Friday, March 03, 2017

Amsterdam Cafes and Canal Cruises

July 17th, Amsterdam Cafes and Canal Cruises

Today is our last full day in Amsterdam. After another delicious hotel buffet breakfast we take the train into town. We disembark at our usual stop near the medieval district and pass through the Red Light district in the direction of the museums. One of the many ‘attractions’ of Amsterdam are the cafes and just as visiting the world class museums of Amsterdam has been on our bucket list, Art wishes to drink a cappuccino and smoke at one of the cafes before returning to the states. We eventually choose a tiny smoke filled cafe, order coffees and sit while Art relaxes into the experience. John and I will be the designated walkers.

Amsterdam Cafe
Stones Cafe Amsterdam

Visiting the Stedelijk museum is on today’s list. Although it too is a world class museum, it is not as popular with general tourists as the Van Gogh museum or the Rijksmuseum. There are no lines and we rent the audio guide which is poorly organized and far from intuitive. The highlight for us is the Amsterdam School of Art Nouveau collection. The Tuschinski Theatre that we visited yesterday is a fine example of this exuberant style of Dutch Art Nouveau.

Amsterdam School of Art Nouveau, Clocks
Amsterdam School Clock

Wall Sculpture

Amsterdam School Stained Glass Lighting

Claw detail, Amsterdam School

We read that this Dutch style emerged correlative to the Art Nouveau movement but this original style with with it’s angular shapes and lines, claw and visceral fang like elements feels more like Art Deco. Many of the pieces in the collection seem ‘Alien’ and I would not be surprised if the costume designers of the 1979 Alien and subsequent Predator movies were influenced by this bold Dutch Art Nouveau style. John takes time in an interactive art room to create his version of one of the clock faces. A modern art installation is in the basement of the museum.

Interactive art room,  Stedelijk Museum
John drawing his clock face

John and I still hope to make it to the Anne Frank House and we hop on a bus towards that section of town. It is late afternoon and we do not have tickets and the lines wind around several blocks but we are still hopeful that they will thin before 7:00 p.m; the closing time for the Anne Frank house. Unfortunately they do not and we aren't able to visit.

Art, John, bridge in Amsterdam

Afternoon drinks

We have reservations for a 9:00 P.M. canal boat tour and Art returns to the hotel to rest while John and I shop for a picnic dinner to take on the boat. We buy bread and cheese and two bottles of wine. We pass time at the tulip museum, enjoy a drink together and eventually it is time for our canal boat tour.

Canal boat tours

Amsterdam, near Anne Frank House

Our tour is with the Dam Boat Guys, recommended in our guide book as leading laid back, humorous and informative canal tours. Aside from the three of us, there are two other couples on our tour and they have not brought wine or a picnic. Our guide makes it pretty clear that he expects to share our wine and although he already seems rather well on the way to inebriation, we fill his glass several times over and wish that we had brought an extra bottle.

Dam Boat Guy drinking our wine and piloting the boat

Dam Boat Guy canal tour, Amsterdam

The canals glitter with reflected light and we throughly enjoy the nearly two hour tour, a lovely end to our four days in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam canals at night
Amsterdam canal at night