Jim is not one for half measures. And Jim wanted to see the solar eclipse in totality – and without clouds. And see it we did, in totality, with a cloudless sky: Neither totality nor clear weather were the conditions where Jim is currently working, in NYC, or at our home, in Western Massachusetts, where I started the odyssey. And the weather where Jim had originally planned for us to watch was for clouds and rain. It took some rather extraordinary measures to find and get to a place with the correct conditions, a testament to Jim’s perseverance and also his skill at getting around in unfamiliar territory.
Our last day. We were in a quandary about what to do. We hadn’t shopped at all, hadn’t gone to the Resistance Museum or Het Schip, the Amsterdam School museum. Ten days just isn’t enough!
We went to out Waterlooplein Metro stop this morning, near the “Stopera”, combination state house and opera. Jim had read about this line in the sidewalk outlining the perimeter of an orphanage for Jewish children, which was emptied by the Nazis, all the children sent to camps. Another sobering reminder. When we were in Paris in 2007, there were many plaques showing where people had been killed during the war. While sad and disturbing, it is good to see these kinds of commemorations and reminders.
We spent from 10:00 to 3:30 at the Van Gogh Museum. It is very nicely laid out, with his work going chonologically. There were sufficient descriptions, but not too many. What’s really lovely is that no photography is allowed (and we saw only two people taking illegal pictures). So there are people listening to their audio tours who will stand in a prime viewing spot for a painting for what seems way too long, but no jockeying for position for the best angle to take a photo, no selfie sticks, and while it was crowded, not nearly as crowded as New York museums seem to be without exception all the time now.
We took the train to Utrecht, only about a half hour away. There were several windmills along the train route, and cows and sheep. The animals are not fenced in. They seem to stay in their fields because of small canals bordering the fields, although I think I might have seen an electric fence along one of the bordering canals.
We didn’t hurry this morning, but got out about noon. (It’s wonderful but also exhausting taking in so much all day!) It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we decided to do a lot of walking. We started out towards the Oude Kirk (Old Church).
We went straight to the the Rijksmuseum this morning. We had barely scratched the surface when we went before. We went back to the “Gallery of Honor”, where they have the Vermeers and some of the Rembrandts, with others as well. Then we went all the way around the entire floor, which was of the Vermeer and Rembrandt era, with another room with some really exquisite Rembrandts. Also, there is a still life painter, Coorte, for which they make tote bags and mugs and coasters in the bookshop, but no books or postcards but one exist. The one book on him had only postage-stamp-sized pictures of his paintings, but all kinds of pictures of him, where he lived, etc. I checked on Amazon. No books on him in print. They had one magnificent Heda in the Gallery of Honor. I wish they had more of his work.
We got up early today to get the tram to the station to take the train to The Hague (Der Haag). We took The Hague tram to the “Peace Palace”, housing the court of international arbitration and the court of international justice.
I especially like the black houses that we see as we walk around. We saw this one on our way to the Rijksmuseum. There are so many lovely views over canals. It is just gorgeous almost everywhere we go.