So, good morning, Amsterdam! Today I made it to the city center in 20 minutes and not 40, which I consider a mega-achievement. I decided to have breakfast in town and to try out the TripAdvisor services to pick the best spot.
Yesterday Foursquare helped me discover a great burger place – Burgermeester, where I got a monthly special with kangaroo meat. Yum yum. And today I’ve got two places on my menu: Omelegg, a cafe specializing in omelets of all kinds, and Lombardo’s, which takes #1 in all-Amsterdam ratings. So far, TripAdvisor didn’t let me down: the omelet was delicious and the portion was huge. I figured I was craving new tastes and new dishes, and as thanks to Xintian’a classmates I had a free transport and a free museum pass, I could only spend money on good food. My goal now is to embrace the deliciousness and try to save some to take a box of Puccini Bomboni home. No, a city where you can use a bike as the main means of transport is awesome. When it’s not raining, for sure.
I’m very mad at myself. If I knew everything was so close here, I would’ve done a fantastic bike tour. I would’ve gone to Utrecht, then Rotterdam through Gouda, and Hague, and Leiden, and then through that tuilp park to Haarlem, and back to Amsterdam. Damn it.
Evening! The Universe must be reading my thoughts: got contacted by a guy from CS who does an anthropology coursework and wants to interview me. He’s also from Utrecht and up to biking there from Amsterdam together! Let’s see if that works out. I totally feel like going to Utrecht.
Spent the day museuming – hey, that’s a new word, just fit for me! First the grandeur Rijksmuseum – a huge collection of everything, especially notable for the great examples of Dutch life from different centuries, Rembrandt’s Night Watch (and many beautiful portraits) and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, which struck me with simplicity that also was full of complexity. I love paintings that make you think, analyze what story brought the characters to that very moment, and what will follow. With the Milkmaid, I would say that she’s finishing to pour milk into the bowl: the pot is lower than it would be needed to fill a bowl, and the stream of liquid is very thin. Then, why would she pour milk in a bowl and not a glass? There are pieces of bread on the table. Most likely, the bread is put in the milk, and that makes someone’s day meal. If you go to wikipedia though, the experts would tell you that the woman’s making a bread pudding, and that there are lots of allusions on desire and sexuality in the painting. People and their dirty minds! Right?
Or that other painting, where the children are “teaching the cat to dance”, by Jan Steen. The cat is in distress, held by a boy on her bottom paws; but, knowing cats, I can tell that in a few moments someone will get scratched. The girl plays a pipe; all of them are obviously bored to death if they decided upon such mischief. The old man popping out of the window and a look of irritation on his face suggest that the children will get scolded perhaps even faster than the cat decides to scratch.
The absence of a story is the reason why I’m not a huge fan of landscapes, with an exclusion for Turner, Monet and Van Gogh. But those guys are sacred. I would say that for me, Monet painted with the colors of the soul; Van Gogh painted with the colors of imagination; and Turner painted with the colors of inner awakening. I also love Chagall, who painted with the colors of dreams, and that would make my top four. Plus late Dufy, who is perfect in his simplicity.
Isn’t art a way to communicate someone elses’ reality? Like music, like film, like conversation, like love? I feel like the world is made of human attempts to communicate themselves to the world, succeeding and failing.
I walked into the modern art museum, Stedelijk. It was the only one open until late evening, as all museums in Amsterdam usually close at five, except for sex and weed museums. I have a complex relationship with modern art if it’s not impressionism or certain forms of surrealism. Stedelijk blew my mind with crazy objects of art, some being clear as ice, some making no sense at all. They may say that “modern art isn’t for everyone”, and I’d prefer just not to make judgements on that. But if I’m in a white room where two opposite walls are black… Please don’t tell me the story about time and space and the universe. I swear, it’s just the contrast of black and white! And a black square in a frame will just be a black square in the frame (and an original trolling concept).
Fortunately for me, there still were some classics from the early 20th century, including Picasso and Monet, as well as Pollock, Rothko and Warhol, who are more about the concept than sense, but it’s okay. I still like them. And can’t but mention the crazy exhibit where you walk into a tiny saloon, full of realistic objects and noises, only that the people have clocks instead of heads, all of them showing quarter past ten…
I finished my day at Lombardo’s, all as planned. They indeed have good burgers, though my mind wasn’t blown. Tastes differ, I guess. Night.