Amsterdam

Our final day in Europe is finally upon us. We may be nearing the end of our trip but we have not lost an ounce of steam. We have one last city to see: the city of canals, Amsterdam.IMG_9811 We were able to hop on the first tour of the Van Gogh museum which was perfect because with each minute we spent in the museum, the flow of tourists flooding through the doors picked up. The Van Gough museum is not only an exhibit of the artists’ works, it is a chronology of his life shown through letters written between him and his brother which serve as an authentic testament of his personal struggles and how his art was shaped and changed through his journey and battle with depression. The first floor is dedicated to all of his self-portraits. IMG_9845aEach level depicts a different time in his life moving through his early years into the period when he resided in a mental institution when he created his last and greatest works. However, Starry Night an all-time favorite of mine—I remember learning about it in second grade art class— has found its’ home in the MoMA in NYC. I guess when I get home I will need to take the trip to see it! IMG_9846aAfter the Van Gogh museum we walked across the street to the Rijksmuseum, the largest and most visited art museum in the Netherlands.IMG_9858 The Rijksmuseum has a collection of over 1 million objects of art and history from the years 1200-2000, and only 8,000 of them are on display. IMG_9882aAfter four hours of looking at art, we were ready for something a little more lively so we walked to the flower market. All along the flower market were small cheese shops with an abundance of samples. IMG_9894 IMG_9896a IMG_9898After perusing around, and buying grandpa some Gouda, we asked a local shopkeeper for an authentic Dutch recommendation. This led us a few blocks down to Haesje Claes. We trusted our waiter and ordered exactly as he told us to: stamppotten and meat croquette with boiled ham. IMG_9916 IMG_9915After lunch we made our way to the 9 Streets for picturesque views of the city and allowed us to stumble into some great European boutique clothing stores! The day flew by and before we knew it, the sun was setting and it was time to make our way to the Ann Frank Huis for our tour. IMG_9836 IMG_9837After the tour mom and I decided to continue to wander, and after much convincing, allow ourselves to just get lost and explore. In no time we found ourselves amidst the Red Light District, long enough to realize it was time to make our way back home. IMG_9840a IMG_9842We ended the night in Leidseplein square watching the ice rink fill with new skaters and locals flood into the surrounding pubs for a Friday night out on the town.

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