I had the opportunity to meet my friend Vanessa B. in Amsterdam for the weekend so I jumped on it! She was coming to Utrecht to speak at a graduate student program and then could extend for the weekend. We met Friday night and enjoyed catching up, slow meals, and a few museums along the way.
We visited the Anne Frank House on Friday night which is an amazing experience. I had been through 15 years ago but to visit as a parent sheds a whole new light on her courage and strength. On Saturday, after a late sleep, we had a long breakfast and then hit the streets. We went to the Van Gogh Museum which happened to have a travelling exhibition of Millais' work as well. Van Gogh's life was quite tragic and sad but his work is beautiful in person. Millais was a friend of Van Gogh's and he was renown for his portraits. One of the most famous is the Ophelia (of Hamlet fame). We also went to the flower market with stalls and stalls of bulbs and flowers and enjoyed a Heineken while watching the crowd go by. Both Friday night and Saturday night we had 3 hour plus dinners which was such a treat since that is a rarity for most parents.
Sunday we woke early at hit the Rijksmuseum. Many paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other Dutch artists and Blue Delft ware. I had not remembered that Amsterdam is a clean city with beautiful architecture and canals. Everyone and I mean everyone cycles everywhere. There are very few cars and the cycles have the right of way. We saw every type of cycle with boxes or seats on the front for children and even seats on the back for children Ethan's age. No one had a helmet on. But everyone had a bicycle (or tricycle as some had 3 wheels) and I was almost run over a few times! I didn't have my camera ready at the Central Train station but instead of a car park for commuters they have bike racks and the sea of bicycles is quite a sight! Scott loves to tell the story of moving to Arlington, riding his bike to school only to discover that there was no bike rack! The Dutch would not be able to believe it!
Vanessa and I had such a good time talking, walking and generally relaxing. Our hotel was a bonus as well. Small room typical of European style but very modern, chic and in the best location in the city. If you are ever heading to Amsterdam, email me and I'll send you the info!