Mauritshuis at The Hague & Delft
Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
11Trip End Dec 10, 2011
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Thank goodness for Cash Machines. We are at Amsterdam’s Centraal Train Station this morning and neither our Capital One nor American Express cards have the computer chip that European credit cards have so they are unusable. Fortunately, our debit card worked in the cash machine and we have sufficient cash on hand to pay the train fare with cash. I make a note to check on getting credit cards with European compatible chips when we get home. Whew.
We arrive at The Hague and the train station is under construction just as Ruth our angel TripAdvisor had written me
Our destination in The Hague is the Mauritshuis Museum, the 17th century mansion that offers an intimate period setting for some of the best examples of Dutch painting including 14 Rembrandts, 10 Jan Steens and 3 Vermeers. We walk into one room and on our left is Vermeer’s "Girl with a Pearl Earring". We just stand close by and admire it with only a few others in the room. One woman quickly walks into the room and strides right up beside me, whips out her digital camera, takes a few photos and dashes out of the room. A few minutes later a security guard quickly walks through the room as if to follow her. Later, Harvey asks the security guard and he says that there are camera monitors in every room and that they don’t want to make a scene, but they do warn about taking photos
Okay, back to Vermeer. After gazing at the iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, I turn to look around at the other paintings in the room. On the opposite wall is Vermeer’s “View of Delft” and I just can’t take my eyes off the translucent light that he used to create a magical feeling. I’m glad that we’re listening to the audio guide – it keeps me focused on one painting at a time. It is so easy to get overwhelmed here! There is a special exhibition pairing a number of paintings from the period 1860-1960 with those in the permanent exhibition from the 17th century. I admit that to explore and discuss these would have taken far more time and mental energy than I or any of us have today – so we accept that we’re in highlight mode and don’t take the time to read the special handout that describes the pairings, such as Van Gogh meets Van Ruisdael or Dali meets Vermeer. I have the handout and will be able to read it in the comfort of home, perhaps settled in with a cup of hot tea on a comfy couch in our living room and savor the concepts
Walking back to the train station, we find a quick “natural, fresh and ready” fast food restaurant called EXKI at Plein 11 (www.exki.nl). The selection of soups, sandwiches and drinks suits us and offers a quick lunch. Perfect!
As we continue on to the Centraal Train Station the wind has definitely picked up substantially and the temperature has dropped – or is it the wind chill factor? Harvey is walking so quickly and he says that his mind is alert and energized. Going through the doors into the station the wind was like a funnel with the winds on our backs and I felt like it carried us inside!
In The Hague Centraal Station: we purchase a 1-way ticket from The Hague to Amsterdam via Delft. At the ticket service counter we got the train schedule from Delft to Amsterdam Centraal with no transfers. The “no transfers” is important so that we can stay on the same train all the way back to Amsterdam when we leave Delft.
It’s now roughly 2 PM, so we need to make a choice of what we see and do in Delft since our possibilities close at either 4 or 5 PM
Around 4:30 PM, the skies are getting dark and the wind is literally roaring as we walk around the deserted square near the New Church. We stop in at two hand-painted Delftware shops where Barry & Karen make some selections. We meet a woman who seems very nice who says she has been painting for over 40 years. Now that I think about our time in this shop, I could have asked her more about learning – did she have a natural talent? How did she learn? Does she do the designs or follow traditional patterns? Some of my natural curiosity may have been a bit subdued after seeing so much today, but I need to remember to ask questions! What an opportunity!
Happy hour today is at BonderHaus near the New Church - it looks inviting and warm. We try some local beer and meatballs that are crispy on the outside and soft inside
When we arrive back at our hotel, we check the weather. No surprise – there is a severe wind advisory 35-50 mph with power outages expected. It’s now that I see the email from Ruth in the morning about the weather expected for the day. Oh well. We had a really good day despite the winds!
We have a night cap of wine & scotch with nuts in Barry & Karen’s room. We are surfing the net for jazz clubs for tomorrow night, our last night in Amsterdam!
Back in our room, I go on Amazon and order “Painter 12 for Photographers”. I’ve wanted to learn how to incorporate painting techniques with my photographs for many years and I’ve decided that it is going to happen in 2012.
"You cannot always control what happens, but you can control how you react to it." - Harvey Willensky