Saturday, April 18, 2015

Van Gogh Museum, On Being Late and GWP

This post is mostly about visiting the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and very little about anything you might see inside since it is absolutely verboten to take any photos (except in front of a few large blowups of THE SUNFLOWERS on the landing so you can get a selfie).
Solli was navigating that morning and promised it would take us just 15 minutes from our B and B to get to the Vah Gogh.
Ha! One hour later we arrived at the Rijksmuseum just in front more or less of the VG museum...mostly less.

When you travel with a tall person you must run to keep up. And No, I did not lose any weight with the constant running because we kept eating Dutch apple cake.

Granted we did take

The scenic route

To the VG museum.
Admittedly ALL of Amsterdam is scenic..

Once there by 10:00 the lines were already horrendous.
We had special passes that got us in entrance #4 fortunately. Still picking up our passes was no easy thing since the Staff Entrance was completely covered with renovation never mentioned to us. Luckily some staff came along and let us in. We got our special passes and then had to go around to the front of the building (another 15 minutes) to enter.
Oh la di da

This is the main floor of the Van Gogh museum - shhh a stolen shot.

This is the 2nd floor - another stolen shot taken from the elevator.

A shot inside of the Van Gogh museum elevator! Was I being filmed?

A close-up of one of my favorite Van Gogh drawings on the elevator wall. Solli and I split up since I have visited the museum maybe 10-15 years ago and that was enough for me.
I went straight up to the bookshop on the 3rd floor.

I drooled over several books, buying a couple (in Dutch and for kids) because I liked the pictures. My fav still life again.

Have I mentioned we are both congenitally late?
The plan was this:
We would meet up in 50 minutes at 11:00 on the ground floor on one of the two big benches Solli designated.  
I even arrived 5 minutes early.
No problem.
At 11:15 I figured, OK, give her extra time with the Van Goghs. Be a little generous. Who knows when she will be back again?
No problem.
At 11:25 I was beginning to steam.
I bent down to pick up my Kiehl's yellow polka-dotted bag on the floor and I hear my name called out,
There is Solli sitting on the other big bench. She has been there since 10:55. What to do?
One isn't even allowed to be annoyed when the other person has not in fact kept you waiting.
Very frustrating to say the least.
These things happen when you have a traveling companion. You simply have to laugh it off. Haha

Outside that VG museum Solli spotted big pots of tulips.
Our chance to get some tulip pictures!!!

I agreed,

Though frankly I could have cared less.

Still I knew I would have a bargaining point up my sleeve

To request we visit the Van Beek Art supplies shop, not so far from the VG museum. The folks in the bookstore gave me directions.

And a very lovely art shop it is too

With items on SALE, something you rarely see in France in any store except during the Solde. In fact they had those extra large pans of Winsor and Newton watercolor I like so much but left behind in NYC.
AND they were on SALE! Hooray.
I painted some little Van Goghish versions of the teapot still life for anyone who wishes to subscribe or renew their PARIS SKETCH LETTER SUBSCRIPTION. A little gift-with-purchase (GWP) you might say.
So that was our mostly uneventful visit to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let them eat cake in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a Big cake town and Patisserie Holtkamp is the place.

1st I am happy to report, when you turn up at dreary old Gare du Nord at 6:30 AM to catch your Thalys train to Ams, you will now be greeted by a new Choux d'Enfer with lovely snacks for the train!

I got us 3 mini quiches in a sweet polka-dot box.

Yum Yum Thank you Alain Ducasse et Christophe Michalek!

3 hours later CAKE jumps out at you from every other Amsterdam window.

Waffles mit schlag too

COOKIES! Amsterdam is a BIG cookie town. And the cookies come big size only.

This is our hardy breakfast at the B and B.

By chance, wandering up Vijzelgracht 15 (where do they come up with these names?) we stopped dead in our tracks at Patisserie Holtkamp.

Lovely interiors and exteriors.

Even lovelier cakes. Naturally I asked how long they had been there.

 60 YEARS!!  they piped up with great pride.

I loved these rick-rack shaped cookies.

And chocolates that...

Match the floor tiles!
Paris does not have that.

Later same day, after I returned from Zaanse Schans, I popped into a little garden cafĂ© at a church just to chill and catch my breath before the train home.

They were baking Amsterdam's famous Apple cake on the spot.
Ah the smell of it!

A moment of apple cake meditation...
A lovely golden Dutch apple cake-colored doggie .
I have maybe 2 more Amsterdam posts if you want them (on the Van Loon Huis and Van Gogh).
Let me know PBers.
Dank u wel Amsterdam! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Zaanse Schans

Last day in Amsterdam I took a last minute trip to Zaanse Schans.

All roads in Amsterdam lead to Centraal (train) Station

Once inside, ask at the information window for help with your destination. Take a picture of this! This gent doesn't speak English, a rare bird in Amsterdam. Then run to the ticket machines, pray a little that you understood where you are going. Then pray some more finding your track (7a trains are way in front of 7b trains so prepare to run). Pray onboard some kind person will tell you when to get off at the unpronounceable Koog-Zaandijk. No problem - locals are Very helpful. 4 stops later and a mere 14 minutes you are in Zaandijk!

The refreshment stand directed me from there, but lovely maps abound.

It's about a 15 minute walk

The quiet road through town is lined with blowup photos of life of yore.

There's also a nice pastry shop nearby to help allay your fears of getting lost (impossible it turns out).

This first windmill alerts you of the bulb shop and the bridge to Zaans Schans.

Ta da!

Such a lovely toy town is Zaanse Schans.

Serenity now.

Some Amsterdamers will say Zaanse is a bit touristic. I didn't mind a bit.

I went into this windmill, since my time was limited...train back to Paris in a few hours etc.

There are 12 working windmills. Once fallen into disrepair and torn down, they have been rebuilt with support, donations and subsidies. You can become a member of De Zaansche Molen and help support them.

They mainly mill a full range of spices and cocoa available in the shops.

The Speculoos cookie spices(4) are sold along with molds and big figure cookies (1 euro each...why didn't I buy more?). They are not overly-sweetened like the Speculoos found in Paris.
I wish I'd stayed longer. Next time. But I was delighted to have gone thanks very much to SugarednSpiced post on Zaanse Schans.
You should go too!