Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Oh Amsterdam, what a wonderful place!

I love visiting this fascinating and unique city.  This was 
our last day with the cruise tour, I didn't want it to ever end! 
This river cruise has made it's way into the top three of my favorite 
trips, it was fun, charming, exciting and jam packed full of every 
wonderful thing.

We began our Dutch adventure with a lunch cruise
through the canals in the main part of town.  The best way 
to see the iconic architecture of Amsterdam is from the water,
and we got wonderful views of it all while dining on a delicious meal.

After our delightful, and slightly warm, cruise we headed
for the famous Rijksmuseum.  One of my favorite things about Amsterdam
is the bike culture.  There are thousands of bikes everywhere.  They
have huge parking garages that are just for bikes!  

The Rijksmuseum is home to some of the 
most famous works of Dutch art.  We were excited
to see pieces done my the Dutch masters such as Vermeer 
and Rembrandt, the main attraction at this museum is...

The Night Watch!

Of course photos of this masterpiece do it no justice,
it is absolutely stunning to see in person

There is so much to discuss with this amazing painting,
its attention to detail, the amazing contrast of light and shadow,
who all the people represent, how they all paid to be painted into this 
painting etc.  But one thing that I found to be so interesting that I just had 
to include it (I wish I could remember everything our guide told us, I am going to 
butcher the explanation.)  The shadow of the captain's hand falls on his lieutenant's 
embroidered jacket.  In between the thumb and the pointer finger of the shadow
is a lion and three, small black X's.  This is the emblem of the royal family(?)  
and stirs all sorts of polictical symbolism into the painting.  Isn't art history
just the coolest?

We then went on to see other amazing 
works of art by Rembrandt and a few by

Dutch still lives are one of my most favorite
types of art to study.  They tell the story of the history
of the Netherlands during the 16th and 17th century so well.

I was especially excited to see one that contained a nautilus cup!
My undergrad thesis was centered around these beautiful and unique 
items and how they symbolized dominance of the VOC over the spice trade
as well as the Dutch dominance over the colonies in the Orient.

I spent months researching paintings like this and 
I am still so obsessed with them.  What a dream to see such
a beautiful example in real life in Amsterdam!

Another obsession of mine is blue and white porcelain,
which is obvious to anyone who visits my house.
The dutch became fascinated with the Chinese porcelain
that the traders of the VOC were bringing back, thus 
they began collecting it obsessively.  Delft ware was 
created as a type of imitation of this beautiful art form.

It was popular among the upper class 
to have a replica made of your home.  These
exquisite doll houses are amazing to see in person,
the attention to detail is outstanding.

After having our farewell dinner on the boat
we ventured out to experience the bustling 
night life of this vibrant city.

The night life is a very happenin
scene, the streets were pack with people!
We wandered up and down the canals
taking in the whole scene, we ended the night
at the famous Dam Square.

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