This is the 27th of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time. Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday. Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time. Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification. I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.
This 27th report covers the end of my fourth (and last full) day in Amsterdam.
Well, it's hard to believe, but my time's almost up in Amsterdam. But while I'm anxious to get back, I plan to give the two days in Brussels as thorough an examination as other places. I checked today at a second easyEverything and my internet password worked there, so since there's an easyEverything in Brussels, I may get to access the internet there at no extra charge.
[NOW: I’m pretty I did have to pay for new tickets at Brussels. The one there isn’t 24 hours.]
Took pictures of the Homomonument. What my guide didn't mention is that there are three separate components, all three different sorts of pink triangles (alluding to their World War II treatment).
[NOW: I was referring to the treatment of gays and lesbians in concentration camps of course.]
Went to a bible museum. Not as interesting as it sounds, especially for what you pay. Info in Dutch so I wasn't sure what made the various texts special. Also no flash photos so I'm not sure as my photos turned out. Tried to go for close-ups but indoors without flash are still worse than night time with flash.
[NOW: The proper name for the museum is the Bijbels Museum.]
There was a war memorial place nearby (related to the Holocaust somehow) but I think it charged money and I had two other pay places to go so I passed.
I went to a book store and got some US comic book related stuff (including how to write comics), then I went to another museum devoted to that greatest of all house pets. I am, of course, referring to the cat. Lots of artwork and sculptures and, yes, actual (sleeping) cats. And okay to take photos.
[NOW: Some of the book stores catered to English speaking people. The storekeeper and (if memory serves) another customer (maybe another staff member) spoke Dutch until I put my stuff on the counter at which point they switched to perfect English. The cat museum is called KattenKabinet, or Cat Cabinet.]
Went to a Dutch place recommended in a guide book but it was closed.
[NOW: Sorry, no idea now what I was referring to unless I got confused and was referring to the Jews memorial described below.]
Instead went to the train station and as with day of arrival had a fast food meal, with the Amsterdam tradition of hot mayo on fries. Actually tastes pretty good that way.
Went to another religious place, an attic where a Protestant clergyman held services "underground" at a time when such services were not permitted. Some photo deal unfortunately so I stopped taking pictures when my roll ran out half way. However, just for the memories alone I'd recommend this one anyway. It's actually more elaborate than some regular cathedrals, albeit divided into different rooms.
[NOW: I’m referring above to Museum Amstelkring, or Our Lady in the Attic.]
Went to one grocery store and was charged tax separately on a pop (still only E0.64 for 50 cL). Very rare occurrence in Europe; normally, as it should be, tax is already factored into the cost. (Does anyone really care what the price of something is before tax?)
[NOW: I might have the size off as the above mo longer makes sense to me; 500 mL maybe.]
I went to a free tribute place to Jews, a theatre that was converted into a way station to send Jews to concentration camps. It is now a memorial. This was the place I meant to go to yesterday. Got a little lost but along the way found a building where one of the outer walls was a waterfall. Just to show you can't judge a book by its cover, a very scruffy looking Good Samaritan helped me get back on track.
Went to a place where a palace was that I had gone to earlier. Bother times it was closed but there were some brothers (jugglers/comedians) doing a decent street show.
[NOW: I saw they do their act twice. The first time things were great. The second time things went wrong; see below.]
Went to a ribs buffet place that was mentioned in the guide book as E10. Actually the cost was now about E13 before drinks. Also looked crowded and smoky. I decided to have my usual macaroni Bolognese at the hostel instead, though only after catching a couple more street performer acts, including the previous brothers. The brothers had a harder time the second time: threatening to rain, windy (so one dropped the pins a few times), kid they chose chickened out mid act, a few crashers including some drunk young adults. Still they do a good job of hamming it up. I actually think they could go somewhere if "discovered". Both they and the other performer performed in English.
[NOW: I don’t think they ever got discovered, sadly, though it’s true that I haven’t been tracking their career and no longer recall their names. I wish I could recall when in the trip this happened, but at one point I saw a Batman and Robin poster from the 1960s TV movie (or maybe the movie tie-in] and then a few blocks later saw a street sign that said, A’dam-West. Not a misspelled tribute to the former Batman but rather short for the west end of Amsterdam.]