Amsterdam. The city where reality and myth clashes to form an utterly unique environment. Most people think Amsterdam is about drugs and prostitution, a criminal's paradise. This is true. It's also true that Amsterdam is gorgeous and has some seriously good museums and sights, not to mention a hopping contemporary arts scene. The fact that both notions can coexist -- unless it's within 500m of a school, that is -- is something I find pleasingly fresh.
I decided to camp again because hostels in Amsterdam are outragously pricy. This time it was in Amsterdamse Bos (translation: Amsterdam Forest) with my one-man tent. The campsite was of average money-grubbingness (well, you had to pay for toilet paper here but they didn't charge me to recharge a cellphone) and in a really nice location. I had used the tent beforehand so the fact that I couldn't even sit up in my interim home wasn't too upsetting. And besides, with a kitchen and dining room I didn't need the tent for more than sleeping and keeping my stuff dry.
I saw a few museums of which all were quite interesting. I particularly liked the Van Gogh museum. I'm not a fan of his gloomy earlier works, but I was impressed continually as he started using lines in his paintings. Van Gogh was not a skilled artist -- he only painted for nine years and the lack of detail and fine skills is obvious. But what got me was that even though he painted using broad lines and almost cartoonish styles, his paintings expressed themselves more than anything I'd seen in the classical paintings in the Rijksmuseum. The way he painted expressions and scenes didn't depict reality but rather imagination, and that's why, in my opinion, he is so popular.
I also saw a concert at the famous concert hall, the Concertgebouw. I got the last-minute deal of 10euros for a ticket since it was the Holland children's orchestra, and it was actually really good. It was only 45min., however, which I felt was too short for 10euros, but maybe that's just the result of my budget-traveling. Glad I did it nontheless.
Come the 20th I said so long to Amsterdam and hello to The Hague.
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