van gogh museum & jet lag & amsterdam canal tour

A five hour nap post-flight was not a good idea–because later we had a hot chocolate and Benadryl party at 3:30 in the morning. But, really, how is a family of six supposed to pretend that we slept for ten minutes one night and move right into the next day? Mission impossible!

Still, some of us never look jetlagged…

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We were ‘welkomed’ to Amsterdam on a water tour for seventy five minutes. With diminished cognitive sensibilities, we were numbed to the details of the tour. Or is it that we’re not ultimately intending to tour Europe, so we’re not fully engaging in the Netherlands?

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The guided tour informed me that Amsterdam was originally a trading post on the Amstel River and developed in the sixteenth century. There have been floods and plagues and fires—classic European history. The West Church was designed by Rembrandt in the Dutch Renaissance. The canal makes its way to the Rhine River, which usually transports river boats to Germany. To my surprise, Amsterdam is the world’s largest petrol exporter. I thought that was Fort McMurray.

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It wasn’t the water tour that had my attention today, though. Rent a headset at the front counter of the Van Gogh museum and away we went.

Good thing you’re wearing a red jacket, mom. So we can find you”.

I’m in such a jetlagged haze that I wasn’t conscious where my four kiddos were. They’re probably safe in this four floor, jam packed with people, Dutch museum.

Here, our tour guide for the lovely museum.

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This would be the only photograph I could take inside. Naturally, the Dutch are hoping you will come visit instead.

If you like museums, you should visit Europe. Churches, too.

Perhaps I was underwhelmed by museums as a child. Can’t say we made that a regular family excursion. I’ve been making up for lost time these last few years.

The Van Gogh museum really is a sight for impressionist lovers like myself. I missed out on the Musee d’Orsay in Paris two years ago—apparently they’re closed Tuesdays.

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With the cutest tour guide ever, we stood, stared, gaped and studied art pieces until my hubby declared, “So I’m taking anyone interested to the café”.

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I was two floors behind them. I told Jim I love this place and he happily chimed in, “Great. Cuz I can see we’ll be here all day”. Ha, I proved him wrong. Just three hours.

The café was just as pretty as the museum. I missed the croissants, but I enjoyed a European cappuccino just as the doors opened in the morning.

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I’ve got a fine arts degree waiting for me when the kids are growed up…

Since I’m ten minutes away from boarding another plane, I don’t have time to include web addresses for each piece. But I wanted to share with you my favourite pieces…

  1. De Siene, morning—I thought this was an all Van Gogh museum. Apparently not. Charles Angrand…never heard of him. Love his work.
  2. Camille Pissaro’s “The haymaking in Eragny” (did you know there were a couple female impressionists—no Bertha Morrisot at this museum).
  3. Van Gogh attempted pointillism with his “Garden with courting couples”…this pic is everywhere…you’ve seen it.
  4. Self-portrait of Van Gogh in a straw hat…you’ve seen this one. Who knew it was painted on cardboard. Looks like chalk pastels.
  5. My now present favourite of Van Gogh: “Flowerpot of garlic chives” (sunflowers are so overrated)…
  6. Odilon redon bloemen, especially “de witte sering” (the white lilac) was a Madelyn and Jim favourite. Redon’s work is perfectionistic, even in his signature…pastels on paper.
  7. And one of Van Gogh’s favourites: a piece by Ernest Quost, “Garden with hollyhocks”.
  8. I would actually BUY “Avenues of poplars in autumn”. The poplars are golden lining the piece with a nun walking away from a convent? Mental health hospital? (VG was hospitalized numerous times). Of course if it were on the market, I could NOT buy it. But one can dream.
  9. How to be an art critic written by a non-official art critic:

I’m a novice in the art world. But I stared heartily at his brushstrokes, trying to understand how the tiny oil painted strokes could, from a few feet away, create an overall picture.

Move yourself: Up close, then far away. Up close, then far away. Tip head to the right. Tip head to the left. Squint a foot away from piece and stand back.

Now you too can (appear to) be a professional art critic!