Thursday, November 6, 2014

Amsterdam Slideshow - part two of two

Are you ready for a bit more Amsterdam? Here's part two of my slideshow, which covers the rest of my short vacation to our nation's capital.

On Wednesday I had big plans. I was going to visit both the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum. Well, you know what happens with big plans, right?  Turns out I underestimated the size of the Rijksmuseum. So Wednesday was pretty much a one museum day. But I was not sad about that, because...well, because...WOW! What an amazing place!

I walked there all day and saw a ton of stuff. It was great you could take pictures of everything without problems as long as you didn't use flash, so I was click click clicking away, but of course most of it just doesn't come out right in a picture.'s a shot of the library. Get ready to drool book lovers!

And here are some shots from the museum. It's only a fraction of what I saw and also only a fraction of the pictures I took, but I hope it gives you a bit of an idea of the place.  I'm skipping on all the Dutch masters. Yes, of course they are fantastic, but I wanted to show you some other stuff that caught my eye. If you want to get a full feel of the museum you can visit their site here.

It looks like a cameo, but it's a big sculpture.

One of several beautiful dolls houses.

A reflection of me, just to prove I was really there.

One of the beautiful halls. The building is stunning.

Amazingly beautiful inlaid furniture.

Kitschy, but I couldn't help but love it.

I would have gotten lost without this floor plan.

Another look at the interior.

And this is the exterior fromt he back, just the central part of the building. 

I was there from opening time till shortly before closing time. I roamed the shop and the bookstore of the museum as well and both are quite nice.

After that I went into the city again for a visit to several bookstores among which the American Book Center. Oh Amsterdam people, how I envy you for this store alone! It's like a fantasy geek and an art freak got together and did the buying for this place. It even has some zines for sale, which I've never seen in any bookstore here.

I ended up with the following goodies from several bookstores:

I finally got an issue of Uppercase, totally overpriced, but still... I have been so curious about this magazine. I wish it was easier to come by (and cheaper!).

After all that walking among beautiful art and the bookstore overload it was time to return to my apartment and get ready for Thursday!

I intended for the last full day in Amsterdam to be about markets, some specialty shops and just some general walking around.

I started at the Albert Cuyp Market. It was still pretty early when I got there, so not very busy.

Okay, tourist guides, here's where I have to talk to you and say: what's so special about this market? It's a market just like any bigger city has. In fact there's cities where I like them a lot more. Maybe for people from abroad this is something special, but I wasn't all that impressed and was done within an hour. Maybe I'm just not the target audience? I did buy some house socks though, haha!

After that I went to the Bijenkorf, which is pretty much a posh department store. I went there to get some specialty chocolate and have a cup of coffee. Mission accomplished. I'm just mentioning it, because the building is quite nice.

After that I took the tram to the Hermitage. I had not expected to have time to go here, because I had imagined the Albert Cuyp Market as something I would roam around for hours, but now it was a nice surprise that I could go after all.

On the way there I passed this cute draw bridge. Amsterdam is full of them. 

The Hermitage had an exhibition about the dining and party habits of the Russian Tsars. It was really beautiful and quite fascinating. Those Russian Royals really knew how to party in style!

I also liked how the exhibition was decorated. These flowers hanging from the ceiling for instance. If my ceilings were higher I might be tempted to do that in my own home!

This is how the Hermitage Amsterdam looks from the outside. 

I really enjoyed visiting here and they have a killer shop full of lovely things that I really recommend. 

After this I walked around the area where I visited several shops and just enjoyed the scenery. Like this view from near the Hermitage.

Or how about his incredibly cute hotel?

There's something really idyllic about the area around Waterlooplein. I didn't go the to part of the city that attract regular shoppers and party people like Rembrandtplein or Leidscheplein. I'm not one for big crowds and I don't like the way that restaurant staff are all over you trying to get you inside. I like to be left alone thank you very much. So this area was perfect for me. 

On one of the draw bridges there were tons of these locks attached. I'm still not sure what it means, but it was interesting. It does seem to be about love.  I should probably look it up.

Talking about love, how about these bonbons? This is Puccini's, an incredibly expensive chocolate store. I bought eight bonbons and they cost me an arm and a leg, but I have to admit...mmmmmmm!

At Waterlooplein there is another market. I liked this one better than the Albert Cuyp, but again don't really get the fame and why they are touted as so special. I did buy some lovely vintage cards though. 

I spent the rest of the day going back and forth to a couple of stores I didn't want to miss out on like a specialty paper store and an art supply store. I got a lot of nice goodies to take home with me.

I ended my day here. Waterstones. The English bookstore I had not been to yet. I liked to compare the American Book Center and Waterstones, you could immediately tell that the latter has a way more conventional attitude and buying policy. I did love it though. I wish we had english language bookstores nearer to where I live. I mean, you can buy lots of the internet these days, but there's nothing like browsing an actual store!

It was a long and rather exhausting, but wonderful day! I went back to the apartment in the evening and was happy to look back on a few good days well spent.

On Friday it was time to pack my suitcase and go home again. Usually I'm sad to leave, but I actually looked forward to going back. I liked Amsterdam a lot, but I didn't fall in love with it, the way I am in love with London. But maybe that's too much to ask for anyway. ;-)

Time to hand in my key to the apartment and get a nice ride back to the station. Bye funky apartment!

Although it's quite a trip, Amsterdam is relatively easy to reach from here with public transport and on certain days I could even go back and forth within a day and be there for about four to five hours. That does not sound like much, but I'm thinking I might do that in the future just to go book shopping in  their english bookstores! Or just to visit one single exhibition. It's nice to know that is possible.

On Friday afternoon I opened the door to my own home, unpacked my suitcase, did a few chores around the house and then finally settled down on the couch. Somebody immediately made sure I wouldn't leave again any time soon!

And that concludes our slideshow. I hope you enjoyed traveling with me and that you got a bit of an impression of what Amsterdam is like through my eyes. Of course this was a way too short stay to see everything there is to see, so maybe someday I can go back for a longer period of time.

For now however I have another short trip planned, because this weekend it's time for my annual visit to the Kreadoe! That's the craft/art supply fair I visit every year with my sister. Much to my shock she couldn't make it on Saturday (we always go on Saturday!), so this time we're going on Friday (we're flexible people), which is tomorrow! Yay!  You can read about last years visit here, but I'll be sure to give you a full report when I come back.

Have a wonderful and artsy day!