My Internet is horrible at the hostel, so my apologies for the delayed posts. Unfortunately, the blog seems to have eaten the draft of this blog post and I have to write it again, so I’ll keep it short.
Yesterday morning I wanted to go to the Plantage/Waterlooplein neighborhood, and I realized I still had two hours left of my 24 hour hop on/hop off canal tour! So I did another tour of the city by water and got off near the Rembrandt museum. I really enjoyed this museum in particular because most of it is actually located in the three-story 17th century house where Rembrandt lived and painted. As all the guidebooks say, it really does feel as if he’s just stepped out of the room. It’s a gorgeous house and historians were able to recreate the inner furnishings because eventually Rembrandt went bankrupt and had to move, and people catalogued all of his possessions.
After enjoying the museum, I walked outside to the Waterlooplein market. Unfortunately, at that moment, it started raining. It was funny, though, to see people fleeing the rain and trying to cover the items they were selling. The market itself was full of oversized sweaters, Dutch dresses, and buddha statues, what I expected to see, but there was also quite a bit of elephant imagery. As a lot of you know, I love elephants, so I had to take pictures.
I walked around the block and discovered a Belgian chocolate store and a radical bookshop. Of course, I had to go inside (especially because some of the books/pamphlets were in English, not just Dutch!).
I then found a real gem – De Sluyswacht, which is a 17th century lockkeeper’s house that lists like a ship in the wind, and is of course now a pub. I enjoyed a pint of Hoegaarden’s, and also thoroughly enjoyed being dry for a while.
But then I realized that I had to get to the Rijksmuseum, which I had a ticket for, before closing time at 5pm. So I walked down the Amstel River (an actual river! not a canal!). I had a hard time deciding where to get food, and I ended up with food neither unique nor Dutch, but very satisfying and familiar. 😉
I finally made it to the Rijksmuseum, and wow, was it worth it. I’ve grown up going to museums, but something about being in Europe makes the art, especially art like this, feel more contextualized and powerful. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but I’ve had this feeling at every museum I’ve been to here. I don’t know if folks know what I’m talking about, but if you do, I’d love to know that someone else has had this experience!
I was exhausted and hungry, so I rested and had a bag of Doritos. And I only bring it up because the name of the flavor of Doritos was hilarious…
When I had the energy, I ventured out again and discovered my favorite place so far in Amsterdam. It’s called Café Brecht, and it’s a German cafe that serves Italian food and German beer. The decor is meant to look like a Berlin sitting room, and the ambience is fantastic. Wow. Shoutout to Danny, who needs to come with me to Café Brecht sometime. And then we’ll actually go to Berlin!
Finally, I had read about a jazz club on a bunch of the “best of” lists of Amsterdam jazz, and it was right in the neighborhood, so I decided to check it out. It’s called Jazz Cafe Alto, and there’s live jazz there every night starting at 10pm. I heard a quartet – I don’t remember their name – bass, piano, drums, and sax. It was crowded and friendly and simply fantastic music.
While walking back to the hostel, I saw a very sweet stray cat. She looks a lot like a cat I used to have, named Brownie. Adopt, people, and spay/neuter!