Arty Amsterdam and the delightful Dutch


I couldn’t leave the Van Gogh Museum without paying a third visit to see the Sunflowers. I’d lingered there twice already, shuffling around with the crowds, ooooing and ahhing, nodding my head, edging close enough to see the brush strokes and not getting told off by uppety staff. But twice wasn’t enough, I needed more.

The 1889 painting was my main reason for visiting Amsterdam, I wanted to see it in all its glorious sunny yellowness. I actually wanted to touch it too and feel all those whirls and stipples. I did both and wasn’t arrested or thrown out.

The third time around, a small child made her way to the front and plonked herself down, opened the little wooden box her mum handed her, pulled out paper and pencils and carefully drew the sunflowers, it was a mini masterpiece.

Down in the entrance to the shop, I had my chance to feel the Sunflowers. Those lovely museum people had set up a Sunflower-alike which the touchy-feely folk could touch and feel. Oh my goodness, I was moved. I even spent a few Euros in said shop and am now the proud owner a Sunflowers glasses case and lens cloth. I wonder what Vincent would have made of that.

Another day and on to the Rijks Museum where I met the painter I’d definitely invite to my fantasy dinner party. I’d always thought Rembrandt looked a bit stern and grumpy, his paintings dark and dingy, having based my opinion on the pictures in my childhood Tell Me Why comics. But oh my goodness, the beauty of those brushstrokes, the amazing way he captures the light, the little witticisms that made his subjects look interested and interesting. Hey, Rembrandt, come for dinner, we’ll have bitterballen and stroopwafel.

The museum is one of the best I’ve ever visited, there was a friendliness and warmth about the place, everything had been put together with love and care.  If we’d had time, we could have taken part in a drawing tour of the museum, and be given expert tuition, art among the artists. It did make me want to pick up my paints, and I don’t mean decorating the lounge.

We had taken our running shoes to try out those flat roads, but the plans were thwarted when the loudest fire alarm in the world scared us to death. After scrabbling around to make ourselves decent, we took our lives in our hands as we hurtled down the steep, narrow, winding stairs to be met by the smoke from overdone croissants. So it was back to bed, my heart still trying to beat its way out of my chest and ears ringing from the alarm. Needless to say, we slept in, so had to abandon the run.

It was a delight to spend time in the Netherlands, the Dutch are so polite, so witty, so interesting, so much fun. We’ll be back.

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