I left that Monday morning towards the capitol, taking a bus, the metro, and finally a train before getting there. It was supposed to take about two hours to make the trip, but I messed up on the metro and had a massive delay on the train. We were humming along when I heard a ‘wump wump wump’ after which the train made an emergency stop. Hmmmmmm….. I had bit more time to digest my breakfast.
Someone had picked this day and my train to end their life. This isn’t completely uncommon, but I hadn’t had this happen to me since being in Japan. We just sat there without any details while the police, paramedics, and fire station came to talk with the train staff and deal with the mess. We were told that the body was in about seven pieces, which is why they didn’t want us getting of the train. They did eventually back it up to station so that we could. With a morbid curiosity I peeked over at the scene, but there were plastic tarps covering the scattered pieces. And with that, we boarded another bus that took us to a different station so we could be on our way. This week was off to an interesting start. Walking from the train to the bus.
When I finally did arrive, I strolled over to the Van Gogh Museum. Of his 1000+ pieces of art, I think this museum had about 300 of them. This impressive collection was arranged as a gallery and also a museum, not only displaying his pieces but also using them to explain the history of his life and how his styles changed. I joined a free tour that explained some of this in greater detail. Here was a recognizable face, one of his many self portraits. (Narcissist??).
There were some other pieces of his that I recognized too, like his flowers in the vase. It is always fun to see in real life a piece of art that you know. They also had on display a piece that was just discovered as his. It fit into his later impressionist styles for which he is best known.
The most interesting thing that I learned was about how Japanese woodblock prints were a major source of inspiration for him. In Japan, the way that they displayed perspective was completely different from European methods and that was really interesting to him. Van Gogh spent most of his painting life mimicking other styles, and this is a good example of that. I never knew that there were Van Goghs that looked like this:
I walked away from the museum with a much better understanding of his influences and how his styles changed over then years. But not that many years, since he started late and after only 10ish years of activity died young. It was well worth the fairly steep cost of admission, though I have to rate it N0 Starry Night/10.
I had plans to meet up with Michael again for just one more night, but before heading down to Amstelveen I wanted to take advantage of the break in the clouds to take some pictures around town. I’m not an avid photographer, but given the chance to document somewhere under ideal conditions, ill take it. This was at the museum park.
Here was one more from the canals that I thought was pretty interesting. I would have expected something like this in Venice, since they didn’t seem to really use the canals for anything but touristic boat cruises.
After walking around just a but more, I rode down to Michael’s. His dad was the only one home, but the rest of the crew was supposed to be arriving shortly. Michael first, and when the older sister showed up we had a delicious noodle dish. I came across a lot of street art during my walk, and I thought that these two were among the best.
We spent the evening chatting about my trip and how I had found Europe thus far. Michael also showed me some of what he had been up to as a filmmaker lately, and that was pretty cool too. Everyone here had lives, so they get to sleep earlier. I had no reason to linger, so I was asleep soon after that
The next morning I had to rise a bit early and get myself to the airport. Incredibly, this marked the end of three full months on the road and also the end of Europe. My adventure was fantastic thus far, and saw more things than I ever thought I could in my lifetime. I felt as if I was getting a bit Europed out though and was ready for the drastic change of pace. I busted out my card to get a farewell Burger King breakfast, before I was on my way to South America!