Lasting impression - an Amsterdam bike with seats for mom and THREE children!
Our alarm didnāt go off this morning.Possibly a bad omen since we will need to push off early tomorrow to catch our flight home, but Iād like to consider it reinforcement of our approach to this voyage.We had destinations each day, but never a rigid timetable to satisfy.Enabled by how easy it is to get around, I really appreciated how this made every day an open adventure.
Todayās list included a visit to the Van GoghMuseum, seeking out an open air market and if time permits, dropping in to check out the Heineken Experience.Despite our tardy start, CitizenMās proximity to the Museumplein allowed us to reach the Van GoghMuseum by 10:30AM, though there was already a lengthy queue.Just like at the Anne Frank House, however, the line progressed steadily and soon we were inside.
Kim suggested we get the audio tours available for four euro, which turned out to be a brilliant idea.
Taste test at Heineken Experience (Kim loaned me her wee beer for this shot)
I knew very little about Van Gogh and the audio tour really brought helped me appreciate his life and art.They quoted Vincent frequently from letters he wrote to his brother Theo, which brought to life the passion with which he pursued his art.Of the many, many fascinating paintings I was most intrigued by āSkull of a Skeleton with Burining Cigaretteā - it seemed so fresh and I knew I had seen it somewhere recently without a clue it was a Van Gogh.Eventually it dawned on me that this was the cover for David Sedarisā latest book, āWhen You Are Engulfed in Flamesā.
I feel so artsy fartsy now,
and for the day I half believe I could pronounce Van Gogh properly.You have to pronounce it like āVan Gawkā and
it helps considerably if you pretend you are being strangled while you are
saying it.We spent a lot of time at
the Van GoghMuseum and it was a wonderful
Enjoyed lunch at a pleasant Italian restaurant across the street from Sama Sebo, where Kim and I finally satisfied our craving for escargot.Rudolph had ordered some escargot our first night here and it looked so good we had both been craving it ever since.
Then off to the Albert Cuyp General Market in the nearby Pijp district of Amsterdam.Unfortunately it struck us as total chaos, basically a zillion stalls crammed with cheap tourist trinkets, though we did enjoy the occasional fish or cheese stand.
A canal we crossed most nights returning home to CitizenM
Needless to say, we bolted after a few blocks towards the Heineken Experience, which was just a couple blocks away.The timing was perfect, because it had just started to rain.
The Heineken Experience, hmmmm.Well, it was sparkly, but not a good value for the fifteen euro admission charge.You basically got paraded by a lot of glitzy exhibits that were shiny but lacked content, before reaching the thrill-a-minute Heineken Experience ride, where our hosts were going to brew YOU into a beer (several attendants uttered this line and pointed at us as they recited the mantra).This was totally lame.They caution you will get wet and be jostled about, but you just stand in four rows (railings in front to grab on to) that shake a little.Some of it was fun, but it did not deserve any build up as an exciting event.
But after the ride we entered a room where we were given teeny glasses to sample Heineken (see my review of the IndiaGarden in Delft!).This was actually quite informative, with our attendant explaining the relevance of the foamy head on a beer, where you taste various characteristics of the beer in your mouth, etc.After this you get paraded past some retail opportunities for the brewer (e.
Adornment on the bridge crossing the canal in the previous photo
g., a spot where you can record a video of your party in a Heineken commercial) and finally land in the bar, where you get to redeem the button they tell you is a free beer at the beginning.
This is where Heineken makes up lost ground for the disappointing tour.When you turn your button in the bartender clues you in that there is another button on the bracelet you put on when you enter, so two free beers.Added to the wee free sample, your attitude is pretty happy by the time you leave.The room where you enjoy the freebies is also pretty cool.There are video screens lining the entire room which segue between various international cities (Paris, Hong Kong, NYC, Rio) and you sit at one of four tables whose top is a video screen.When you park your beer on these tables a Heineken coaster magically appears beneath it and by strategically maneuvering you r beer you can manage the screen to reveal various things concerning the city currently being featured.The tour is over after polishing off your second freebie, since you exit through the gift shop.Now the free beer starts making senseā¦
Not a complete loser, but we were expecting something akin to the Guinness tour we took in Dublin some years ago, which was fantastic!
Our final trek back home to CitizenM through lovely Amsterdam was wrapped in sunshine, which had gratefully returned.
This image will remain one of my fondest memories of a stellar destination...
For dinner we went to the WorldTradeCenter to check out Waggamamma, a hip noodle bar and purchased our train tickets for tomorrowās ride to Schipholā¦we were running low on euros and didnāt want to get caught short.The wild ride was at an end but there were no regrets --- it had been an awesome introduction.