So, avid readers want to know wha'happo't'me from Friday to Monday; Simple Answer - We went to Amsterdam to meet up with our oldest Grandchild, the ever charming V. an avid artist/writer who is studying in London for a semester. (lucky for us!)
The highlight of my visit to the Netherlands this weekend was our visit to the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague, which despite my many trips to Holland, I'd never seen. Last week I read in Le Figaro about a special exhibition featuring Mark Rothko in the museum that houses more Mondrians than anywhere and was intrigued by the inter-relationship of the two. After being blown away by the Rothko's, I indulged in the Mondrians, but was absolutely knocked over by the permanent collection, which was unexpected. This place is a relatively undiscovered Art Deco treasure. 3+ WOWS.
Chronologically, we'd actually gone first to the Stedelijk (the modern art museum, forgotten in the cultural row of the Rijksmuseum, van Gogh and Concertgebouew) after which, having viewed the special exhibitions of Marlene Dumas and Bad Thoughts, which I thought not much of, I thoroughly enjoyed the permanent collection.
At this point I was pooped and V. & I retreated to our hotel, the welcoming but narrow-stepped and drunken Brit-infested Titus Hotel while Colette went to the Van Gogh. After 10 minutes of rest I went back to the Van Gogh. I was not blown away by the architecture(and the 2nd floor was closed!) but I was impressed by the new addition to the museum, blossoming outside - a sort of Disneyesque roller-coaster/Chinese Olympic bee-hive structure in the making.
Next up, the King or Queen of all museums in Amsterdam - the Rijksmuseum, whose collections we all know and before whose Rembrandts, Vermeers, Steens & Hals we bow down. I shouldn't have been surprised, but the Nightwatch is as crowded as the Mona Lisa is here. But I was surprised by the airplane on the 3rd floor with its appropriately surrounding modest collection of modern art. After enjoying the paintings, Colette visited the doll houses and took photos of the ship model for our grandson.
To top it off we went to the Rembrandt House/Museum in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in the Hague both of which my knees found unfriendly despite their lovely, terrific recent renovations.
So John, the food, what about the food? Ahhhhh.......
Well, first off, because we were staying at the Hotel Titus (named after Rembrandt's son which had the friendliest staff but steepest stairs possible) and while numerous friends gave us resto recs all over the city, we did what all dumb tourists do and I advise all on Chowhound France not to do, we ate around our hotel and the Leidseplein a block away; the highlights being:
- the Peking duck at the Taste of Culture (126.75E for 4)
- croissants and coffee at the dazzling Art Deco Cafe Americain (28.50 E for 3)
- counter lunch at La Place in the new Library (Openbare Bibliotheek) with most spectacular views of Amsterdam (8.90 E for me)
- dinner at the Royal Thai (116.10 E for 4) - good giant shrimp
- dinner at the Dosa South Indian Restaurant (99 E for 4); great mango chutney and giant shrimp
- breakfast in the Centraal Station Grand Cafe (26.60 E for 4)
- lunch at the Cafe Restaurant Schlemmer (46.65 E for 3) in the Hague
Not so great were:
- breakfast at the Satellite Sports Cafe (42.50 E for 4)
Most disappointing was:
- Sama Sebo's rijsttafel (79 E for 4)