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Published: November 10th 2017
Geo: 52.3641, 4.88354
So today had a very slow start. After a lousy nights sleep I was dragging myself out of bed at 9. This cold has really taken hold and this morning I had a full blown case of man flu. It was almost 11 by the time I had gotten myself showered, dressed and breakfasted. I took my drugs and ventured out into the city. First stop was central station to buy a ticket for Maastricht tomorrow. After waiting in line for half an hour I was told that they don't sell tickets until the day of travel. So that was a bust.
Next stop was a visit to Hermitage Amsterdam. This 350 year old building was once an old peoples home...more specifically, an old ladies home. When it no longer suited the purpose, it was converted into a museum. Today they had an exhibition on the silk road. Funny I always thought the silk road ran through China and Russia to Europe. But the exhibition today was about the trade network (a series of silk roads) which ran from China through India and the stans to Turkey. Learn something new every day. There were a series of excavations on
various sites were it is believed these trade routes ran. They had lots of really really old stuff. Mainly fragments of paintings, some utensils and garments dating back 1900 years. They traded lots of stuff along this route of course, but the money came from silk, which was a symbol if wealth in the west. It could only be sourced from China, where the secret of silk production was closely guarded for hundreds of years. Clever Chinese knew how to keep their secrets and source lotsa cashola.
After the Hermitage I made my way to Rembrandt's house. This was the house Rembrandt, his wife and mistresses lived (not all at the one time) until he went bankrupt and the house and its contents were seized and sold to repay his creditors. It was really interesting. Because he went bankrupt, they had detailed lists of his belongings and could produce a fairly faithful reproduction. He collected sculpture along with things from the natural world to study and use in his art. He had pieces of coral, turtle shells and even a couple of little stuffed crocodiles. His students had to study these things as part of his teachings, so they could
learn to paint them.
After Rembrandt's place I made my way to Albert Cuyp market. This is supposed to be the quintessential Amsterdamian experience. Unfortunately I made it there late and they were staring to pack up. I went for a quick look and then made my way back to Leidesplein for dinner. By this time the cold was starting to subside (or the drugs were starting to work) Hopefully I'll be fighting fit for travel tomorrow.
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