Day 9 - "Time for Some Culture" - Amsterdam

June 18, 2013

Last night, on our way back for the museum area, we were hanging out at a tram stop and spotted a restaurant that looked like it might be a cute place for breakfast.  Imagine our surprise when it was a breakfast place and it was rated highly on TripAdvisor.  The only thing we had to do was figure out how breakfast would work with our plans for later in the morning.  We had an 11a start at the Van Gogh Museum, so breakfast shouldn't be too hard.

Greenfields was touted as an English Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea and Dinner place.  They opened at 930a and that's right about the time we got there.  Elias didn't want to sit outside and eat (what's wrong with this kid??), so we went indoors and had some breakfast.  The place was nicely wood paneled (not in a 1970's way) and cozy.  Elias ordered a full English Breakfast (but not with blood sausage) and I ended up with an Eggs Royale.  It was like an Eggs Benedict, but with salmon instead of Canadian bacon.  The verdict was...yes.

We walked all the way from the restaurant to the museum area.  It wasn't a huge amount of walking, but every little bit of walking is getting harder and harder as the days progress.  As we walked down the path from the Rijksmuseum to the Van Gogh Museum, we talked about how good it was that we always were able to find out way around...eventually.  Of course, I spout out the phrase, "We may not always know where we are, but we have never been lost!!" at exactly the moment an English speaking couple walked by.  They chuckled as we did.  But it was the truth.  We have been lucky.

We had bought tickets to the Van Gogh Museum in advance, so we had a set time we needed to be there.  Darned if we didn't get there right on time. In general, Elias and I (along with Mom and Dad) tend to get places wildly early.  Which has served us well here, since we are always...just a little turned around.  As we entered the museum, we walked downstairs to watch a movie based on Van Gogh's life.  This was helpful, because I really only know about Van Gogh is that he cut off his ear at a certain point.  Not to mention, he shared an adventure with The Doctor and Amy.  So the video was good to see.  It talked about how he started as an artist and how/why his art changed over the years.  The museum started with his early work and worked through the years.  What surprised me the most was how many pieces artists actually create.  There was a point where he was creating a painting each day.  Or something like that.  We may have skimmed over a few things near the end.  But he painted a lot.  Which makes sense, since every art museum I seem to go to has a Van Gogh.  Monet too...he seemed to paint crazy amounts.

The weather changed massively today.  The entire time we've been in Europe, it has been cardigan weather.  In almost every picture I've taken, I'm wearing a scarf.  Today...not so much.  It was in the mid-80's and sunny.  So while we were kind of prepared physically, we weren't as prepared mentally.  Nah...we weren't prepared mentally either.  I rolled my jeans up to become a pair of jaunty capris (though I don't know if a pair of jeans that have been worn multiple times by this point could be considered jaunty).  Elias found a lighter weight shirt.  But we were struggling a little in the heat.  So we stopped and got a drink before hitting the next museum.

The Rijksmuseum was our last museum stop for the day and for the trip.  It just reopened after a 10 year renovation and it was a big, beautiful, glorious building.  The museum obviously focused on Dutch artists.  Rembrandt's "Night Watch" was very prominent and the crowds rivaled the Mona Lisa's.  There were less Impressionists than I'd have liked to see, but the museum was lovely.  I did find my new favorite painting there though...

As we walked by this one area, there was a portrait of a man right next to a portrait of a large kid.  The kid was the 20 year old son of the man and the explanation was that the father was a distinguished member of society or business, the kid never received the accolades that his dad received.  Which turned into my running character for the rest of the day.  While the kid looked like Augustus Gloop, I used Veruca Salt's voice.  "Daddy!!  I want a monkey!!  Why can't I have a monkey??"  "Daddy!!  Look at this tea caddy!!  I want it!!  Why can't I have it??"  This went on for hours.  Because if there is anything a Tiz can do, it's run jokes into the ground, beat the dead horse, then set the dead horse on fire.  I loved it.  Elias got pretty sick of it quickly.  Good day.

Elias has been talking about going to a brown cafe since he started researching Amsterdam.  There was one in particular he had attached himself to.  Cafe Chris.  It is the oldest brown cafe in Amsterdam.  So it was a place he wanted to try.  It was also a place he wanted to get a beer.  Legal!!  It's legal here.  So we went looking for the cafe.  It was near the Anne Frank house.  So we had a general idea where to go.  Down the street and around the corner and we find...a dive bar.

I was a little apprehensive going in and thought Elias might be too, but he sucked it up and walked inside.  Lady barkeep didn't entirely know what to do with us, but I got water (I don't like beer...can't even pretend) and ordered some bitterballen (again!!).  I asked what a good "first" beer would be.  It was an Amstel.  Maybe Light.  Maybe not.  I have no idea.  But where Elias nursed the wine and champagne for a few hours, he downed the beer in 20 minutes.  I guess he'll be a beer guy.  Though he wouldn't try my cider the other day.  Sad.

We hightailed it out of there once the beer was consumed.  The decision was made to go back to Rembrandtplein square.  There were plenty of places to eat.  We were going to find one.

Right off of the tram, we had a world of choices.  Without available wifi to research which place would be the best, we chose one.  Since Elias dragged me to a brown cafe, I was making him sit outside for dinner.  We choose l'Opera.  I wouldn't say it was the best food ever, but we were eating outside and it was perfect.  Plus, now that Elias drinks alcohol (here, at least), I have declared the moratorium of not drinking while traveling with Elias over.  This doesn't mean I'm going to go on wild benders, but that I am not going to pass over a glass of wine at dinner.  Or a cider on the plane.

During dinner, Elias had an allergy fit.  Or something.  But he wasn't feeling super great.  We were going to go to the Magnum store after dinner and I had it in my head that I still needed to go there.  So we did.  The Magnum store is an ice cream bar place where you can pick your chocolate and toppings.  It's a whole interactive experience where at the start, you are greeted at the door and they put your order in with an iPad.  White, Classic (milk) or Dark Chocolate.  You get to the counter and they find your order and you pick three toppings you want on the bar.  Today, I chose chocolate crispies (little puffed balls covered in chocolate), caramelized sugar, and sea salt.  The lady making my bar was intrigued by the sea salt.  Apparently, sea salt hasn't caught on here in Europe yet.  They mix the toppings, dip the vanilla bar into the white chocolate, then pour the toppings on the bar.  Finally, they drizzle the bar with white, classic or dark chocolate, then take a picture of it where you can go online and share your creation.  In all, it's €3.50.  It doesn't seem overwhelming expensive.  Plus, it was tasty!!

After I inhaled my bar, we left for the hotel.  It wasn't going to be a late night, because we were going to have a big day tomorrow.  And we were running on fumes pretty hard by now.  Nine days on the road will do that to people.


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