Posts Tagged ‘mauritshuis’

See, I’m learning Dutch already.

Actually, Dutch sounds like some garbled version of English.  Today I heard a conversation on the train that sounded like, “Is thy pantaloons most partying?”

“Indeed.  Verily we have stags in the garden again.  Success.”

“Shut it and thy underbraken is most clinging.”

It’s a kind of crazy thing to be in a country that speaks some other language.  Of course the Netherlands are kind of cheating because just about everyone speaks English anyways, but going to the supermarket is quite interesting. Appelsap, broodjes and kip?  Apple juice, bread and turkey.  It took me until today when I finally bought a “kip and pesto” sandwich to figure out what kip was.  It’s pretty popular, apparently.

Actually, speaking of the Dutch and food: it’s wonderful.  When I finally tracked down a supermarket after three days in Amsterdam, I realized why they hide them.  These places are like wonderlands of food.  The entire building is permeated with the scent of fresh-baked bread and croissants.  Abotu half of the store is devoted to wine, the other half stocked with enormous wheels of cheese that the aproned man cuts slices from.  A huge corner is stocked with fresh baked goods, and the remaining area is crammed with chocolate.  One corner is devoted, somewhat sadly, to wilty greens, mushy apples, and scary packaged salads.  I don’t know how everyone in this country stays so skinny and attractive.  Their strong point in cuisine is not in the vegetable department.

Speaking of chocolate–it’s super cheap and delicious.  Less than two hours away from Belgium and Germany, and close to France, the Netherlands knows how to do chocolate and pastries and cheese.  Even their sandwiches-in-a-box are palatable!  The food in Scotland was definitely nothing to write home about.  Dry, rubbery sandwiches you could have played hockey with and terribly flavorless food.

Anyways, where I’ve been the past few days: I flew into Amsterdam on Saturday morning, stayed there until Tuesday, with a day trip on Monday to Delft (a super nice little town) then on Wednesday went to Den Haag.  I didn’t really like Den Haag that much.  The whole area felt kind of dead and lifeless to me.  It had the air of a big city, but none of the vitality of Amsterdam and none of the attractiveness of a small town like Delft.  I stayed one night and this morning visited the Maritshuis, a museum with a collection of Johannes Vermeer’s work that I wanted to see.  Half of the entire museum was closoed for renovations.  At least the other half had the artwork I came to see, but they only had two pieces by Vermeer.  The others were on loan.  The rest of their art collection wasn’t that great, with the exception of a few Remembrandts.  I’m not an art snob  but it seemed like they had about three really good pieces and everything else was just filler.  Good thing they didn’t make me pay the admission fee.  Hehehe.

After that, I hopped a train (oops, instead of getting on a nice high-speed IC, I got on a squeaky one that stopped about every five feet) to Rotterdam.  I’d considered staying in Den Haag one more night and giving it another chance, but I just really didn’t want to do that.

Rotterdam is a pretty cool city.  I like it a lot better than Den Haag so far and the hostel is a lot better.  There’s a nice park close to the hostel and a little harbor with some really nice old sailboats.  The entire city was bombed to the ground in WWII, and has rebuilt completely since then.  Even for that, it still has some classic-looking architecture.  It’s strange to think how much more immediate WWII was for Europeans than it was for us, protected from pretty much all offensive action.

Future plans: hmmm…well, I’d like to get a nice-paying job doing something that doesn’t suck the soul out of me immediately.  In the next day or two however, which is about as far as I am able to plan ever anymore,  I’m staying in Rotterdam for two nights.  Tomorrow I think I’m going to try and do a day trip to Drachten, the town that eliminated all traffic signs, street lights, road laws, pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, etc in a different approach to reducing traffic incidents.  However it’s way up in the north of Holland, it’s a small town apparently with nothing to


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