Update from the Avontuur Hotel

We took Mom to Amsterdam on Thursday and Friday. She held up well to one of our typical sightseeing whirlwind trips; we began by walking from the trian station to the hotel to drop off our bags, then headed to the Anne Frank House, which is extremely depressing (that is NOT a reason not to see it, if you’re in Amsterdam). The Westerkerk, next door, was closed for Ascension Day, but we enjoyed the wild-animal photo exhibit outside it. (The “Homo Monument’ is also there: three large marble triangles, one raised, one flat, and one set out in the canal, in honor of those lesbians and gay men who have suffered for their orientation. The name strikes me as awkward, but the memorial itself is very effective.) We stopped for a quick lunch, then walked back to the Dam Square and went through the Nieuwe Kerk, which itswelf was a lot more interesting than the exhibit inside it (clearly, because I don’t even remember the exhibit).

We were a bit worried about not having enough time to see it all but decided to head out to the Jewish Historical Museum that afternoon. It turned out to be open late on Thursdays, anyway. The museum’s changed a lot since we were there ten years go; there are a lot more interactive-computer exhibits now, probably too many for my taste. You feel like you’re missing somethign if you don’t do them all, but who wants to go to a museum and stand around at a computer the whole time? Or wait long enough to use every one, or watch every film? Still, it lets them have a lot of personal memories included, which is a good thing. There was an exhibit of Robert Capa photos on the ground floor, which was very well done. After dinner at Gaucho’s (an Argentinean steak chain which has some of the better steaks over here), we took Mom around the red light district, which in A’dam is a major tourist attraction. The local stores sell of the most tasteless postcards I’ve come across, all of course on the themes of drugs and sex. After all, you can’t have a tourist attraction without souvenirs.

On Friday morning we were able to sleep in a bit, since museums don’t open until tne there. The hotel breakfast was exorbitantly priced but there was a little nice coffeeshop on the corner (one with a barista, I mean, not a Dutch “coffeeshop”) where we grabbed breakfast. We took a cab to the Rijksmuseum on my theory that it probably wouldn’t cost much more than bus rides for three people, which turned out to be completely wrong. Ted and I had just been there a few months ago, but I enjoyed seeing the exhibits there again, though I think Mom spent more time looking to see where I was than actually looking at the paintings. (No idea why, we weren’t planning to leave without her.) Mom had wanted to see the Van Gogh Museum but to our (hopefully concealed) relief decided against it after seeing how long the line was. So we took pictures in front of the “i Amsterdam” sculpture, stopped to get something to drink at a cafe, then took the bus back to the center of town. We walked to and then through the Oude Kerk, which is much like the Nieuwe Kerk but still has all the gravestones on its floor. They were having an exhibit of photos taken for journalism purposes; Mom was a little upset at what she saw as an anti-Israeli bias in the pictures of bombings in Lebanon, but if that’s true I’d have to conclude they’re anti-leopard seal too, judging by some of the other photos.

After that we all agreed that we had for all intents and purposes seen Amsterdam (though Ted and I want to go back some weekend to see the city history museum and the science museum) and took the train home. Mom took a well-earned nap while Ted and I got our food-shopping out of the way. The next morning we took her to the local airport, then spent the rest of the day catching up on sleep, exercise, and laundry. Sunday morning we got up early and drove back up to A’dam to pick up our friend Kathy and her friend / traveling companion Laurie. We hadn’t met Laurie before, but so far she’s an easy person to be around. I suspect she’s been hearing stories about us from Kathy at least since they planned this trip and possibly for years, so she knows what to expect. They’re off to Belgium tomorrow but will be back in time to visit Paris with us this weekend, for what I’m sure will be yet another whirlwind trip. With luck, I’ll have some time to post pictures from all of our visitors after they leave, and sometime before our next spate of travel, in mid-June.

One Response to “Update from the Avontuur Hotel”

  1. Squirrel Says:

    “Homo Monument’ is also there: three large marble triangles, one raised, one flat, and one set out in the canal, in honor of those lesbians and gay men who have suffered for their orientation. The name strikes me as awkward, but the memorial itself is very effective.
    Yes it is! But what is “awkward” about the name? Homo is the most used word for gay in the Netherlands (adn some lesbian feel that it appleis to them as well) so why awkward?

    “my theory that it probably wouldn’t cost much more than bus rides for three people, which turned out to be completely wrong.” Ouch!!!!!!!!! yes that wil have hurt!
    Cabs are expensive in the Netherlands and in Amsterdam outrageously so.. Either walk or take public transport, bu ta cab is there only for _real_ need..
    SQuirrel

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