John went on his usual morning walk, traveling east toward some modern buildings and the Portuguese Synagogue. It was a wonderful walk until John discovered he had walked in a complete circle around the Zuiderkerk former church now a restaurant. It took awhile but he figured out how to get back to the hotel. Not a great start to the day.
…And it continued. The plan was to go to the Van Gogh Museum for a scheduled 9:00 entrance, but upon arrival John discovered that the date for the entrance was Friday and not Wednesday. And it was raining. Hmmm. So a nice cup of coffee and a visit to the Diamond Museum nearby. It had a wonderful series of exhibits that share dthe history of diamonds and then gave some great examples of diamond cutting and selection, with outrageous diamonds like the Kol I Nor diamond which the British acquired in India when they subjugated the region. It became part of the crown jewels. One of many examples of what happens to BIG diamonds.
Then onto the Museum of Modern Art Museum. This was certainly not as enjoyable. The exhibits on the ground and second floor were quite
depressing, with a focus on guns and war and self-annihilation. One of the extensive exhibits of Maria Lassing’s lifetime of work ended with her talking about how unappreciated she was when living in Amsterdam, then London, then New York, then Paris and finally returning (upon request) to Vienna to teach kids. A life filled with victimhood. Not very uplifting.
But the lower floor was enjoyable with some of the modern masters and masterpieces. So it is clear that we are not the target audience for the more leading edge artists, like the piece that took up an entire room and looked like a hoarder who burned all his stuff.
Moving on we took the tram to a nice little Italian restaurant where we had an average meal and watched the folks make their way in the rain outside.
On our way back toward the station we stopped at Dom Square and the Royal Palace. This is a fascinating building with deep history and beautifully appointed and maintained. As we took the self-guided tour we could not help but feel how ethical and how warm the Dutch are. Almost everyone we have had encounters with has been welcoming
and at times charming. The stories of the building the royal family are both entertaining and informative. Upon completion of the tour we walked through the 15th
Century De Nieuwe Kerk Church (the royal church). Interestingly, this Dutch Reform church has no references / images of Christ but did have a number of special wooden stall type sitting areas built into the base of each of the supporting pillars. You might say that only the pillars of the community could sit there.
After a stop at a handmade chocolate shop we took a brief rest in our room. Not surprisingly it had not been made up so John called housekeeping, who gave him the number for the service, who told him to call housekeeping and informed him that if we did not put up a sign asking for cleaning it would not happen. A conversation with the front desk informed us of what we had already figured out: the servicing of the hotel has been outsourced! The front desk was not happy and we even learned that one of the junior staff was doing his thesis on the problems with outsourcing.
After correcting the issues with our room,
John was putting on his shoes and discovered that he had sat on a chocolate candy that had fallen out of the box we bought earlier … and that his show was covered with dog poop! Thus began the long process of cleaning the floor, cleaning the shoes and sending his pants to the laundry (another battle with housekeeping).
Finally we were ready for a change and we wandered over to the Doubletree and their SkyLounge with a great view of the city. Drinks and some sushi and we are back in the black. Another day another drama and lots of learning and fun.
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