Monday, January 26, 2009


Yes indeed-y....Eldest and I scooted up for a weekend in Amsterdam, where a very dear friend lives...extra cool because Eldest is buddies with the daughter, and me with the Mom, how sweet is that.

The story gets sweeter, because this lovely excursion was in lieu of a birthday party (something I hate going to and giving but don't tell my kids that, m'kay) (not that they don't already know).

Anywhoooo, we agreed that instead of a birthday party with a pack of hormonal kids and all that, we would go up to Amsterdam for a weekend to visit friends, so we did. The gods of airline prices had kept prices low enough that I don't have to entertain and handle mountains of teens in my place.

Thank you airline gods for that. From the bottom of my heart.

I don't have a LOT of photos from Amsterdam because those Dutch don't let you take photos inside their museums, we won't go into all that again, but let's just say that I nearly stopped breathing when I saw the Rembrandt's "Jewish Bride" in person. I do have to say that the Rijksmuseum has gotten it together with the website though, so here is the link to the painting on their fabulous web-page. I can forgive them for the lack of photo ops if they provide a web page of that quality.

I also don't have many photos of Amsterdam cause it rained so much the day we were in town walking around. LOVE 2 degrees and a downpour. NOT happy camera weather.

The first day was frankly amazing, we packed enough in for a up WAY too early, but arrived running, went to the Rijksmuseum in a light mist, dodging the murderous streetcars, loving the tippy wobbly buildings, not grand an Napoleonically imposing like Paris, nor cramped and logical like BCN, individual, and leaning, and wobbly...with canals, and fewer cars, separated roads, bikes and trams and trams and bikes and pedestrians.

I LOVE Amsterdam...the weather is another subject.

When we left the Rijksmuseum, and my heart had found it's normal place in my body again...have I mentioned that I love Rembrandts? The Vermeers and Hals weren't too hard on the eyes either....

anyway, be still my newly found heart...I found SHOES!

That's worth a post on it's own, so more later on that topic.

Then the heaven's opened and it started absolutely BUCKETING down on us...and I was too cheap to buy a crappy umbrella for too much money that we all we got wet. Have I ever mentioned how much eldest hates being wet? She can complain about that at tremendous length. Really. Not a happy camper. I was though cause the new shoes were so comfy but more about that another day...

We then went to the Anne Frank Museum. I can just say that it wasn't most easily described as comfy. Horrors above in fact.

I honestly found it difficult, and welled up several times. I think it hit home harder because I was with eldest...the toughest moment for me was when I turned around and saw my child lined up with the marks they had drawn on the wall to show their children's growth while they were in hiding. I could simply picture them doing it, and how excited the kids were to be measured. It always made me feel so special that your parents draw on the wall just to check how you've grown; and there was eldest right in the middle of it. Lord above. Makes you want to vomit.

Leaving there we went out into the drenching rain, me at least glad to recognise that we COULD go out and get soaked....and walked towards the train. We were trotting along beside a lovely canal, and I looked down into a doorway; there are many doorways that are well below street (and one would think water) level, the top of the door coming to about knee level when you stride by, and the stairs are VERY steep....there was a woman bending over in the glass doorway in a neglig*e and I thought to myself that I would probably put on a little more before picking up the mail, but what the heck. We got to the next window a stride or two later, and low and behold (literally) there was another well-endowed woman, scantily clad in her doorway. The penny dropped, and just for affirmation, a step or two on, there is another woman, in another doorway, and at this point I notice the red florescent light by the this point eldest looks at me and asks, "What is......"

I explain about the laws in Holland, continue about the pros and cons of legalisation (trying to be unbiased and failing fairly miserably...the only pro is health and I ain't too sure about that)....Eldest was, shall we say...uncomfortable....we rounded a corner and came across a two story building with windows and women and not a whole lot of clothing all over the place....quick march Mom, lets go; but we had missed our train out to our friend's place so I suggested a hot chocolate in a cafe (Hey, we're from Spain, cafe culture and all that, even in a freezing downpour) Eldest took a little convincing that the cafe was fine in that neighbourhood...we peered in the windows carefully.

My little joke about sitting in the window seat and stripping off a bit to see if we could get a free cocoa didn't go over very well.

A leeeetle uncomfortable.

We got rained on more, got our train, got rained on a whole lot more, and then had a WONDERFUL evening with friends.

Quite a day...

Travel - sublime art - some of the greatest humanity has made - (shoes) - some of the worst horrors humanity has ever committed, closely followed by a pretty darned nasty ongoing horror- followed up by friends...all lightly seasoned ( I can hear eldest thinking that it was too heavily seasoned) with rain.

More soon.....

That was only the first day!

Hope your weekend was a good one,




Beth said...

The post title should have been - "Oreneta in The Red Light District!"
Too funny.
Glad you had such a wonderful & eventful time. Shoes!!

NicoleB said...

You're hilarious.
Just be glad you didn't end up in a Coffee shop instead of a Cafe ;)

I envy you for your trip. Downpour or not.

I was out just now with my lovely rain coat (for my camera, not me) ;)

Hope you continue to have fun :)!

oreneta said...

Beth, just imagine the hits I would have gotten!

Nicole, I'm trying....what sort of a rain coat do you have for the camera...there are some strange and fancy ones you can buy...but....

NicoleB said...

I've posted a link in my latest post (at the bottom):

swenglishexpat said...

Great post. Was there a couple of years ago (just a short drive from where we live close to the Dutch border). Wonderful place with lots to see. Very educational, in particular for your eldest! ;-)

mmichele said...

Oh I can't WAIT to go to Amsterdam.

oreneta said...

Swede, sooooo, you should go again! It is so great, and there are so many things I still want to see., you're going after the American circuit??? gonna have to post about it...

Jan Heering said...


I do live in Amsterdam and I'm glad you do love my beautiful city.

I'm in the proces of building a website about Amsterdam. More great information and pics can you find at my Amsterdam website