Day 4- Monday March 13
Too many museums too little time! So we picked 2: Rijksmuseum and Moca museum. We bought Rijks tickets ahead on line, to avoid long waiting line. We chose early start and at 9:30am, we just walked right in noting that ticket office had no waiting. But first, some selfies at the IAmsterdam sign!
With tips from previous visitors, who noted that there’s always a crowd in front of the sign, we took pictures from behind and did flip horizontal with photo editing tools.
Rijksmuseum lobby is an airy atrium bathed in natural light. The cafe in the mezzanine would be a beautiful place to rest and people-watch as the museum filled up. But we didn’t dilly dally. We strode down to the lower floor, with Rijks apps, and searched for the Dutch masters. Found Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch”in The Gallery of Honour after some unintended detour. We expect some signage pointing to the Gallery, but didn’t find any. So just look for double greenish door on the right, close to midway point of the Great Hall which has colorful stained glass windows and intricate vaulted ceilings. Other famous paintings are also displayed here, eg . Vermeer’s “The Milk Maid”, showing the interplay between light reflection and colours, and Steen’s “The Merry Family”, full of liveliness and messiness of life. Our favorite is Breitner’s “The Singel Bridge at the Paleisstraat” showing pedestrians on the bridge in 19th century Amsterdam under damp misty gloomy winter sky that is now typically described as Breitner-like weather. All except Van Gogh museum allowed photos of the artwork. We didn’t take any. There was so much to see but we couldn’t make it through the crowd that began to gather by noon so we made our escape outdoor. Walking toward the tram stop, we found musicians playing under the roof of the Rijks passageway and spent a few pleasant minutes listening. Afterwards we hopped on tram toward the Jordaan district in search Winkel 43’s famous apple pie. The door of the tram opened up and spitted us out to the Noodermarkt among the stalls of clothing, fabrics, produce and food stalls. We waded through the hustle bustle and found a table outside of packed Winkel 43. The waitress pointed us to the line for food and after 15 minutes, apple pies and hot mint teas were ours. We shared a table with another couple just arrived by train from Austria. We compared the virtues of apple strudel and apple pie as we ate. Under the warm sun, the pies and teas nourished our stomach as the music, first opera then Irish folk musics, played by buskers nourished our souls. Some happy group of women travelers danced and the crowd started clapping. It was a happy scene causing wide smiles every where.
Walking off a full stomach, we wandered the small streets of the Jordaan district. Small narrow houses used to shelter the working class of Amsterdam in the early years, now offered up charming corridors of pedestrian friendly avenues and quaint shops. With the unexpected sunshine, chairs and benches were fully booked with sun worshippers. Gradually painful knees made its announcement. Our meandering was interrupted by a trip to a nearby pharmacy. Sparse storefront greeted us, we asked the nonchalant clerk for Aleve. She delivered. We asked for face cream called Embryolysse. She shrugged, “I don’t know.” We resigned to a quick good bye and headed to Moca museum near the Rijksmuseum for Banksy and Dalí exhibits.
This is a small museum and we were about the oldest patrons there. Young hipsters wandered the mansion that houses the works of Banksy, the reclusive graffiti artist of famous political street arts such as There’s Always Hope, The Flower Thrower, Laugh Now. Our favorite is The Battle on the Beanfield showing cops in riot gears prancing hand in hand on a green background. It pokes fun at the clash between the cops and travellers over a festival plan in Stonehenge in 1985.
There were a few ecclectic pieces from Dalí including one resembling The Persistence of Memory with the melting clock, except it’s a sculpture. The colorful works of Dalí brought on the giggles among the “high” visitors. The gathering crowd and the dizzying artworks made us longed for fresh air. The nausea did not subside. Could it be motion sickness from the shaky tram rides? We proceeded outside and sat near the pool in Museumplein to do some people watching. Saw some brave lady sporting shorts and fishnet stockings. Brrrr! The wind picked up so we headed back to rest for we have a long trip to Belgium tomorrow. We stopped by Dehallen Food hall for beers as it was on the way home. The place is an uncrowed upscale food court with small restaurants and bars surrounding a communal seating area. It was relaxing to be sipping blonde beer and nipping on fries before tonight’s dinner of salad and soup came courtesy of Albert Heyjn.