Sunday, July 6, 2014

Amsterdam and anniversary

On the 4th, we arrived in Amsterdam, stored our bags at the station, and checked out the Van Gogh museum. The museum was maybe my favorite yet: I really felt that I got to see it all, and they had so so many Van Goghs. Of course, the museum was also very sad to me because of the battle with mental illness that Van Gogh faced and ultimately succumbed to at the age of 37, and also because he did not receive much recognition in his lifetime. However, I felt his art spoke to me a lot, and I felt inspired that despite his pain, he turned to creating for release and recovery. And that he painted what was beautiful to him: that he could see beauty even in such difficult times. After the museum, we checked into our air b&b place. A different arrangement because the host is also staying there. I was a little nervous about that, but he's very nice. 

Yesterday was our anniversary, so we headed out. First stop, Dutch pancakes--a cross between pancakes, crepes, and tortillas is the best way to describe them. Brendan's had bacon cooked in! Next stop to the Rijksmuseum (I know what you're thinking--we go to a lot of museums!) I loved this one because they had a lot of Rembrandts and a show called Art is Therapy with commentary that broght me close to tears. 

With Rembrandt's "The Jewish bride" they had: 
"A lover's gaze is more accurate than public opinion. The world does not easily recognize the reason why we deserve to be loved; we may be modest, only very average to look at, not especially distinguished; and yet, the need to be--in the eyes of someone--an object of beauty and tenderness cannot--must not--be denied." 
I thought that was a beautifiul thought for our first anniversary.
They also had dollhouses! Took so many pictures for Brendan's mom: 

We checked into a fancy hotel for the night. Here's our view: 
We have a little loft room, it's so cute! 
Last night, we went out for a nice dinner at Simpel. 
We exchanged gifts and both went with the traditional paper theme--love letters to each other, and Brendan got me a beautiful set of journals. I got him (shipped home) a 24x36 world map framed with an engraving. We can pin all of our destinations traveled to. 
The dinner was great until my main course--after only a few bites, I started feeling headachey, nauseous, and hot. Brendan finished and we left without dessert :( we came to the hotel and I was sick for the next 4 hours. I had linguine with clams, and we both believe I had shellfish poisoning. It wasn't the best way to end the anniversary, but luckily, I got a full nights rest and woke up feeling totally fine. I won't be eating shellfish for a long time though! 
Today, we plan to take a canal cruise...maybe get some more of those pancakes. 
Because of last nights experience, I can tell you that Gatorade ( called after activity drink) tastes better here. Also, Netherlands won their World Cup game, but thankfully we have a quiet room and saw fireworks but heard nothing (unlike in Belguim). 
Bikes are a big thing here and so is having to avoid getting run over constantly if you're's a little crazy: 2 lines of traffic and 2 bike lanes makes it almost impossible to cross a road! 

Anyway, I like Amsterdam so's going to be hard to compare all these cities later. We've now slept in 13 different beds...I do miss my cats, our families, and of course, the USA, especially on July 4th, but I do feel excited for the last 3.5 weeks of our trip (we're at the halfway point as of today). 

Lots of love from abroad! 
<3 S&B 

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