No agenda yesterday….other than to avoid getting run over by a bicyclist. They are LITERALLY everywhere! Old and young, men and women, rain or shine, parents with multiple children (yes, I saw a mom with THREE children all on ONE bike!)….you name it, they are riding a bike! I set out from the hotel around 9:30am and the air was cool and damp but the rain seemed to have moved on. The day’s forecast was high 50’s/low 60’s and partly cloudy. I made the decision to walk everywhere…no public transportation. I have two perfectly good feet and they were made for walking! I started out along the Amstel towards the Jewish Quarter, stopping along the way for a bite of breakfast – Poffertjes (picture mini puffy pancakes with syrup and powdered sugar – YUM!) and a warm cup of coffee.
Ready to conquer the day! I walked across the street to the Portuguese Synagogue and the Jewish Museum. The Portuguese Synagogue was beautiful and I enjoyed exploring the grounds. It is still an active Synagogue.
There was a sculpture entitled Petrification by Ram Katzir. Is it possible to carry a place with you? Is it possible to leave your baggage behind? Petrifaction is a sculpture about cultural burdens and the difficulty of letting go. This piece really spoke to me and left me thinking.
There was another piece of work by Ram Katzir, this one entitled Kosher. It is an image of the Hebrew word for kosher, written in milk and meat. Interesting.
From there, I walked to the Museum of Bags and Purses. Yes, there is an entire museum dedicated to bags and purses…..and it was calling my name! It was fascinating! I learned that the purse was originally designed for men but when men’s coats and blazers started having interior pockets, the man purse was no longer needed.
I enjoyed a bite of lunch in the museum cafe afterwards. I made my way through the canals to Old Town and the Red Light District. All I have to say is that there was great people watching! I did a bit of shopping in some of the indie shops and boutiques. Amsterdam has amazing local shops, which made for great window shopping.
Life is good! I also saw quite a few shops that my niece, Ayla, would have enjoyed – macaroon shops and a design-your-own watch shop.
I got back to the hotel around 5pm and put my feet up! I covered quite a few miles today! Around 7pm, I made my way to the hotel lobby to meet Anke and Kati, two of my colleagues for the upcoming trip. Anke’s boyfriend, Hayo, just finished building a boat and we spent some time with their friends in the new vessel. It was beautiful…the woodwork was master class!
After a glass of wine, we went to dinner at a local bistro called De Ysbreeker to get to know each other. It was a fun night and I enjoyed getting to know some local people.
This morning, I woke up to the sun shining and cool temperatures. On my way to the museum quarter, I stopped and had a bite of breakfast at a quaint little cafe called Anne & Max’s. The music playing in the cafe was delightful and I was curious as to who sang the songs. It happened to be a spotify channel featuring artists named Schuyler Fisk, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Susie Soh and Sarah Jarosz. I had never heard of any of them and I look forward to downloading some of their music when I get home. I made my way across the canal to the Van Gogh Museum. It was quite busy but I expected nothing less. I rented a self-guided audio device and made my way through the permanent exhibit which tells the story of Van Gogh’s life and artwork and features hundreds of his well-known masterpieces. It was very surreal to see Van Gogh’s paintings in person.
The temporary exhibit was a Edvard Munch and Van Gogh exhibit and it was packed! I walked through the exhibit halls but I found it difficult to enjoy because there were so many people. I was also getting a bit hungry and realized it was nearly 1:00pm. I walked a few blocks and stumbled upon a little local place called Pompa and it was fantastic! I had a goat cheese, arugula, honey and pine nut panini and my taste buds were extremely happy! I wandered the streets around the museum quarter and found a few hidden gems – great local shops! My feet were starting to hurt so I made my way back towards the hotel.
I met Kati at 5pm to talk about our upcoming trip and the training components of this particular itinerary. I have a feeling we are going to have a lot of fun….Kati is really awesome! Now I am back in my hotel room and just finished re-packing (and who are we kidding….re-organizing, too!) my bags. Our baggage pull is scheduled for 11am tomorrow morning. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Amsterdam and I can honestly say that I have fallen in love with this city!