From this weekend’s trip to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. You’re not allowed to take pictures, but I snuck a few in with my phone anyway. One of those shots was this one of the painting Almond Blossom. It’s my favourite painting of his, even more so than classics like Starry Night. Too bad the museum chose to cover many paintings with a glass plate. It makes for ugly reflections.
After buying another cheap day ticket for the train last month, I suggested to Gert we should go to Amsterdam again. He immediately mentioned he’d never been to the Van Gogh museum. And just like that, we had plans. And yesterday was the day to execute said plans.
We left Grunn early so we would be in Amsterdam somewhat early as well. We arrived at the central station around 10:30 and, priorities, went to Starbucks for a drink. We then got on a tram to the museum square where the Van Gogh Museum is.
When we got out, the sun was shining, the weather was nice (albeit cold) and across the field we could see the museum. As we crossed we saw a lot of people outside the museum. When we got close enough, we saw it was the queue.
And not just a queue to get in the museum, no, the queue to get a ticket. Every minute or so, yellow-jacketed hosts would let another handful of people through to the queue at the door where they could go in to buy their tickets.
We had talked about pre-ordering tickets online but forgot to do so. But it gave us an idea. We checked with a host, and indeed, it would work. So, on Gert’s phone we ordered tickets online. He immediately got them in his mailbox and we could skip the queue and go straight to the entrance 😀
Disappointingly it was not allowed to take pictures in the museum. Not even just flash-less pics, no, not at all. This did not stop us from sneaking in a few phone pictures anyway.
The building has several floors that thematically lead you through Van Gogh’s life. Starting with an Eye to Eye section with nothing but self portraits to his final works before committing suicide. There were sections for his early work after he had decided he wanted to be an artist, leading up to the Potato Eaters, his moving to France where he got in contact with impressionism and such making his work lighter and brighter. Also his Japanese inspired works, his period in the institution, and the brief period after he got out and before he killed himself.
Our second plan for the day was to hit the book shops. When in Amsterdam we also tend to go to the American Book Center. This time around we decided to add The Book Exchange to the mix. This is a large second-hand bookstore with nothing but English works. Since this shop would close earlier, it became our first stop after we finished in the museum. We got on the tram again, but accidentally picked the one going the wrong way. So we got off again two stops further. Reassessing our priorities, we hit another Starbucks for a drink, and for Gert to charge his phone.
After a well deserved break, we got back on the tram, the right one this time, and headed for the city center. From there it was just a few minutes to get to The Book Exchange. We dove straight into the basement where they keep the scifi and fantasy books. I picked out some Star Trek books and then went around the room alphabetically. I found several books that had been on my list, or are sequels to works I have. I found Elizabeth Bear’s first books (the Jenny Casey trilogy) that I’ve been wanting. I found the follow-up to C.F. Bentley’s Harmony and also the sequels to Robert Sawyer’s Hominids. I’ve been looking for these last two for ages! They also had a fun Stargate book, and two Kim Harrison books that I still needed. And, in a surprise, twist, part four in that trilogy I got at the local thrift store on Wednesday…
A quiet hour later, we both had our arms full of books and decided to call it quits for now. With packed bags we stood outside and quickly agreed to skip the American Book Center for today. We walked back towards the city center. Gert bought himself a pink waffle with sprinkles. (I tasted, it’s ridiculously sweet)
In the morning we had sort of decided to eat Asian for dinner. But after what we spent on books, we decided on cheap food. KFC was our first choice but it was insanely crowded so we skedaddled. McDonalds was close by so we tried that. The first one we found was out of Maestro Burgers so we picked another one just a few hundred yards further. This one did have the Maestro’s, which are glorious.
After eating, we headed back to the station to go home. It was a good day 🙂
When I got my iPhone last October, my old phone became my Mom’s new phone. However, I think I’ve dropped it a little too much over the two years I had it, since over the last week the screen started shorting out. Mom figured this would be a nice time to get a new phone, so when I suggested we head to the phone shop together, she wanted to go the next day 😀
So, Saturday The Mom and I took the car to the transferium and from there the citybus to the centre. After a stroll across the market, I wanted to see if Jansen&Jansen had any new fun stuff, which they had. Before I’d left, Nienke asked me to see about finding her a new pair of slippers. I didn’t find any pretty ones at the market, but found awesome ones at Jansen&Jansen 😀 Fuzzy clog-shaped slippers, pink with red hearts on them 😀
Of course I had to bring these for Nienke. I also bought myself (and her) a duck for our collection. After this we headed for the T-Mobile shop to pick out a new phone for Mom. After discussing it with the sales guy, we decided on another Nokia, since she’s used to that in terms of control and looks.
Then we hit the main shopping street, bought some clothes (shirt, t-shirt, hat), shoes, had lunch at Hema and then made our way back up towards the market.
Some more looking around there was followed by a last stop at the craft store to get latex (to make a vampire forehead), some music-themed charms and a paper maché leaf for Florian the Flower Faerie to sit on. By then we were getting a bit tired so we decided to grab the next bus back to the Transferium and head home.
I hung around at the parents for the rest of the afternoon. When I got back home, Nienke was much pleased with her slippers 😀
After some hanging about and watching another episode of Stargate Atlantis, I decided to finally start sorting through my clothes, which I’d been wanting to do for a while now. Nienke took her laptop and accompanied me while I tried on everything to see what still fit, what I still liked and so on. Much fun was had, especially with all the typical female clothes (women tunics, dresses, female tops and so on). It felt like another step in my gender process from gender neutral towards masculine, as wearing these clothes made me feel like a drag queen. (It did give me an awesome idea for a dress-up though: dress up as a drag queen while wearing my binder, so sort of being a woman being a man being a woman again.)
After sorting, it was too late to fold everything, so I stuffed it all back in the closet just so my bed would be free and I could sleep. Nienke had sorted through her clothes a few weeks ago, but not yet put her stuff back either, so Sunday evening, after procrastinating all day we decided to fire up Skype, and both go about folding and putting our clothes back. It was much fun, although the whole process took hours. Photo was about mid-sorting I think.
Monday I had a day off. I messed around in the house, did dishes and such. Made a cake, made a painting and painted the paper maché leaf I bought on Saturday.
Went out for pizza and ice cream with Eva and Nienke. While we were out, and afterwards back at Nien’s place for tea, we discussed crafts. Eva’s very much into fabrics right now, notably felt, and is making hangers, and bags and puppets and stuff. I’ve not been very crafty lately, but felt attracts me a lot (and the work I see from Eva & Signe fires the drive) and in my head I’m sketching out the big ass painting that I want to create. One corner has been figured out, but since it’s so big (about 0,75m by 1m canvas) I want it figured out fully before I put paint to canvas.
This led to asking Nienke what she has in terms of craft supplies, which turned out to be mostly things for drawing. Eva then mentioned that she’d like to paint, but is never satisfied. I always find that working on a canvas, as opposed to just paper, makes it more ‘real’. I’m better able to quit and say it is done, instead of just going and going and finally tossing it away because it sucks. We talked about differences between acrylic paint and oils and then decided we’d like to paint together sometime soon. Totally inspired I got a call just after I’d left for my parents again (I’m spending the weekend there) when I had to work on Sunday. Unfortunately it’s 4 hours in the middle of the day, so not easily combined with painting. We postponed for a later day.
I feel invigorated now, I want to create! *buzzes off*
Some more pics.
My book case, partly painted (black that is, the yellow is the old colour).
This is the kitchen floor after the guys from the housing cooperation came by and fixed it.
And here are my freshly painted walls, most notably the one red wall. Me like lots!
Here you can just see the hole in my kitchen floor in the top left corner of the photo. I called the Housing Cooperation about the rotten bit of flooring and they came and said two beams that are supporting the floor are rotten as well and need to be replaced. So they will be back to fix it in the next few days.
And this one shows my dad painting a part of a kitchen wall.
This is me, removing a strip of wallpaper the previous inhabitant had placed to separate the red and cream areas of the wall. It turned out to be not so easy as they used a funny type of glue and probably put it on while the red wallpaint was still wet. It was so sticky, we ended up putting a steelbrush thingy on a drill to remove it.
And this is an old nightstand I had which I repainted as I disliked its original colour (lightblue). I made it black so it fits in with my desk which is also black.