Amsterdam

Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
1
21
40
Trip End May 15, 2010


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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day one:
We arrived in Amsterdam after an 8 hour bus ride. We walked around the red light district which was different that I expected. The ladies were in smaller allies in between the restaurants. There were old ladies, thin ladies, cubby ladies, a wide variety of ladies to fit every mans fantasy. There were big men guarding the ally ways to protect the prostitutes. When we went it was relatively early in the evening so there were not too many men out on the prowl. It was like being in a regular city but surprise! When you walked down them there were half naked women in the windows. I love the buildings and the old feeling of it mixed with all the bicycles and trams. The transportation is mostly bikes and trams and the trams remind me of a movie that takes place in 2025 and you are just thrown into this pace with no idea how anything works. After walking around we found a mexican place to have dinner. I had nachos that tasted like the chips were cool ranch doritos with chicken. It was very good.       
Day two:
Today we got up had breakfast and went to the Van Gogh museum. Seeing his sunflowers in real life was amazing. Van Gogh was born march 30th, 1853. He became an artist at the age of 26 when he was unemployed. He was closest to his brother Theo. He shot himself july 27th and died two days later. He was most passionate about doing portraits and Japanese influence. During his life he painted over 900 canvases, had 1,100 drawings and 800 letters, most of which were to his brother. Some of my favorites were his Bedroom which was painted without shadows as well as using opposite colors (red, green, yellow and black and white), he thought it was his best work of art to date. While he was in Provence he created 14 paintings on blossoming trees in the orchards. Two of the orchard paintings that caught my eye was The Pink Peach Tree and The White Orchard. Van Gogh painted many portraits of his post master and wife. One in particular was La Berceuse. It is one of his more famous ones in which the post master's wife is holding a rope to rock a baby not painted. It was a symbolic painting of motherhood. There are five different versions Picasso painted. The wallpaper in the background was a recreation of a famous wallpaper print at the time. This picture was of Picasso's easel when he cut off his ear. Another painting I loved was Sunflowers. Each flower is loaded with personality. He would start his paintings at dawn so the sunflowers didn't wilt. He would also start and finish a painting in one sitting. In this painting he used mostly yellows in different shades. Van Gogh was buried in Auvers-su-oise. Six months after his death, his brother Theo died. Theo's wife dedicated her life to making her brother-in-laws work famous. It was not until the 20th century that Van Gogh's work was recognized as a pioneer to modern art history. After the Van Gogh museum we walked through a park among the bicyclists and walkers. After a quick bite to eat we took a canal tour of Amsterdam. The canal tour was not very exiting, we saw the bridges and the Anne Frank house from the water and the ferries but other than that if felt like we were on a ferry. After the tour we went back to the red light district for some shopping. Paige and I went into almost every coffee shop along the road. The coffee shops were very different than I expected. I thought they would have all sorts of pastries and drinks with pot in them when in reality it was one type of baked good, it didn't even have the stereotypical special brownies. Paige and I kept looking and every shop said they existed and it was in the next shop down, finally after an hour we gave up. After dinner we went to an old windmill that was a brewery, while I didn't have beer I sat outside while Randi and Andi tried a sampler of beer. After that we went to the Anne Frank house. It was very different than I thought. I was expecting an old creaky house with wood floors filled with history, instead everything was redone keeping the main shapes. For example all the walls looked like painted over ply wood and all the stair cases had been cover over with steal. You could still see the pictures young Anne had put up but none of the furniture was there. The walls were cover in black curtains so it was very dark, but I never got the confined feeling. After Anne Frank House we went out to dinner. It was called the antler and the tiger, it was an Indonesian place. Paige, Andi and I split the traditional ten dish dinner. To start off we had tempera but it was so different than any I've ever eaten. It was clumps of green beans, shredded carrots and broccoli deep fried with a soy molasses sause. It tasted a lot like the way mom cooks our broccoli in the hot oven. next we had "potato chips" that were like stirofoam with a carmelized sause on it. It was chewy to start off with a spicy after taste. We also had a beef dish with chili sauce and a pork dish with chili sauce, both very very spicy and the meat was almost shredded and melted in your mouth. Next we had hard boiled eggs with a peanut sauce over it, beef kabob with peanut sauce and a salad with egg, green beans, and styrofoam chips and peanut sauce.  Finally we had cucumbers that were pickled (aka pickles), and a bowl of spice which reminded me of toasted coconut and bread crumbs with peanuts.  
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