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 🙂