Wanderings in Amsterdam….

We awaken to the sound of raindrops on the window pane.  That’s ok, maybe it will pass by the time we have our first cup of coffee and planning session for the day.  The weather prediction says we will get more rain today, so we decide to take the bus into Amsterdam and do some exploring there.

On the bus @90kph!
On the bus @90kph!

From Purmerend the easiest and quickest way into Amsterdam is on the bus….and quick it is!  We were at Central Station in 30 minutes.  The first thing one needs is a city map with street and canal names.  We stopped at one of the many bike rental shops to pick one up.  It is very hard to get oriented here…I recall from our last stay looking out our window across the street from the Opera House at the Waterlooplein watching so many tourists consulting their little maps.

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You really have to know where to look for the street names (on the side of the buildings) and the canal bridges often have the canal names on them.

It didn’t take me too long to get re-oriented, and find the canal that the Flower Market was situated on.

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Where there just happens to be a Starbucks!  Time for a pick-me-up!

From there we found our way over to Rembrandt Square(Rembrandtplein) one of our favorite spots to hang out and ‘people watch’….

“As part of the celebration of the artist’s 400th birthday in 2006, a bronze-cast representation of his most famous painting, The Night Watch, by Russian artists Mikhail Dronov and Alexander Taratynov was displayed around the Royer work(the statue of  Rembrandt himself).  This bronze-cast representation of the famous painting was on display for three-years before traveling to New York City, Moscow and Oranienbaum, Russia. In 2012, the bronze Night Watch sculptures returned to the redesigned square where they serve as a magnet for visitors. In January 2013, the Rembrandtplein Entrepreneurs Foundation began a fundraiser to keep the sculptures in the square throughout the year.”

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There is only one female figure....a small girl carrying a dead chicken on her belt!
There is only one female figure….a small girl carrying a dead chicken on her belt!

From there we made our way over the Rijksmuseum where you can walk or cycle right through the middle of the most beautiful building in the city.  On the other side is a huge park and gardens and often a free outdoor exhibit.  We were fortunate to find an amazing 360 degree panorama multi media display of a Mendag painting.  Your imaged position is the Seinpostduin (a sand-dune), in the fishing-village of Scheveningen, and you’re surrounded by the biggest painting in Holland. So Panorama Mesdag is a cylindrical painting, where you can experience the illusion of an unlimited view and, at the same time the reality created by sand, wreckage, an anchor and others you could see along the shore like it was in 1881.  And it also takes you through all 4 seasons over a 24 hour period…in only six minutes!  The whole vista of the oldest 19th century panorama was painted by H.W. Mendag.

On the other side of the park is another museum

imagewhere we ducked into to avoid a major burst of rain.

then it was onto the “hotel quarter”  and stopped by the canal in a ray of sunshine for a quick photo op.

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After a lot more walking we finally ended up on the “restaurant strip”  where we chose the Argentinian-Mexican-Italian Restaurant.  Very busy and very entertaining sitting out on the sidewalk watching the customer catcher (who spoke 7 languages) try to convince passers-by that they should eat here.  I must admit, he was very good at his job!   After all, we fell for it!

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By the time we completed our circle tour of the city, it was after midnight!  Back at the ranch, we enjoyed a cup of tea and some of the smoothest dark chocolate in all of Amsterdam!  After all, it was our 20th Anniversary Celebration!

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