Thursday, May 31, 2018


Wednesday, May 16th, 2018           Van Gogh Museum          weather overcast and cool

We were awake at 7 am and both of us has seen the scales go up so no more chocolate candy bars.  The last two will be saved for the plane trip home!   Just have to keep them out of sight!   The weather is cool and overcast…no more shorts today!


Jim left about 8:30 am to walk to the Van Gogh Museum; about the same distance in a different direction as the Rijksmuseum.   We’d purchased his ticket online and emailed it to his cellphone.  It is sitting in a PDF file that he’s going to let the museum open when he arrives.   He’s had some trouble with his chip credit card so will attempt to use it to rent the audio headset (yes, it worked okay).  And, the museum staff opened his ticket with no problems when he arrived.  You have to purchase your ticket online…no walk up cash tickets available.   We have found that many stores require that you use a credit card, no matter how small the purchase.  Example:  The bakery for 3 croissants.   We do have a card that has a chip and a pin, but the cards with only the chip seem to work well also. 
While Jim was at the museum, I ordered my friend Trisha’s latest mystery novel on my Kindle.  And re-downloaded the first two books of the trilogy so that I could re-read them first.    Trisha St. Andrew’s “The Soul of an Owl” can be found on Amazon Kindle.   We were real estate agents together many years ago. 

I also had an email from my friend Pete who schedules the speakers at OLLI (senior educational classes at the university) at home asking me to give travel talks in the fall and spring sessions.  Have agreed to do one on Scotland in November, will just be arriving home from there; and one on my newest Camino in the spring session.  I do enjoy sharing my journeys.

We have a remodeling going on three doors down; major undertaking with much removal of dirt from under the building.  We’re been told that Amsterdam is a city built originally on sand surrounding many tree trunks sunken into the ground, now they use concrete pillars.   As a result sometimes the buildings tip a bit!  Almost all of the buildings are at least four stories high.  From what we can see the entire ground floor has been removed along with the dirt.  Each day brings new noises and questions.   

I got off my duff and took a walk around the neighborhood looking for the shop that had the sign in the window “Fam. Jansen Plein” or “Family Jansen Square”.   My daughter-in-law Holly suggested we purchase it when she saw the photo on Facebook.   I found the shop easily, Peter’s Letters, and inquired of the owner the cost of the sign:   102 euros.  A bit steep for a souvenir, they are custom made.  But fun to consider.  

Jim arrived home from the museum at noon; very excited about the content of the Van Gogh Museum.  He said it was one of the most complete collection that he’d seen.    A side note:  posted some photos on Facebook but because of my screw up, I wasn’t able to get the museum photos posted as they considered them already posted…..okay… everyone has seen them before and these had a screen over the prints.  They were the only ones he was allowed to photograph.  I think I hit the post button twice or something.  But it keeps the day interesting!

Our landlord, Sven, stopped by and asked if we’d like a “cleaning”.   How nice to know we’re getting all fresh linens tomorrow plus cleaning because we are here more than a week.  Unexpected but appreciated.  

About 2 pm we started our walk to the Rembrandt Plein; have it all mapped out and it’s not that far from the apartment, only a couple of miles.  There we saw the “Night Watch”, up close and personal, and took many photos.  The square is nearly always full of tourists.  From there we continued to walk to the site of Rembrandt’s home.  It’s now a museum and we visited the inside on an earlier trip.  Just wanted to make sure it was still there.   LOL 

Our walk also included the outside of a Flea Market; will visit the stalls later.  On the way home we stopped at the grocery store for supplies plus an ATM stop.  I’m trying to accumulate small euro bills for my trip to Spain this summer.  The small stores don’t like the fifty euro bills that the ATM likes to give you.

We arrived home about 4:30 pm and crashed… .both are tired from the walking.  Our steps today totaled 12,324 equaling 5.37 miles and Jim actually had 7 miles with his walk to the museum and back. Great Day!   But, we still played our daily game of cards before heading to bed.

Thursday, May 17th, 2018          Weather dry with a cold wind        Museum and Trams

Jim went out to walk at 7 am while I continued to sleep.  He’s trying to get his sugar numbers down before he takes his morning blood test for diabetes.  He did a mile and a half in an hour.  Did it help?  Not much. 

 This is a model of the home where the church in the attic is located.  The top three floors are dedicated to the church.  The lower floors are preserved much as they would have existed during that time period..

I actually slept until about 8 am.   Housekeeping is coming today so we plan to be gone most of the day.  By 10 am we were out the door on the way to the Tram # 4 to Central Station.  We purchased a one day ticket for 7 euros each.  We rode to the Central Station and starting walking heading towards the “Red Light District”;   our first stop was at the “Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder”, “Our Lord in the Attic”, Museum.  It was about 16th Century when Amsterdam closed all of the Catholic Churches.  They were allowed to practice their religion but only privately.   There were about twenty-five churches built inside of private homes.  Of those only one remains.   It is now a museum and takes over the top three floors of a large six story home of a wealthy Dutch family.  It sits on a canal and is in the “Red Light District”.    The home was restored to its original condition when it was made into a Museum.  The portion used by the family is now the Museum offices and display rooms.   The church remains as it was originally.  Beautiful.   I’m always looking for five fingered vases; found one at this museum for sale for about 35 euros.   My friend Shari collects them at home.  

We walked in and out of tiny streets near the Oudezijds Voorburgwal Canal after leaving the museum looking for the entrance to the Old Church.  Finally found it but it is closed for repairs until May 25th, several days after we leave.  From there we walked through small streets around the Old Church and discovered the “windows” with the girls.  It was still early in the day and we only saw one girl looking for business.  Soon we’d reached the main street of Damak again where the Trams can be found. 
Using our all-day pass we boarded Tram # 4 again for a short ride and then transferred to # 9 that took us to the Dutch Resistance Museum near the Artis Park.   It is a small museum and having entered at the same time as a high school group of students with their teacher; it was very crowded and noisy.  The exhibits were good but mostly in the Dutch language.  We are truly spoiled by so much being translated into English in the museums and exhibits.  The exhibits basically dealt with the period of time of occupation from 1940 to 1945.  There was a photo of a window in a restaurant that had a sign stating that “Jews could not enter”.    There was a bicycle that had a wooden back wheel and a very small child’s size rubber wheel in the front.  Times were definitely not easy for the Dutch and it got much worst before the end when people were starving because their food was being shipped to Germany for the soldiers and German people. 
By 2 pm we were back on Tram #9 headed out towards the western end in the area of Diemer.   Once there we had to transfer to a different Tram (still a # 9)  that was nearby for the journey back to where we started at the Central Station.    We then found Tram # 26 and rode the entire length over the water to Uburg.  We returned back to the Central Station and once again started walking south. 
We walked again through the Red Light District and since it was later in the day there were five woman looking for business.  But, as everyone knows, if you take photos you run a very good chance of having your camera/cell phone tossed into the canal.  
We walked all the way back to Damrak Street and found our favorite Tram # 4 and headed towards the apartment and our last ride on Tram # 3.  We rode to both ends getting off in the middle on the way back to visit the flea market again that we’d walked past yesterday.   We were both hungry so purchased a sandwich and a drink to keep us going until dinner.   The flea market was fun, many very old things plus a large variety of new and cheap clothing and souvenirs.   Difficult but we didn’t buy anything but we did keep close watch on our wallets!   Back on Tram #3, we went all the way to the northeastern end; taking us past the museum area where we could see the Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum and several others as we sped by on the Tram in both directions. 

We hopped off the Tram near our park on the way back and picked up a Subway sandwich to split before walking home through the park.  A good day, and we definitely got our money’s worth out of the Tram all-day ticket.

Enjoyed our dinner and played a game of cards after dinner. I’ve decided to do a Facebook entry with photos of bicycles.  They are everywhere and have their own special roads along the side of all regular roads.  Our steps today were 10,921 making 5 miles for a total!  The day was definitely cooler, no summer clothes and our white jackets were really not very warm.   We should have worn our warmer gray jackets.  

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