Day 11. Amsterdam. Tuesday 27 September

The 100 Highlights of Amsterdam Canal Cruise was a great way to spend an evening in beautiful Amsterdam. We embarked on our cruise at 9.30pm last night and it was a beautiful way to explore the city. The mansions along the Golden Bend were opulent and luxurious. As voyeuristic as it sounds, looking in the windows was a lesson in design and interior decoration. It occurred to me that the reason I could see in the windows is that no-one as curtains. Very rare in Amsterdam. Obviously their heating systems do not rely on the insulation that window coverings offer. The other thing that amazed me was the guy who fell asleep on the cruise, woke up and took 2 photos and then went back to sleep. The cruise was a great reminder of just how unique this city is.

This morning we decided to beat the queues and head directly to the Rijksmuseum. The museum is renovating so they have crammed alot into a small area. The museum is a enlightening look into Dutch history. Paitings, relics, Delft, furniture. Such craftsmanship. The museum describes Dutch imperialism really well and sets out it display in chronological order. Some of the highlights for me were the Vermeer’s and the Rembrandts. They don’t call them the Dutch masters for nothing. Their experimentation with light and movement in oil transfixes the viewer. My favourite painting was Vermeer’s The Milk Maid. His use of light on the bread rolls is created by using white paint in a dot formation. Beautiful.

We hung around Museum square and took some photos with the I amsterdam sign. Popular photo location. The Vondelpark was beckoning us so we rented the red Mac Bikes and went for a ride through the Vondelpark. A stunning space beautifully designed. A shining example of a park. Of course it was time for an emergency waffle and then back for a rest. Dinner was at a local Amsterdam cafe Stoop & Stoop. Walk through the streets and then back home for bed. I have loved my time in Amsterdam. I have been here before and this visit has been different in so many ways. It is a reminder about what is possible when society opens their minds to truly show love, diversity and acceptance. It is a unique place that allows each person to be who they are and who they want to be.

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