety briefing. I can't remember taking off at all and I came round to find us landing on the runway at Schiphol about an hour later. We'd driven through the night (or at least Bev had driven - I just sat there) to get an early flight from Liverpool so that we'd have most of the day in Amsterdam and we would manage fine on an hour's nap on the plane.

So after queueing at 4 separate train ticket machines at the airport unsuccessfully and managing to find the correct tram first time we found ourselves in the right area for the hotel and after a spot of breakfast, the Van Gogh museum (below), our next destination.

There are certain things in the world that you're not supposed to critise, a bit like Nelson Mandela or Neil Young, and I suspect that ol' Vincent holds that position in the art world. Even so I find Van Gogh a bit hit or miss, there are some excellent ones which just seem to hit the spot but much of the time he seems to be waving about trying out styles (I'm sure somebody will be around to arrest me in the morning). His painting below is of  Daubigny's garden - I put that one in particular up because there were two paintings in the gallery by Daubigny himself and one of them I really liked - it was of a sunset on the sea with waves breaking on the shore (unfortunately not available on the internet that I can find)

Apart from our visits to Rembrant's house and the Resistance museum which I'll be coming to later, much of Tuesday and Thursday were spent wandering about the city. It's a delightful city to wander in with it's canals and tall houses with lots of little quirky odds and ends dotted about. For a major city, it doesn't have all that many cars on the road and once you get a street or so back, it can be unexpectably quiet. To make up for this the city is awash with bicycles, also unexpectably quiet especially when they're nearly running you over before they ring their bell. They seem to run in the opposite direction from the traffic on cycle tracks that are nearly indistinguishable from the pavements. You'd think that to then throw an extensive tram system into the mix would make Amsterdam's streets a death trap but they at least are big and noisy and you'd be hard pushed not to see them.

On with the photos....

This photo says something about the bicycle to car ratio.

It's a cow on a window ledge.

A bad day!

The area round about the hotel, the museum district, has a wealth of magnificent doorway - I could have filled the camera with them.

An odd knocker

Some rather lovely pillars on an art shop building.

Me thinks this guy isn't getting anywhere. I took this picture while passing on the other side of the road. While having a surf later on to try and find out about it, I saw so many other statues in Amsterdam that I had never seen, I wondered if it was some other city I had been to.

A bear blowing bubbles.

If all the world's traffic barriers could be painted like this, wouldn't it be a nicer place.

Some of the old buildings make you wonder how they stay up.

It took a while to find this beer. The area around the museums and hotel are not chock a block with bars. I'm sure the owner of this establishment would rather have sold us food and it was a bit posher then we might normally have gone for - which you may be able to judge from the glass.

The hotel bar was much more to my liking. It had a very dark corner and with the fact we had lined up a little Caravagio for the next day in mind, Bev took this.


Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Really enjoyed the selection of photos and the tour. So much to comment about but you'll have to settle for my being simply "enjoyed".

Sandy's witterings said...

Glad you enjoyed - more of the same in a few days.

Shundo said...

I particularly like the cow - a Friesian frieze almost.

Light-In-A-Box said...

Amsterdam, wow! That's a place I'd love to visit. I think I could get used to a slower paced life & travel around on bicycle! Those bicycles in your pictures all seem to be really old, nothing modern at all? Fantastic photos Sandy!

billy bagwash said...

back in my misspent youth i worked in holland for a short while, you really have caught the spirit of amsterdam in these photo's, and as for van gogh yes i cant agree more with you, think him and elvis go hand in hand in the no talent stake's


Poppy said...

Love the photos as ever Sandy :) Amsterdam looks a great place to visit :)

Sandy's witterings said...

That's me back at work now - thus the lack of activity here for a couple of days - more blogs soon and a bit of catch up with everyone elses.

Thanks for commenting folks.

Billy - I'm afraid I never had a misspent youth - I intend on making up for it with a misspent old age :)

Michael - a huge percentage of the bikes in Amsterdam look ancient, really basic and a bit beat up - they seem to work fine though and probably don't get stolen so often.

Shundo - ow!

Poppy Amsterdam's lovely, and not that far away from you - well worth a trip.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Excellent selection of photos, I especially love the cow on the window ledge! I haven't been to Amsterdam for a few years now...

Ana said...

I've been to Amsterdam in 1985 and all I saw is in my mind.
I loved your blog. I feel as if I was there again.
Surely I'll steal some of your images!
I'll put the credits.

Sandy's witterings said...

Ana, Welcome to the blog and feel free to steal the pictures as you want.