Saturday, January 13, 2007

More Amsterdam

My kind of shop! Sadly, closed.
Oude Kerk, I think.

One of the hostel kitties. Cute!

Rijksmuseum.
I went because I felt like I had to. When I saw the line, I very seriously considered just going to the gift shop in Museumplein instead. It was drizzly and waiting alone is really boring and lonely. Although I eavesdropped on a French family standing nearby. And they offered free hot cocoa. But I didn't get any, because I'm not sure why.
Then the stupid museum was really freaking crowded and I was irritably elbowing my way through the throngs to move along to the next room.

That famous model ship that actually wasn't a ship.

A salt cellar from either the 18th or 19th century. The salt goes in the little cup space in the middle.

Something I didn't take pictures of, but actually found quite interesting, was the porcelain room. First the collection showed some Chinese vases and candle things and that sort. But then, in the 1700s a civil war in China meant that nothing was imported. So some factories decided to make their own version, and that's how Delft earthenware, ceramic and porcelain got started.
The coolest piece I saw was a life size earthenware violin, complete with bridge and strings!



A really narrow canal house.

I'm not sure what the subheading means, but I love the title. I'm really not sure what dancing has to do with feminism, but I'm probably a big old square compared to those trendy and modern Europeans.

This made me roll my eyes in wonder: on a big street near Dam Square, a cafe proclaiming itself "A Little Bit of Italy & a Whole Lot of Seattle!"

New New street. Awesome.

I've never darkened the door of a Madame Tussaud's; too expensive and lines too long. But I got this decent shot through the window, of the hot Johnny Depp.


Did I post this before? This little Dutch girl was too cute. I had sat down to rest on a bench, and saw this tiny girl with a pacifier, grunting and stomping to get her father's attention. She clearly wanted him to take her on these round bars. He ignored her, so she walked over, pulled on his arm, grunting in a way that clearly said, "Daddy, come over here!" He finally noticed and allowed himself to go in that direction, but he didn't go far enough. She stood under the rings, stomping more, and longingly lifting her hands up over her head, clasping and unclasping them, to show what she wanted to do. Eventually he capitulated to her unspoken but strong demands, and he lifted her up. She grasped the rings like an old pro, and oh, how she giggled in sheer delight! And then he had the idea to flip her over, and that was just too much for her. The pacifier fell out in her laughter and happiness. Each time she was set back on the ground, she looked back up at the rings, with longing, as if they were the most amazing thing in the world, and why wasn't she up there again?

It was my first afternoon, and I decided to walk around a little. I saw a sign pointing to the direction of the Anne Frank Huis. On my guidebook map, it seemed kind of far away for walking, but I decided to just go for it. As it turned out , it wasn't far at all.
The experience was unnervingly surreal and emotional. The first part wasn't that interesting, walking through the warehouse and office rooms. But then you get to the room with the bookcase, which is still full of books, and standing open to admit you to the Secret Annexe.
I shivered when walking through the doorway, both trying and avoiding putting myself in Anne's place. The stairs were even steeper than in other Amsterdam staircases. Thinking about the scared people treading quietly up those very same stairs...again, surreal and emotional. And then seeing the living room's measurement notes on the girls, and Anne's collection of pictures glued to the wall, tears came to my eyes. These were real people, who lived right here, experiencing something that never should have happened, and then they died. And too many other real but nameless (to us) people also had to hide and get deported to concentration camps, and I still wish that we could make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Except it's still happening, all over the world.

This is Anne's original diary, on display.
Statue around the corner.

I also visited the Dutch Resistance Museum. Aside from its confusing, maze-like layout, there was an interesting and interactive collection of memorabilia. There were several spoken set-ups, a printing press, a desk whose drawers you opened to see hidden files, a set of real and forged identity papers, a prison cell with letters written in either morse code or blood (pens and pencils were not allowed, so they found other ways to pass messages), stories about groups who actively resisted the Nazi presence (like the tram strikes, protesting the mistreatment of Jews, or the huge group college students who refused to sign a no-protest petition, and had to go into hiding to avoid arrest and deportation), and photo album-type flip books with individual stories.
This is a woman's corset filled with ration coupons. There were many people who had to help the people in hiding, and one way was women pretending to be pregnant so they could steal and smuggle coupons and other papers.
In the lobby of the museum, there was an extensive collection of memorabilia from Eva Geiringer Schloss, a German girl who moved across the canal from the Frank family. Eva's family was happy and loving, but the Nazis prompted them to split up in hiding, Eva and her mother in one place, her brother and father in another. Both sets were soon betrayed and sent to Auschwitz. The men died in the camps, but Eva's brother had mentioned hiding some things in their attic. When Eva and her mother returned to Amsterdam, they found the stash of paintings and drawings done by Eva's brother and father. Eva's mother later married Otto Frank.

The almond blossom poster print I bought at the Van Gogh museum.

At the Mauritshuis, a unique and very realistic still life.

There was a big show of the cooperation between Rubens and Brueghel, the former painting figures and the latter the background and scenery. It was very interesting, because one would paint his section, and send it to the other, who would incorporate that and work on his section, and then send it back to the other, and so on. Several of their works featured these little guinea pigs in a corner. Strange but endearing, I suppose.

2 comments:

Ax said...

If it's not a model of a ship, what is it? It sure looks like a model of a ship to me...

Jules the Crazy said...

ha! it's a model of a ship, but it's not a ship that really existed. i didn't note the name or the reason. i know some readers have been there, want to chime in?