Rembrandt and Amsterdam go together hand in glove. The Rijksmuseum has over two million visitors a year, and it’s a safe bet that all of them spend a few seconds in front of ‘The Night Watch’, his seventeenth-century masterpiece. But the painting has a doppelgänger. On the Rembrandtsplein, overlooked by the master himself, all of the twenty-two characters in the painting are cast in bronze, … Continue reading The Night Watch.
‘When they told me were mounting an exhibition of artworks with cheese as the subject I thought there can’t be that many paintings of the yellow stuff’, Oscar, a volunteer at the Stadsmuseum Woerden told me. I thought the same. My interest was piqued. And now, here we both were, he leading and me listening. Everyone knows that cheese and Holland go together. Cheese is … Continue reading I Do Like A Nice Bit Of Cheese…
Breakfast: Omelegg. For a great start to the day, omelettes of every description. Leaving Omelegg, turn right and walk up the Ferdinand Bolstraat to the Albert Cuyp Market, after 350 metres on the right. The best known market in Holland, and with over 260 stalls, possibly the largest day market in Europe. When the fish stalls close down for the day, and the street is … Continue reading Foodie Heaven: A Tour of Amsterdam’s De Pijp.
In October, in autumn as the leaves were turning, we lived for a month in ‘de Pijp’, Amsterdam’s southern bohemian shabby-chic neighbourhood. I’ve always loved the Pijp. I thought I knew it, but I didn’t really. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, the broad Albert Cuypstraat bereft of it’s famous street market and all of it’s charm. Oceans of tarmac, shuttered shops, a few parked cars … Continue reading Home. In Amsterdam.
We couldn’t decide. Should we go or not? It looked cold outside and the couch was calling. We’d got a stack of films recorded and food galore. On the other hand it wasn’t raining and we could get there direct from the tram stop outside the front door. We shrugged off the Christmas inertia, put on the layers and went for it. Sloterplas, the lake … Continue reading Taking The Plunge.
How difficult it is to pick highlights out of a packed year. So many places big and small. Countless seemingly inconsequential moments of happiness. What I see is not a destination but a detail – a colour, a shape, an expression. Housesitting interspersed with trips to far flung lands. Animals. People. Friends. Food. Joy. Learning, always learning. I give thanks for it all. 2017 was … Continue reading Happy New Year.
On a Sunday morning in November I stood on the Magere Brug in Amsterdam, surrounded by the under-tens, waiting for the Sint to roll up on his steamboat. The weather was throwing everything at us: showers, the occasional icy blast and an even more occasional burst of sunshine. The Sint probably wished he’d stayed in Spain, where he spends most of his year, but needs … Continue reading It’s Christmas!
Shelley likened them to ‘moths of which a coffin might have been the chrysalis’. Travelling down the Grand Canal on a vaporetto is wonderful, but the gondola is the ‘crème de la crème‘ of the water craft. To simply sit in one of those beautiful hand-crafted vessels is to feel like royalty. In the sixteenth century there were ten thousand gondolas in Venice. Today the … Continue reading The Gondola.
‘She would go to the piazza from where the doges had once set out to wed the sea with rings’.* Like Miss Garnet, we headed first for the piazza. It seemed the natural place to begin. A public space so grand that no other square in the city was thought fit to bear the name – all the others are campi or if they are … Continue reading The Piazza.