Amsterdam 7, 8 & 9 November 2013

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November 9th 2013
Published: November 9th 2013
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Amsterdam 7, 8 & 9 November 2013

We arrived in Amsterdam after a fantastic day in The Hague. We found Camping Zeeberg which was excellent. Even though there was limited times the reception was open, on Fridays the Bar/Restaurant becomes the reception from 11.00am-2100hrs. They even give out a free drink to everyone. There was also a fire in the room which was lovely.

This was our second visit to Amsterdam, but the 1st with our motor home. We visited the city while we were waiting for the motor home to have its roadworthy certificate completed before we picked it up.

On Friday 8 November, we went into Amsterdam by tram No 7 which took us right to the Vondel Park. It is the largest green space in Amsterdam, the park is named after its best-known poet Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), whose controversial play Lucifer caused the religious powers of the time to crack down on 'notorious living'. Yet it continues to thrive in the summertime, when people gather to smoke, drink and feast here. There was a statue of Vondel in the park along with many other statues and contemporary pieces of art. The park is also something of a cultural hub, with a number of sculptures including one by Picasso.

It was beautiful, walking through this park. Tom & I reflected on our 6 months traveling together. It was lovely. We stopped at a little restaurant for coffee and then headed to the Heineken Museum.

Now if anyone wants a bit of fun, go to the “Heineken Experience”. Yes it is a museum and they take you through the production process and give you a couple of drinks, but it is more than that. You have a ‘Heineken Ride’ where you go into a room with 20 other people and watch a movie telling you what happens during the making of the beer…..and we are the beer. We got mixed, shaken, wet, and jigged, the latter being when we were inside bottles. It was different.

You could get your name printed on a bottle, have your image printed on a T-shirt, make a video which can be put on facebook, etc. There was of course one room where there was a movie all about what Heineken sponsors. A shop with memorabilia was included. The whole experience took about 2 ½ hours.

We then went to the Riuks Museum which is one of the biggest museums we have visited. The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands, with more than a million visitors each year. Its exhibition called The Masterpieces shows the most famous pieces of Dutch art from the 17th c., usually called the Golden Age of the Netherlands. Rembrandt (‘The Night Watch’), Vermeer (‘Kitchen Maid’) and Hals reflect in their work different aspects of Dutch national character. You may also see the museum treasury, beautiful doll houses from the period and the traditional Delftware.

The lavishly restored Rijksmuseum was opened by the then, Queen Beatrix recently. Original architect Pierre Cuypers, also responsible for the city's Centraal Station, envisaged the place as something of a secular church for the veneration of Rembrandt and pals, and the building's ten-year renovation at the hands of Spanish architect Cruz y Ortiz is also nothing short of masterful, incorporating a light-flooded atrium and a new Asian Pavilion. Over the years the Rijksmuseum has amassed the country's largest collection of art and artifacts from the 15th century to the present day. It was so big we only saw 2 ½ of the 4 floors.

It was getting dark (4.45pm!!!!) so we hopped on the tram and went back to the camper. The weather had been very kind to us again. As soon as we got back to the camper it started to shower with rain. We went to the bar for awhile before having our last official dinner in the motor home this year. Out came the Veuve Clicquot Champaign which we bought when Kerrie and Gemma were with us when we visited the Champaign Region in France. It was a lovely drop.

The next day we spent cleaning the camper and packing our bags. We were off to Utrecht to store the camper in a barn at one of the farms (Euro 330). Preparing the motor home needs some special treatment for the sub-zero temperatures of the European winter, particularly emptying all the water pipes so that don’t burst when they freeze.

The cleaning and packing went well. By 5.00pm we had finished everything….and down came the rain. Talk about being lucky. We had taken photos of the whole vehicle so that we have images of it ready for sale next year. So we were all organized. We left Amsterdam at 8.30am.

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