Walking, Amsterdam Museum, Jazz Club

Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
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Trip End Dec 10, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our last full day in Amsterdam! What will we discover and do?

Over breakfast Barry takes a look at the Frommer's Day-by-Day Guidebook and he nominates the Amsterdam Historical Museum and walking around a few neighborhoods, the Jordaan and Nine Streets.  Let’s see what we encounter – statues of iguanas under a Christmas tree, birds fishing in the canals, a barge just for parking bicycles, street cleaning, small butchers & fruit stands, small cars, charming architecture, balconies with flowers, holiday decorations to just mention a few things that catch our eyes.  I’m still amazed at the number of bicyclists in the cold weather.  And how attractive the Dutch women are.  We’ve become pros at crossing
streets, navigating the trams, bikes, cars and other pedestrians.

Eventually we end up at the Amsterdam Historical Museum.  There is a special exhibit called
"Amsterdam DNA".  This is a must do.  With the audio tour as well as special multi-media presentations throughout the exhibit, we really felt like we got an entertaining overview of Amsterdam history and people.  From the front of the guidebook:  “Amsterdam, a world city?  Yes, and yet also small and friendly, idiosyncratic.  City of Johan Cruijff, Rembrandt, the Dutch East India Company.  A trading city and capital city.  A crossroads where residents and visitors from around the world meet.  A 1,000 year old city of waterways where spirit of enterprise, creativity, civic values and freedom are what count.  Amsterdam DNA shows and tells the story based on these core values: burghers caring for the less fortunate, ships sailing to Asia and America, freedom of conscience, art in abundance.  And yet also oppression, slavery and war.” 

We take a break at the museum café and indulge ourselves in sweets and hot drinks before continuing on to the permanent exhibition.  Just as an aside, the bathrooms are free if you are eating at the café & you simply request a token from the cashier and give it to the attendant. 

We never quite figured out if the master’s paintings we were looking at were originals.  We
could walk right up to them and incredibly there didn’t seem to be any security around.  Would that be possible if they were originals?

I am just now looking at the Amsterdam DNA guidebook from the museum and see that there are downloadable apps for smartphones from the museum that give you walking tours of Amsterdam neighborhoods along the same themes of the exhibit.  Like every museum we have gone to this week, we could easily have spent double the amount of time in each!  I don’t think I should have looked at the “creativity” route 4 that takes you among other places to a chocolatier!  Oh my, I might have lost control there.

And now we’re off walking again through the flower market.  We don’t see many fresh
flowers (it’s December!), but lots of silk & plastic tulips and flower bulbs, lots of wooden shoes and stuff.  It’s getting dark, the shop lights glow in the night and the wind is
revving up as we walk briskly back towards our hotel.  We make our turn at the Louis Vuitton store, much like we did in Paris last year, where our hotel was also just around the corner from
the Louis Vuitton store.  Harvey & I are wondering if Barry looks to see where the Louis Vuitton store is located and then looks for nearby hotels!

Back at the hotel, before we settle in for our last happy hour of the trip, we receive four restaurant suggestions, all within easy walking distance.  The Hotel Fita staff have been so friendly and helpful – just great.  They offer to make reservations, but we decide to walk over
when we’re ready and check them out.

At our happy hour, we touch our glasses and toast the City of Amsterdam.  Harvey remembers a
video that he wants to show us all – and as we watch, I say that’s one of the themes of the trip!  Watch this video and enjoy!

Spread the Sunshine! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXvJ8UquYoo

Dinner is at the Bark restaurant, a French restaurant specializing in fish.  Our main
plates were swordfish & butterfish, halibut, and a selection of chocolate desserts.

And to top off our day and the trip, we head over to Alto Jazz Club  (www.jazz-café-alto.nl), an easy walk from the hotel.  To get a seat we should have arrived around 9 PM, so showing up a few minutes before the 10PM first set was a bit late, but we managed to fit into the intimate space.  We even managed to eventually get 4 seats as the sax, drums, base & keyboard played – Harvey approached a young woman who offered two – Harvey being Harvey.   We met two exchange students from Denmark & Sweden speaking together in English.  It seemed like a lot of students were there and we were possibly the oldest.  We sipped our beers and enjoyed the music!  What a great way to end our last evening in Amsterdam.
                                                                                              
                Always say “yes”
                to the present moment.
               Surrender to what is.
               Say “yes” to life -
               and see how life
               suddenly starts working
               for you rather than
               against you.

                    -Eckhart Tolle












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