|August 11/12, 2012
Goodbye Amsterdam/Hello Paris
Today we left Amsterdam and traveled by high-speed train to Paris.
Yesterday was a good day—we hit two museums and the Waterlooplein (Place) Market.
The Waterlooplein Market has been running everyday but Sundays for the last 100 years. It was a mix of a garage sale and a flea market with a healthy dose of the Hippy Days—lots of great tie dyed skirts. It was quite large—my pictures don’t do it justice. Susan has supposedly made a very shrewd buy—but we will see the true cost in the end. The Market is located in the middle of the Jewish Quarters and is adjacent to the Amstel River that flows through Amsterdam by way of all of the canals.
Just around the corner, we toured Rembrandt’s House, which was very large. He purchased it in the mid 1600s, for 13,000 Guilders, which was a huge sum of money (an average yearly salary was 300 Guilders). He was the most successful painter in the Golden Age of the Dutch. However, he ended up going bankrupt and lost his house. There were only a few Rembrandt paintings in the house—it was mostly painting by his students and other artists. But it was full of sketches/prints that Rembrandt completed. He would “scrape” a scene on to a copper plate and then would make prints from the plate—it was quite fascinating.
The last “history” event was to spend a couple of hours in the Jewish Historical Museum. It is the only one in the Netherlands. It was excellent and explained the last 300 years history of the Jewish people in the NLs. The Museum incorporated a large Synagogue (I have included a number of pictures). It also explained the Jewish Faith and how they practice their Faith.
Amsterdam was a very safe haven for the Jewish people for many years because the Dutch were tolerant and only concerned with commerce and trade. But having said that, the Jewish were not full citizens (i.e. couldn’t join the Guilds or hold public office) so they became merchants and traders. As the Dutch became a powerful economic force in the Golden Years, there were Jewish communities established wherever the Dutch sailed to trade.
The most moving part of the Museum was the explanation of what happened during WWII and the atrocities that the Jewish people faced.
We then spent some time sitting at Leiidsplein people watching. It has the reputation of being one of the busiest Squares in Amsterdam.
Then acting on a tip from the fellow we met from Boston, we headed into the Jordaan District and found a lovely small Italian Restaurant.
We ended the evening hanging out our hotel window snapping pictures of all of the action on the canal we faced and the surrounding streets.
Our Hotel was on the 1st floor and if you look at the picture, our room encompassed all 3 windows—it was a great street/canal to be on. (Liliegracht)—“gracht’ means canal. Rick Steves said that it was one of the prettiest small canals and a must to walk. By the amount of Canal Traffic and foot/bike/carriage traffic, lots of people must read Rick Steves’ Guide Books.
Looking forward to the last chapter in our adventure—not sure where six weeks have gone.
Al & Sue