Today was the day we had reserved to explore the cultural delicacies available in Amsterdam, yet the weather had different ideas. After waking up around 10am, we attempted to explore the wonders of the “Vondelpark”, which is right on our doorstep, only to find it drowning in torrential rain. The park is said to be Amsterdam’s version of New York’s ‘Central Park’, and has a bandstand, restaurants, sculptures and more on offer. We stayed for about twenty minutes, before having to run off to drier ground. I can imagine, however, that it is absolutely blissful on a sunny day.
We headed toward Museumstraat to get our history and art fix, initially attempting to get into Rijksmuseum, which is full of Dutch history stemming from the present day to the Middle Ages, yet the queue was a monstrosity. After looking at our options, we thought that the Moco museum looked good, promising a Banksy and Dali exhibition that sounded tantalising. The museum itself is a small building with big demand, so I would recommend pre-buying any tickets as you get to skip the queues. Luckily, we were let in after around 5 minutes, immediately greeted with a big Dali quotation printed on the wall: “I am not strange, I am just not normal.” A fitting thought for Amsterdam in general. There are around 5 rooms on the ground floor, and 4 on the second, which were all reserved for Banksy. I was particularly impressed with his canvas work and art using wood, as I didn’t know he had strayed from his graffiti can and moved onto other forms. With themes encompassing anti-capitalism, anti-war, and individual freedom, it’s a thought provoking and enjoyable exhibit that is well worth the trip. Tickets are EUR. 10 for students, and EUR. 12.50 for adults.
Moving downstairs, there were a few rooms for the works of Dali, with sculptures, paintings, and even textiles. There wasn’t as much to see here in comparison to Banksy, but his unique and eccentric style was a pleasure to see. In true Banksy style, we exited through the gift shop, picking up a few postcards on the way. The store sells incredibly cool skateboard decks, posters, and various other merchandise, but it’s ultimately quite expensive.
Next, we attempted to get into the Van Gogh museum, yet the woman outside instructed us to either wait three hours or go somewhere else. The latter option was preferred, and we walked into the “Stedelijk museum”, which is dedicated to modern art and design. After paying EUR. 9 for a student ticket, Jacob & Tom had to pay the full price of EUR. 17.50 as they had no ID, but it’s free for under 18s. The building is huge, and offers a large number of rooms with a vast array of exhibitions across a plethora of forms, including: Jean Dubuffet, Karel Appel, Gerrit Rietveld, and photography by Muholi. Muholi was the highlight for me, with photos of Africa’s LGBTI community that aimed to celebrate individuality and our own bodies. The shop at Stedelijk stocks a huge number of books that would be perfect gifts for art/design lovers. Photos were allowed at both museums.
On the advice of The Finicky Cynic , we went to get some lunch at “Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx” to taste their renowned fries. After turning down a little alley, the kiosk stands just on the right, serving cones of freshly made fries to eagerly awaiting customers. I opted for the “Special Mix Curry Ketchup” for EUR. 3.30 (a medium), and I have to say it was one of the best snacks I’ve had in my entire life. I can’t even describe how amazing the sauce is, and the fries are the perfect texture, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Finished off with a sprinkle of white onion, it’s the cheapest portion of happiness that money can buy. Go there. Now. (Once more, I just want to thank The Finicky Cynic for giving me a list of places to check out on my travels, you should all hit up her blog, it’s fantastic).
We just had time to eat our fries and muse about how life changing those little slices of potato were, before the rain became unbearable. It was absolutely pouring to the point where it was soaking through our clothes, and we had to take refuge in a café called “Restaurant De Sneeker Pan”. I ordered a chocomilk and a portion of strawberries and cream, as I’m actually still a child, for EUR. 8.50 and Jacob got a ham omelette for EUR .7, which was “the best omelette I’ve ever had”; the staff were amazing and ordered us a taxi to get back to our hotel without getting too soaked, as Tom only has one set of clothes with him and is flying back home in the early hours of tomorrow. We arrived back at the hotel, dried off what we could, and relaxed, booking our tickets for ‘The Heineken Experience” , which we are attending this evening. It was EUR. 18 each, and this includes the hour and a half self guided tour, and 2 beers at the end of it. We’re planning on grabbing some pizza at “Da Portare Via”, where the pizzas look so, so tasty, and heading for an early night to pack our things, ready for the train to Berlin tomorrow.
As per usual, I’ll discuss this evening’s findings at the beginning of tomorrow’s post.
If anyone has any recommendations for Berlin, please comment below, I love hearing from you guys!