Krishnas & other "monks" in Vondelpark
Trip Start May 14, 2008
14Trip End May 27, 2008
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Then, I heard them before I saw them. It was unmistakable. It was so darn familiar...that song! That characteristic cackle... QUAKERS!!! My head jerked upward and there they were, flying through the air! A flash of green, a loud argument, another flash of green...The monk parrots played in the trees and chased each other around the park. I was elated as I walked out and toward the Van Gogh Museum. But wait, what is this? A PINK VESPA!!!! I was halted in my tracks. It was true. I was not hallucinating! It was a pink Vespa! A real one~! I took four pictures then called Brian immediately, telling him that someone else in the world has my taste!!!! Hee hee!
I made it to the Van Gogh Museum --which is much smaller-- and took the nickle tour of the place, stopping a a few Van Goghs that were familiar. I also learned that Van Gogh and Gauguin were friends, and I was treated to a nice sampling of Gauguin as well! Lucky me! I was disappointed, however, that the home of Van Gogh has so few of his paintings here! Almost all of the most famous were all out on loan, and "Night Stars" ( the one I have in my livingroom) is in New York. Ironic eh? Anyway, I remember seeing Starry Night at the Louvre 2 years ago. Would have been nice to see Night Stars, but I guess I will have to go HOME to see it. LOL. I did see his famous Irises, and one of the sunflower ones. There were several self-potraits and some copies of Dutch masters that he did to practice. All in all, I was disappointed.
Next, my day got very interesting. I got caught a nightmarish vortex on the tram! First, let me say that the trams in AMsterdam are not intuitive, and are an extremely difficult transport system to figure out. Even the official transport map is less than helpful and difficult to read. I found that a cheap courtesy map from the Hotel went further in my understanding of the tram than anything *official*. Nevertheless, I learned a painful lesson today... and that is: Just because you *think* you know what direction you need to go, doesnt mean the tram headed that way will actually take you there. I kept hopping on trams and in a few blocks, they would be heading the diametric opposite direction I needed to go! SO I would hop off that tram and get on the concurrent line, heading the opposite way. No luck. That tram, even though I seemingly came from that direction, would also head off on some wild-mouse path and I would again find myself going past the same street-corner again and again and again. I wasnt stoned. This bad trip was for real! After 45 minutes of musical trams, it finally dawned on me that all I had to do was sit on my dupa til I got to Centraal station. From there, I knew which tram to take back to the Nadia. Then I only had to jump one more tram to get safely back to the area I knew. OK, so you think it all went smoothly from here? When I finally got myself on the correct tram line, the daggone thing broke down and everyone had to vacate the tram
I returned to Westermaarket ( my area ) and went to the Anne Frank House. No wonder I could not find it on my own. I dont know what is going on there, but the whole front of the house is covered with scaffolding and wrapped in construction canvasses, so nothing is viewable from the front. Nothing. The house itself is totally engulfed in a modern building and only the front (the part curently covered with canvas) is remotely recognizable from the outside. I was standing right in front of it and never knew it. I politely asked two women where the Anne Frank House was and they initially stared at me like I had three eyes, then burst out laughing and apologizing. You see, I was less than three feet from the door of the house and never knew it. That is how hidden it is. Anyway, the women were not so cruel as to leave my cheeks burning unabashed, and they absolved me by saying how many tourists ask the same question in the exact same spot I stood. Wellllll, that told ME something!
You enter through a corner alcove which looks like any office building, pay the fee and then start the tour. I never got a feel for the layout of the house because its been terribly distorted by the *business* of making it a museum. However, I will say that after seeing how they lived, I have to give Otto Frank a lot of credit for preparing the annex in which they hid, and having been the kind of boss that would command life-threatening loyalty of his non-jewish enployees. Without Meip and Bep, Otto's secretaries, they would have parished immediately. I also wondered why I could not find a single relic, or postcard depicting Anne Frank anywhere else in Amsterdam, and then I found out that the entire Anne Frank House is a privately owned enterprise, still to this day following the directions Otto Frank left
It was 8:45 pm when I emerged and decided I was starving. I passed the Homo Memorial with its three pink marble triangles and bouquets of flowers. Interesting concept and location, right around the corner from the Frank House. A nod to tolerance of all people, I suppose. I walked a wee bit to photograph the beautiful Nadia Hotel (Osam, the owner has spoiled me to death!) and I ran into a young Austrian (Vienna) woman who was also photographing the Nadia. I pointed out my balcony to her and we began chatting away. It all culminated with her writing down the best way for me to get from Vienna to Prague, what busline to take and how much the ticket will cost