Blogs from Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands, Europe

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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 8th 2019

When in Amsterdam, or Jakarta? Have some rijsttafel. What is it, and why does it translate to rice table? If you know your Dutch history, or for that matter, your Indonesia history, you know about the close ties between the two countries, beginning back with the Dutch East India Company. Founded in 1602, it was an amalgam of Dutch trading companies, chartered to trade with India and SE Asian countries (also known as the Spice Islands). It granted them a twenty one year monopoly of the Dutch spice trade. In reality, it was a conglomerate which diversified into multiple trade and industrial activities, including food, sugar, wine (from South Africa), as well as shipbuilding. Naturally, this "colonization" of Indonesia led to many cultural and economic ties, not the least of which is the famous rijsttafel. Passing ... read more
Dutch in origin

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 7th 2019

During the Golden Age of Holland, art experts estimate that 20 million paintings were created here. Many of those masterpieces are now in places like the Rijksmuseum. And perhaps none are more perfectly Amsterdam as Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). Art fans everywhere tell me that you can enjoy Vermeer's work in the museum, then later find yourself walking through the same scene that was captured on his canvas. And I guess, that becomes one of those "aha!" moments. And just for a brief moment, I have stepped back into the 17th century. No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to the Rijksmuseum for the Rembrandts. Many consider his Nightwatch to be the greatest artistic accomplishment of all. My meager artistic eye cannot argue. I always make a point to see it when I am ... read more
Rembrandt van Rijn

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 6th 2019

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of the most popular artist in the world. Each year, 1.6 million people visit, making it one of the 25 most popular museums in the world. In addition to visiting the Amsterdam museum, I have seen his works on tour twice, once in San Francisco at the de Young Museum, and once in Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Museum. Neither California exhibit was enjoyable due to the density of the crowds attending even though we were assigned time slots for entry. The only way to really see and appreciate his work is to visit the Van Gogh Museum. img=https://outlook.live.com/actions/ei?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amsterdam.info%2Fphotos%2Fcontent%2Ftmb-horizontal%2F1388264364-amsterdam-museum-vangogh-painting.jpg&d=2019-04-30T02%3A16%3A08.306Z The crowds were much worse than this!!! img=https://outlook.live.com/actions/ei?u=http%... read more
One of my favorites, cherry blossoms
Nice and compact, but fabulous!!!

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 5th 2019

I have a feeling, after first visiting Amsterdam for the first time, nearly 50 years ago, that returning to this city again is never boring. I was here in 2016, after a stop in Dublin, and on my way to Berlin. I am thrilled with the museums here, namely the van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. I also love the Concertgebouw with its great acoustics, the Dutch countryside on a bicycle, and the inimitable Dutch spirit on every street corner. This trip will be no different. First stops will be the museums, then maybe a trek over to the Anne Frank House. I probably will not make my usual stops at the Kasbahs and the Red Light district, since you might be watching me! My first trip here in 1971 was a real trip. Staying in ... read more
My two new celebrity friends
The fabulous Rijksmuseum
Love that gouda!

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 24th 2019

Dinner at the Vintage Room: At 7 we met in the Vintage Room, a small private dining room with wine coolers along the forward wall. There were eight of us, Fran, me and the youngsters; two brothers, Jim and Craig, their wives, Shelley and Sharon, and Craig's best friend, Bill and his wife, Kim. The two brothers live in Olympia, Washington and Bill and Kim, in Walla Walla, the “Onion Capital” of the west. The men all grew up together. They’ve lived in Washington or Northern Idaho their entire lives. All three of them own their own businesses. Jim owns a real estate brokerage company with 40 some brokers. Craig owns a company that makes and sells gaskets. And Bill owns a company that makes cardboard boxes. The spouses have always been stay-at-home moms, but they ... read more
Douce

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 24th 2019

Final Post: Back in Amsterdam, Easter Sunday morning. Fran and I were on a mission. Actually, it was Fran’s mission, but as usual, I followed along, however, this time with enthusiasm. I had come across an article about five lesser-known museums that we shouldn’t miss. Fran proclaimed that our mission would be to visit all five on this Easter Sunday as they were all open. What attracted me, in addition to the museums themselves, was that they were located in every quarter of the city. Maybe we could walk off the fois gras et al from last night's meal. I could also exercise my manly imperative to navigate. I could say, “follow me” to Fran and she likely would. Perfect. Map in hand, Google maps as backup, we left the dock and walked almost ... read more
Lunch at Jansz
Verzetsmuseum
Swimmer

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 18th 2019

Hello, All of our traveling friends do it, and from what I can tell early on (more on this later), a lot of others, from all over the world, do it too. Taking one’s hotel with them on a trip around Holland and Belgium seems very sensible. Lots of places to visit, all somewhat close to one another, but packing and unpacking everyday and lugging spring time clothing around (one must bring clothes for warm and cold, dry and wet) feels like it might be stressful and tiring and may take up time that we’d rather spend actually visiting places. A River Cruise might be just the thing. Throughout this and subsequent blog posts I’ll be talking about places that have unpronounceable names. Dutch is a difficult language. Our guide on the first day tried to ... read more
Rijks Fran and me
Rijks Vermeer
Hockney Van Gogh

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 18th 2019

This is the second day, if you're trying to keep up. Still in Amsterdam. Not yet on board. No cruise yet. That will come later. We're still at the Conservatorium, but now we've checked out of the hotel and went to the the ship which was docked on the other side of the city. It took a long time to get there. Traffic in Amsterdam is rough and getting rougher. Streets are being narrowed from four lanes to two lanes to accommodate the millions of bikes. Apparently there is 1.3 bikes per person in the Netherlands, a ratio that reminds me of guns in the US. Check in at The Debussy was painless. Our suite was ready. It’s not big; a bed, desk, 1 chair, a closet and a nice bathroom. The ship is new in ... read more
Maria Lassnig
Jansz

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam January 17th 2019

Most of you know I have no problem going on trips by myself. But take a look at this survey on Travel Pulse: Solo travel is increasingly popular but, according to a new Allianz Global Assistance survey, there are still many people who have yet to travel alone. The survey found that 30.4 percent of Americans say they have never traveled alone, and those who have are more than five times as likely to travel domestically rather than internationally. The survey also found that most respondents who said that they had traveled solo had done so for business, rather than for pleasure. Just over 27 percent said that they traveled alone on a domestic business trip while 21 pe... read more
You never know who you will meet!
Or what you might do!
Don't get stressed!

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam December 8th 2018

May 20,2018 I've always enjoyed traveling solo. I love the freedom of being able to decide on where I want to go each day; of how long I want to spend in a particular museum or site; of deciding when, what, and where I want to go to eat. Last May, as I entered my 76th year, the idea of being alone in a foreign city and possibly having a medical emergency made me think that perhaps being solo wasn't the best idea. Please welcome to my blog my travel companion, my nineteen year old granddaughter, Stella Jarmulowicz. I'm about to share with you the highlights of Carolyn's and Stella's Excellent Adventures in Amsterdam; Bruges, Belgium; and Iceland. Spoiler alert: she was a great travel companion! We left Newark, NJ aboard an Icelandair flight which first ... read more
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