Museum Geelvinck, historic home of a wealthy merchant
After a quick breakfast from the bakery around the corner, we walked by the canals to the Museum Geelvinck, which is an 18th century rich merchant's house. Lovely small museum...although we were told that 90% of the furnishings were not original to the house, they are of the correct time period. The docents were two sweet old men, who explained the history of the family who owned the home, and how the home was used. The downstairs kitchen and the upstairs bedrooms were not re-done, so the museum is limited to the four rooms on the first floor plus the formal garden, which was lovely, but it was blustery out so we didn't linger. The museum rents itself out for weddings, etc., so the dining room did not have antique furniture.
Interestingly to me, there were 5 or 6 pianos in the home - all but one were the square type, but one was a German lyre style piano - very rare - only 20 still exist, and 19 of of them are in Germany.
Rare piano the museum curators allowed me to play
It's like a grand piano in that the strings are long...but they are vertical, like an upright piano, only taller and the top part of the string cabinet is a curved, fanciful shape like a lyre. When the docent asked why I was so interested in the information about the pianos, I told him I'm a pianist, so he took the cover off the keys (just a little embroidered cloth) and allowed me to play. The piano was horribly out of tune, but interesting...the keys were reeeeally long, it had all 3 pedals, and the piano was very low to the ground. I got on my knees to play it (there was no bench with it, but I imagine tall pianists would have had a tough time finding a spot for their knees). I played a few Bach tunes (something that wouldn't need pedal, since I couldn't reach it.
..with my knee).
We walked to the area where they sell tulips bulbs to the tourists and found a nice cafe where I grabbed a pannekoeken met speck (bacon pancake) and Morgan had more poffertjes, but with Grand Marnier (not flambeed, just a little shot of it to dip in) and we had a nice conversation with the owner about the difference in legalities between the States and Holland. Holland just had some changes to their drug laws on January 1st, pertaining to non-Dutch citizens. I read that the Brits, Italians, etc., would come in and get messed up and destroy stuff here, and the Dutch want to limit the usage to card-carrying Dutch citizens, although we still saw pot seeds & beverages, and mushroom growing-kits.
We then stumbled upon the Rembrandt House, so we took the tour there, and that was really cool - it's also mostly reproduced furnishings from drawings and accounts of the time, but they gave a very detailed demonstration of how Rembrandt did the etchings and prints, which was really interesting.
No Rembrandt Museum pix, but here's an item from a nearby shop window: a penis cozy! Keeps you nice and warm!
He did his own printing so he could change the amount of ink on the plates and manipulate the image that way. His studio was large and light, and he also had this curiosity room filled with stuffed animals, preserved butterflies, weapons and busts of Roman emperors which he could use for his art...but it apparently cost him a fortune, and so did the house. He defaulted on his home loan and lost the whole lot. The top floor had a lot of his etchings. I had seen a traveling exhibit of his etchings (and wannabes) at the Getty Museum in L.A...his use of light and shading and composition.
After that we took a tram back to Elandsgracht, and went into a grocery store for a snack before meeting Joel for a rijstoeffel dinner. We met Joel at the tram stop and took the tram to the Albert Cuyp market (which is taken apart at night).
Joel had gotten a Groupon for this place for 4 people, but his boyfriend wasn't able to go, so it was the 3 of us. The place had been recommended by his colleagues. The service was very slow--it took over 45 minutes for our food to arrive--and they made us all have the same thing at the table, even though Joel doesn't eat any meat except chicken and turkey. There are usually 15-20 dishes (some of them very small, like peanuts fried with coconut), but at this place there were only 10 dishes, and only one had vegetables of any kind. Nothing with peanut sauce, either. The food was tasty (the fried rice was really good), but overall we were disappointed, and Joel was downright pissed. And they claimed they had given us food for 4 people...it certainly would not have been enough for 4.
Patty, Morgan and Joel at the Prik
The owner asked how it was, and Joel gave his honest opinion. Ah well.
Joel then took us to his favorite bar in Amsterdam
, the Prik. Yes, it's a gay bar. Love the name. Really fun, unpretentious place. A couple of girls here and there, but mostly guys in their 20's - 40's. They had girly cocktails...Joel suggested the poached pear martini...it really tasted like poached pears. Morgan had a gay mocktail. Joel's friend Eddy arrived...I hadn't seen him in years. Joel also knew a lot of guys who came in the bar...it cracked me up because their greeting was like 5 kisses on the lips in quick succession.
We started getting a little tired, so we all packed up and started walking back to Elandsgracht, but then Joel and Eddy started describing this snack joint that's open until the wee hours, and serves all kinds of fried foods that are good when you're drunk.
Late night snacks: frites and frikandels
..including a frikkendel: a tube of meat with ketchup, mayo (or curry sauce) and chopped onions. And fries, of course. The place has bird sounds playing in it instead of music. Ostensibly so you don't hang out and listen to music...hopefully you get sick of hearing the bird sounds and eventually get up and leave!