Harmonious chaos

Trip Start Jun 20, 2012
Trip End Aug 05, 2012

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Flag of Netherlands  , North Holland,
Saturday, July 28, 2012

I started the morning with pancakes and champagne over Skype with a beautiful man, before hurrying off toward the Amsterdam Hermitage museum which opens at 10AM. On the way an elegant white and black canal bridge started being raised as I crossed it. The guard hurried us pedestrians to the other side and then I watched as the age-old tradition of bridge-raising unfolded before me. A long, tired looking vessel made its slow progress through and the bridge was lowered again for the land based traffic to resume. 

As I continued on I thought I'd duck quickly into a little store whose building face was enchantingly covered in a thriving vine and whose door was set below ground level, in the charming way so many restaurants and homes are here. I descended into another world; one of chaos, colour, pleasing scents, intrigue and harmony. There was an array of very varied trinkets, knick-knacks and treasures, all within this tiny rabbit-warren styled store. All displayed with the practiced hand of a master and working perfectly together to create a space of rare beauty and artistic excellence. I arrived just before 11AM and was only leaving after 1:30pm, after sharing some wonderfully memorable discussion with the magician coordinating this affair; Bing Lee. I drank coffee, searched longingly and listened intently as Bing welcomed me into his world where he has been collecting, displaying, creating and operating for over seven years. His shop sits below his home where he lives with his husband and whilst his joy and pride in his work is evident, he also spoke of dreams to move to Paris someday. I found this shop a true delight and will follow its progress avidly. 

The Hermitage museum captured my imagination and transported me to a time gone where these magnificent painters roamed the European lands, defying trends and freezing moments of life through pictured moods, clearly defined scenes and seemingly effortless strokes. Pieces I enjoyed were by artists such as: Renoir; Monet; Ferdinand Roybet; Prosper D'╔pinay; Gustave DorÚ; Charles-Franšois Daubigny; Camille Corot; Edmond Grandjean; Carolus-Duran; Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret; Charles Chaplain; Franšois Flameng; Ferdinand Heilbuth and Alphonse De Neuville.

After a few hours at the renaissance exhibition I moved down to Spui square in search of the illusive book markets (turns out it's only open on Sundays) and the Begijnh÷f women's village. The village was interesting, with the residence still in use by single woman today and the village green and small chapel open to the public. 

Grachtenmuseum on the development and architecture of the city was very fascinating, but with a lot of reading material and their decision to close early, I feel I'll have to return someday to fully absorb and appreciate the content of this private museum. The houseboat museum I stopped at just before returning to the apartment was a little disappointing, but it was still fun seeing inside. 

A brief skype with you, a last minute dash to Episode and a cyber goodnight kiss saw me ready to prepare dinner, pour some wine and settle down for a spot of blogging and photo sorting before Isaak arrived at 8pm. We chatted, drank and ate together before turning to a stream of dutch being yelled at us from the television until we found Easy Virtue on an english station and watched that, following which Isaak went for a midnight bike ride and out to hit the Amsterdam nightlife and I showered and crawled blissfully into bed with Angus. 
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withintheforest on

You paint a dreamy, magical picture of happiness and calm. I am so glad that you got to have a day like that. I wish I was there to explore together.

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