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Monday, April 16, 2018

museums, museums, museums

In preparation for our trip to Amsterdam I read 4 books.
The view from the top of Our Lord in the Attic
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach 
Rick Steves Pocket Amsterdam by Rick Steves
Just outside the Rijksmuseum
I'm kinda geeky like that, but it's very possible that this was going to be the one and only time I would ever visit this absolutely amazing city, and I very much wanted to soak it all in as deeply as possible. 

And by the way, let's keep it real. I'm a busy mom with 8 kiddos, so by read I actually mean that I downloaded 1 of these books on Audible and listened it while chauffeuring kids to and from places, another 1 I downloaded on Audible and listened to 2/3s of it, 1 I watched the movie of, and one I bought, pursued on the plane, kept in my backpack as we walked visited the city, and mostly just used the downloaded free app of. You know. Busy mama "reading" at it's finest. 
If you're going to be visiting Amsterdam or The Netherlands in general, and I was to recommend only one book to tell you more about the amazing history of this city, it would hand's down be the first title listed up there, Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City. It's a nonfiction book about the deep and fascinating history of the city starting back in the 1300's. I enjoyed it so so much... and even though I think I know how it ends, I plan on finishing the last 1/3 soon. 
Looking towards the alter in Museum of Our Lord in the Attic
One of the things I read about prior to our trip was the Museum of Our Lord in the Attic, which is a tiny Catholic church created in the attic of a home in the 1600's, when the Catholics lost their right to worship. But much like today's Dutch practice of tolerating #coffeeshops and cannabis procurement, even 400 years ago the Dutch were tolerating and turning a blind eye to other "prohibitive" acts, such as Catholic mass. The church is located right near the red light district, and several coffeeshops (all one word) are just few doors away from the museum's entrance. So yes, as make your way to the little clandestine church you'll likely have to walk through the marijuana smoke wafting out of several store fronts. That's Amsterdam folks. Also, seriously... if you go, our very favorite pub was just a block away and was the absolutely perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine, and people watch sitting next to the canal and watch the tourist boats pass by "Little Venice." Which we did on more than 1 occasion. Holler, and I'll give you directions to our favorite table if you like. Our Lord in the Attic
The canal just outside Our Lord int he Attic
Poor Melissa. 
Traveling with crazy me ain't always easy. 
She declared early on that she wasn't a huge museum person. She likes them and definitely wanted to visit 1 or 2 of them, but... Well, kinda like her I'm-not-a-seafood-person, and I-don't-want-to-try-pickled-herring declarations, we did a lot of museum-ing anyway. Amsterdam has some of the best museums ever, and like I mentioned before it's very possible that this was the only time I would visit this city. So needless to say we did a considerable amount of museum-ing.
The Van Gogh museum was my favorite art museum of all the one's we visited. It's small, easy to navigate, and I really enjoyed learning and experiencing in depth a single artist. 
And... after all... it's Van Gogh! 
More Van Gogh anyone? 
We also visited the famous Rijksmuseum. The Rijks is a national museum that displays the arts and history of the Dutch. It's another one definitely not to miss. Their special exhibit High Society was so ridiculously good and turned out to be one of our favorite things we saw on our trip! 
Library at the Rijks
We also visited The Stedelijk Museum, and if you're a modern art person, it is definitely worth it too. 
The entrance of the Stedelilk. The architecture is amazing! 
It's modern art... Melissa is trying to figure it out. Me too.
Not sure either of us "got it." 
The Anne Frank House was also on our must-do list. There's so much to say about this hiding place. So much. I don't think a blog post can do it justice. I will say that being there in person and walking in the same tiny dark rooms that the Frank family hid in for 2 years, seeing the same walls and floors, climbing the same stairs that Anne did, and hearing the same church bells that she heard every day... being there in person made it all take on a whole different meaning for me. A deep profound meaning that should be experienced by all, lest we forget.
Honestly, we could have just had a whole trip of museums and stayed for weeks. There are so so many we didn't see. Maybe this is reason enough to return soon! 

Thank you, Melissa. I love you! Thank you for humoring me, my friend! The next trip will have more beaches and less museums. I promise!


  1. As always spectacular did you pick which ones to post? I'm with you on the audible books & I'm not a busy mom with kids. I always have one in my car & no longer get frustrated with slow drivers or traffic lights! I also have one on my phone or i-pad for when I go to the gym or am in my sewing room.


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