Utrecht Travel Blog› entry 45 of 61 › view all entries
I had stuff I wanted to do today. Sensible stuff - notes for my appraisal, study things, that kind of thing. I went to the office, sat down at the computer, and spent an hour and a half blankly flicking between facebook and travelbuddy, wondering why no-one had emailed me in the 0.6 of a second since I last visited the site. Well, that wasn't achieving much, so I left again. I went for a wander down a different street, found some wall paintings and a market I hadn't seen before, and cursed how unbelievably cold it had turned in the hour and a half of flicking - it'd been sunny when I went to work. And I was trying to hold my money for the trip to Köln on Sunday. Myeh, I thought, feeling disgruntled, how can I get warm without spending any money? I popped out in the city centre, behind the statue of the starved hare, and thought .
First stop was the Aboriginal Art Museum, to see the actual paintings this time. It was very interesting. I'd recommend seeing the intro video, even if you don't speak Dutch, because parts of it are in one of the Aboriginal languages with English subtitles. One of the Peoples have given the museum some law poles to apologise for killing some Dutch settlers, which is a totally new take on the whole messy history of colonialism for me and the video explains why they felt that that was necessary. Most of the paintings at the time I went were by a single artist in the traditional style from her area, but there are also some totally different pieces and a video installation based on a David Bowie video, which was interesting too.
The next museum on my mopping up tour was the mechanical musical instrument museum, the second strangest museum I've been to my life (the first place goes to Sherbourne Falls in Vermont, and I'll tell you all about it some other time!). The staff seemed universally astonished every time they saw a visitor, there were no signs to say where you were and weren't allowed to go so I had no idea whether I was allowed to go through the doors. These were shut, of course, because every so often a musical clock or some sort of instrument would go cheerfully mental. There were even machines that played violins automatically - these used to live in cafés when musicians were in short supply. I think the most surreal part was when the enormous dance hall organ engine started to play a song that sounded exactly like the theme from Allo Allo * - I half expected Michelle of the Resistance to pop up and tell me somsing only vonce! Especially given the confusion of the guides everytime they saw me.
* for non-Brits and young Brits, Allo Allo was a situation comedy show about the French Resistance in the war, mostly featuring the misadventures of a café owner who fancied his waitresses, and the head of the resistance was always popping up to tell people to "listen very carefully, I shall say ziss only vonce". Most of the comedy revolved around people doing comedy English/French/German accents, which were used to tell you where the characters were meant to be from. You probably wouldn't get away with it now!