Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Amsterdam - Day 4

Today’s experiences involved red lights, a church, pizza pancakes, art, and restrooms.

Why do the travel guides always include the district? It’s strange. On the way to an historical church we passed through the red light district. Truthfully, it wasn’t that obvious or sleazy. The alley we passed through was neat and clean. On the right and left, in small windows that had red lights on both sides, stood scantily dressed women. They were over weight, unattractive, no longer young and had expressionless faces. After we passed through the narrow alley we arrived at the church on the opposite side of a canal. As we passed the back side of the church we saw another small alley – the church was on one side and more small windows on the other side.

Our destination was Central Station and when we arrived we looked for a restroom. As we looked through the doorway we saw a stile that required fifty cents euro. Darn! Last night I gave away the last of my change to the woman needing money for a hostel. We searched for a place to get change and found one after about twenty minutes. As we returned to the doorway and stepped in to the stile, we discovered a clerk just out of site who provided change. I learned a double lesson – don’t give away my last fifty cents euro and peek through the bathroom door!

Pizza pancakes? For lunch we stopped by a small restaurant and ordered pancakes. There were two groups – savory pancakes and sweet pancakes. Julie had a savory mushroom pancake and I had a sweet pancake -- apple with vanilla ice cream and ginger. They were thin like crepes and so large that they hung over a large dinner plate. We had about twenty-some choices including pizza pancakes! Umm, forget the syrup.

I highly recommend the Van Gogh museum which has four floors of works by Van Gogh and those who influenced him. The museum is arranged chronologically. Large signs explain the period in his life and display paintings from that period. It was fascinating to stand in the middle of the room and look around the walls and see his talent and style develop. It was equally interesting to see the works of those who influenced him. For years I have read about artists and influences on their works but this was the best explanation and illustration of influence that I’ve encountered. If in Amsterdam, don’t miss it.

Before browsing the museum I went to the information desk to get a brochure and get oriented. The gentleman at the desk was helping another family and was speaking French. When I said “hello” he immediately switched to English. As I spoke with him I learned he is from Aruba, his parents were from Surinam and he speaks Dutch, English, French, German and Italian. I’ve studied three languages and can’t read any of them now – and he speaks five! In the course of our conversation, he said that some Americans were offended when he handed them a brochure from the UK stack. I asked who was the most difficult tourist and he responded “the Japanese”. He explained that the Japanese do not react. Their faces remain expressionless and he’s not sure if they understand him. Interesting!

For supper we had vegetarian. I woke up about 1:30 AM starving. Nope, I’m not exaggerating – starving! But, in spite of the hunger it was a fine, fine day.

(More Photos)

5 Comments:

Blogger Gaye said...

Those pancakes sound delicious!!! So glad you and Julie are having a good time. Keep us posted... love hearing about it.

12/27/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I would have spent a long time in the Van Gogh museum. I'm not certain who influenced him, but his work never achieved much acclaim in his lifetime, unfortunately. If only he could have seen to this day, when his work now is worth multi-millions.

12/27/2005 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Am enjoying these posts greatly. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

And...keep it up! :)

12/27/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

mmm love pancakes!

Hope you guys are having a wonderful vacation!!

I'm with you bonita.. I would have stayed in the Van Gogh museum for hours. lol

12/28/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger mk99 said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Through your excellent choice of words, we are able to "be there".

12/28/2005 10:46:00 AM  

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