No question about it. We were avoiding northern Europe – but not because we don’t love it. Oh, we do, we do. We’d been traveling in southern Europe and Africa for the last three months. The expense of too many days in northern Europe would have sunk our round-the-world trip budget, but we had to make one exception: a visit to the Netherlands to see our friends.
Cat and René put together a plan for the perfect weekend just for us. On Saturday, we headed into Amsterdam with their sons, Bjorn and Kai, for a visit to the national treasure of the country, the Rijksmuseum, just reopened last year after a 10-year renovation.
We weren’t in a big hurry to get to the galleries of art, although we love art. So many details in the building itself claimed our time and attention.
We agreed to head for “The Night Watch,” painted by Rembrandt in 1642, probably the most famous painting in the museum’s collection. We were not alone. We waded through the crowd and got brief glimpses (the work is just too large at 3.6m X 4.4 m (11’11” x 14’4”) to take in without standing back some distance). Time to move on to see other great works with fewer viewers. Now we had the opportunity to snap photos of works both familiar and new to us, which we’ll be able to revisit more easily in our photo libraries.
The museum’s café offered a panoramic view of the courtyard and tasty Dutch fare.
Amsterdam weather called for a watchful eye on distant rain clouds as we strolled in the sculpture park at the end of the afternoon.
Kai hopped on a train to go back to the University and the rest of us drove home in the rain. A Saturday spent with friends at the Rijksmuseum was a brilliant day. Would the rain hold off for our Sunday plans?
…to be continued with “Will threatening skies stop us?”