Annan fredag: another Friday & photos of The Netherlands

Another Friday night. Finally a few minutes to catch our breath after a crazy weekend last weekend.

I flew to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Th., 3 October, poked around Amsterdam a bit, met with the head of The Netherlands Fulbright Commission, and then went to Den Haag (The Hague) for dinner with friends we knew from State College.

Friday & Saturday, I attended a conference- the 10th "Hydro Hegemony" conference in The Hague. More on that in a separate post.

Chris and the kids joined me late on Friday night in Den Haag. They hung out with our friends on Saturday, then we went late on Sat. night to Amsterdam. Spent the night in a "boat hostel" - while memorable, it was not restful nor sleep inducing (dorms in boats have thin walls, even though people were being as quiet as possible).

Went to the "Nemo" on Sunday- amazing science museum. Followed up with finding a new hotel, lunch, and a trip to Rijkmuseaum. We tried a lot of cheese samples, bought bread and cheese for dinner, and hung out for a bit in a very spacious hotel room. Managed to see "The Book of Mormon" at the Royal Theatre- awesome! We'd been hoping to see this show for almost a year- it's in State College, PA right now- of all things. Had some nice chats with nearby audience members about what lyrics in the musical might mean.

Closed out Monday with a fabulous breakfast and a trip to the Van Gogh museum. Really helpful to see the arc of his work and life in one place.

Dodged the "extinction rebellion" climate strike- wasn't the day to get arrested in Amsterdam (esp. given the number of police and paddy wagons).

Headed to the airport- it is a big place if you ever go! Celebrated KLM's 100th birthday with a serenade and dance at the gate. Flight delayed, home at midnight. Definitely not ready for Tuesday morning...

Photos below!

Flying into The Netherlands (with tulips for sale at the airport):

In Amsterdam- the train station and scenes from around town

Bikes everywhere... I wasn't dodging these so could take a picture. They hosted a "die in" in the 1970s to ensure better access for cyclists.

Late night in Amsterdam- headed to our "boat hostel" near the Nemo Science Museum, our view out our "port" window the next day

 The Nemo (also known as our next stop on our European science museum tour)


Into the fray (or into Amsterdam Central at least)

Different kinds of flowers and plants everywhere... 

Chocolate & waffles for lunch... not surprisingly, the sugar crash followed but we persevered and went to a museum (always a cure for a sugar crash; we're surprised the kids were able to rally and didn't revolt. They aren't quite yet fully fledged teens, thank goodness). 

Elizabeth in a staring competition with a cat... Elizabeth won

Patterns & textures of Amsterdam

Amsterdam flower market... I so wanted to buy bulbs but didn't

Into the Rijksmuseum... complete with a fantastic concert in the gallery as we entered the museum.

 Amazing artwork- not so many pictures given the museum, but I couldn't resist what might be  Stephen & Elizabeth's next halloween costume? They don't agree). The bottom very famous work -- the Night Watch-- is being digitally scanned- cool to see. 


 Finished with a sugar crash and an art museum, we found our new hotel. Fantastic view from our room.

And to the Royal Theatre- a taxi through the pouring rain and a chance to see The Book of Mormon

We walked home afterwards-- the aftermath of the storm and back to our room. They say Amsterdam is a city that never sleeps. We believe it... 

 Next day and to the van Gogh museum

 One of these is not a painting... any guesses?

More scenes from Amsterdam

Too tired to walk any more... but enough energy for tag!

One very small piece of the Amsterdam "Extinction Rebellion" strike to raise awareness of climate change-- business is not normal; the point was to disrupt the city. Not our day for being arrested. 

Back to the train station, the airport (100th birthday party for KLM and local dance party!), and home...  and interesting to us, Stockholm feels like home!

Note: I posted a few thoughts to facebook while we were in the airport; I share them here as well. 

Some initial thoughts from The Netherlands (in no particular order or import).
People here are tall (even the women- which is saying something coming from me!)
There seems to be less here in English than in Sweden- perhaps our field trips on the metro outside of Den Haag (The Hague) gave us this impression, but when we had to navigate after some sort of train shut down, it was a challenge. People do speak English and helped us figure out where to go next, but any official instructions were all in Dutch.
I'd like to explore The Hague more- 2 days in a conference was well worth it but doesn't help one get to know a place.
The Dutch seem to like cheese and sweets... both kinds of shops were everywhere at least in Amsterdam.
The van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum were quite impressive; we learned a lot. The NEMO (science museum) was a ton of fun.
We stayed on a boat "hostel" on night 1 in Amsterdam- ambiance was great but we're too old for thin walls and switched hotels on night 2. Quieter rooms = nice!
The smell of marijuana is everywhere in Amsterdam, as was cigarette smoke. More cigarettes than in Sweden by a lot.
Interesting to us, if you buy coffee in Sweden, you are more likely to get it in a real cup and expected to sit and drink it. In the Netherlands, even when you wanted to stay and eat or drink, all the coffee shops we went to provided disposable cups/plates/etc. Wondering what the difference in trash footprint might be.
The open space in Stockholm has surprised us, and the lack of any open space in Amsterdam was equally surprising.
bikes are everywhere. We weren't brave enough to rent them and spent a lot of time dodging them.
The Amsterdam flower market was awesome- though as much as I wanted to buy tulip bulbs, this is not the year for that.
The Book of Mormon was truly fantastic- well worth seeing. The Dutch audience seemed to appreciate it as well- a several minute standing ovation.
More thoughts coming soon on our blog, but a few thoughts to share now as we wait for our plane back to Stockholm (delayed 2+ hours... bummer).