Picture of the Week

19 April 2016

Week 16: Amsterdam and home

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:30

The week began in Amsterdam, where I spent a full day walking around the city, re-visiting some of my favourite spots.

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I arrived at Amsterdam Central Station on the train from Eindhoven, left my bag in a locker and ventured out. First, I stopped at the Febo shop across the street. Febo is a Dutch culinary institution. Its main purpose is to provide greasy snacks at all hours, especially useful if someone is drunk and hungry and it is very late:
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This is the kind of food you get at Febo, in this case croquettes whose content can best be described as “mystery meat.” This is the first time in 3 years I ate such a thing, but I was determined to make my Amsterdam experience complete:
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I walked down the Damrak to the Dam Square, home of Amsterdam’s royal palace. There are often various demonstrations on the square, and this time Falun Gong was there:
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Staying with the Chinese theme, I found it amusing to see a bunch of Chinese tourists in front of a Chinese massage parlour:
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My first port of call was the Rijksmuseum. I had visited it when I lived in the Netherlands between 2003 and 2007 but it has since been renovated and I wanted to see it again. Behind the museum there as the IAmsterdam sign, made up of huge letters. People climb on them to be photographed or to make selfies:
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Two women behind the Rijksmuseum:
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One goes to the Rijksmuseum to look at many things, of course, but the Flemish masters are clearly the main draw. The crowd looking at Rembrandt’s Night Watch:
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The museum provides information sheets in several languages about the most famous masterpieces:
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I continued through the galleries. The most fantastic part about seeing those paintings is to look into the faces of the people depicted in them. The next several images present such close-ups. In some cases I remember the painting (or have been able to track it down on the museum’s website); in some cases I do not, but anyway–just look at the light and the incredible details.

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The Massacre of the Innocents, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, 1590:
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A Shepherdess, Paulus Moreelse, 1630:
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A Shepherdess, Paulus Moreelse, 1630:
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The Merry Fiddler, Gerard van Honthorst, 1623:
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Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster, Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648:
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Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster, Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648:
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There is also modern stuff at the Rijksmuseum, here a work by a member of the Cobra group:
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I also looked at some small sculptures.

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A grimace:
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Man against wall:
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A drunk:
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And reflecting the colonial and trading past of the Netherlands, there is also a collection of Asian art:
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I left the Rijksmuseum and walked back towards the centre (the museum is south of the centre, just outside the inner ring) along the canals. The seagulls in Amsterdam look very well fed:
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Airing the bedding; this is a habit the Dutch have in common with the Swiss:
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Amsterdam bicycle, the kind people use to run errands and yes, to go drinking:
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My next stop was the Kattenkabinet, a unique gallery devoted to art featuring cats:
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There are also several real cats living in the Kattenkabinet:
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Typical Amsterdam traffic:
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There are two good English-language bookstores in the centre of Amsterdam. I popped into the American Book Center on Spui. And of course I could not avoid buying a book. I got a biography of Leon Trotsky from this series:
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I also walked past the other English-language bookstore, but this time my goal was the herring stand outside. What the Dutch call “new herrings” is one of the few Dutch foods I really miss in Spain. Here is the server preparing the delicacies:
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You can get them plain, or in a type of sandwich:
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I opted for the sandwich. It was heavenly:
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In the evening, a friend who now lives in The Hague picked me up at my hotel near Schiphol airport and we drove to Haarlem to have dinner there. Haarlem is a very charming town, about 15 km from Schiphol:
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The evening was a nice one:
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The next morning I flew home to Alicante.

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Back home, a friend from England was visiting, and we went for lunch at a beach restaurant called Casa Domingo:
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Taking the order:
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Bringing the paella:
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Grilled artichokes. The area just south of Alicante is a major producer of artichokes, and they are in season now. Fresh and totally delicious:
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The flan was very good too:
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My street in morning light:
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Another picture seen while walking Cheeta. A bee is busy with a flower:
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Really busy:
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Spain’s economy is beginning to recover from the crisis. Sights like this are a tangible sign:
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But the hangover from the crisis is still there:
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On Saturday morning, as I often do, I cycled to the Carrasqueta mountain pass. A lot of other cyclists had the same idea–right now the weather is ideal, not too hot not too cold:
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This is the spot where people take a break–and a lot of selfies:
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A bit further along the ride, there is a spot where the Vuelta a España has passed by several times. At that point in the ride, after 70 km and lots of climbing, and about 30 left to go, encouragement is very welcome:
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On Wednesday night, I went to a local bar to watch the Atletico Madrid-Barcelona Champions League quarterfinal. Barcelona had won the first leg at home, 2-1, so a 1-0 victory would be enough for Atletico to knock out Barça from the tournament. This man, obviously an Atletico supporter, was watching intently:
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Concern; Barcelona is having a good spell in the match:
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A calming sip:
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Celebration at the end. Atletico has won and Barcelona is out:
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More Amsterdam pictures can be seen here.

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