Europe: Day 5 – Museum, Beer, Vittles and More

Greetings from the Heineken Experience

The Stedelijk Museum was first on the agenda, and it rocked. I was a little amused that the Marmot and I would gravitate toward the same pieces of art. And what a fun variety this place contained. So many good things, I’ll leave most of the detals to a gallery to be posted later.

Afterward, we found ourselves breaching the memo and hitting the Heineken Experience (Brewery Tour). Dang, this place was totally different than it was 10 years ago, and way more funner. Yeah, i said it. FUNNER.

Interactive exhibits. Rides of sorts (with disco lights no less). Great interior space design. Those kiosks where you can send photos and videos to friends (see above), and of course BEER. Well, three beers that is.

I think every museum should have kiosks to send internet pictures and videos, and beer.

Dinner that evening was spicier than J-Lo.

Then it was time for some relaxing downtime. I watched The Fugitive with Brian and threw caution to the wind after it was over. I went out to meet Brodie and Gus for one last night on the town and bumped into a friend of the BearsGoneWild to boot. It was a quiet night at the bars, but I much preferred it. Got to converse and drink.

3am came way too soon, no coffeehouses seemed open, so I headed home begrudgingly and found the 15 minute walk turn into an hour and a half street-wandering.

The weather was mild though, and I didn’t feel like a mark when i would take out my cruddy map to realize how much more lost I was.

Amsterdam is a fine place. Two thumbs up.

Europe: Day 4 – Sex Museum and the haircut from hell

S – E – X – X – Why?

Waking up, we’d every intention of following the travel itinerary (“the memo”) and hitting some museums. But I hadn’t a moment to get a trim before leaving the states and we passed this wonderful barbershop in the leather-district of Amsterdam.

So I bumble in and take my seat for what would turn out to the longest and most frustrating haircut I’ve ever had. Tiny Tina, my barber, will laugh once I tell her that i cheated on her with two fey leathermen from the Netherlands who fought over how much hair they could remove from my mug.

Blah blah blah. Language barriers aside. I walked out 2 hours later, pounds lighter it SEEMED.

Did we go to the Foam photography museum at this point? I have no idea. It was incredibly forgettable.

Met back up with Brodie and Gus for a tour of the Sex Museum. I have better porn than this place, though it was relatively amusing and cheap. They really should serve beer, it’d be much more accessible.

The only thing I remember from the rest of the evening is something about throwing a weiner down a hallway.

I think.

Europe: Day 3 – Spa, Netherbears, Rendezvous, Dinner

It’s a bit blurry now

I still felt “normal” at this point and well adjusted to the time zone. Sleeping in Sunday was natural and good.

Pratt, Brian and I decided to hit the Thermos Day Spa and it was disturbing. The mental image of folks peeping the top of their head around a corner to see if there was space in the hot-tub was comical. As was the rest of that place. I did however, find myself a barstool and beer. And since it wasn’t shoulder to shoulder, I could fill up those tiny little beer glasses a lot.

Leaving there, we went over to Le Shako to meet up with the Netherbears and rendezvous with Brodie and Gus. When we got there, the bar was relatively empty. So we secured a fine table in the side nook and soaked in the warm tiny atmosphere.

Little by little, the bar began to fill up with kind faces and the beer flowed. We delayed dinner for an hour as the spirits were mighty fine.

Dinner itself: another warm memory. The Hemelse Modder was supertasty. Potato soup, mushrooms and sprouts with wasabi sauce were my starters before some tasty sausage.

And the wine, was delicious.

Europe: Day 2 – Kröller-Müller Museum

Self-poortait

We got on a tram before i was awake, although strangely lucid and alert for a sleeping person. Then we got on a train. We took the train to a bus. And there we were, at the Kröller-Müller Museum.

I had been here before, but my memory, without aide of digital devices is sorely lacking. It was all new to me. (I don’t know what I was doing 3 years ago, let alone 10)

Touring the museum, leisurely (there was no crowd right when it opened), was quite nice. In between galleries, I sat and had a Fanta with Dan. I have always loved the non-sweet tickle of orange Fanta in Europe. Why on earth they sell the sugary crap-variant with the same name in the US, baffles me.

We regroup and wander the sculpture gardens. Quite idyllic, this place.

After some tasty sausage, potatoes, vegetables, applesauce, pickles and mustard (and more Fanta), it was off to the bikes to hit a tour of the Hunting Lodge.

The hunting lodge had one interesting combination of design details I thought was amusingly anal. The sideboard in the entryway had four legs that lined up with the tile pattern on the floor. How peculiar, these wealthy folk.

Leaving the lodge, we found two bikes missing, and the other group on the tour (a dozen perhaps) also found their bikes gone. We tried a few combinations of getting two fellers on one bike, with no success.

No mind, I walked with the Marmot and he pointed out trees and other details of the landscape I may have missed on wheels.

That evening, we hit bars and I frankly don’t remember much of them. Dark, smoky, crowded, and little beers.

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Europe: Day 1 – Getting to Amserdam and settling in

Canal at night

Sitting in the airport, CNN was wallpapered with video of lear-jets trying to snag Michael Jackson. It was eerily reminiscent of OJ and I was sickened by the nonsense. Good riddance America, I thought.

Having ’round the clock coverage on this topic on a major news outlet was simply embarrassing.

I sat next to a nurse stationed in Kuwait on the plane. He was an agreeable sort, with a mischievous grin. When no one sat in between us, he smiled and asked if I wanted the spare headphones left on the seat. “You wanna flip for em?” He said. “Naw, you take them.” I replied.

He went on to talk about how all his get ruined from the dust over there. He went on about how nice it was to be with his fiance during his RnR. How he’d have to go right back into work without any time to recuperate. How his superior would just say, “If you didn’t take a break, you wouldn’t feel jetlag.”

All this with that sly smile that longs for camaraderie. Some common ground and conversation.

I slept little if at all, as did he. We talked about everything but war and Michael Jackson.

Arriving in Amsterdam I found myself peeing on one of those flies in a urinal in no time. Unbeknown-st that the Marmot was following me around, waiting for me to spot him. Waiting for Brian to arrive, Mr. Pratt and I pondered getting him some tulips or balloons to welcome him, to no avail.

Once the group was collected and we got ourselves checked into the Golden Bear hotel (not too shabby I must say), it was off to do errands and eat and relax. Amsterdam was already a very different place than the city I held in my memory from a quick trip in 1994. It was nice.

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Off

Tickets, passport, underwear – check

Back in December, unless i figure out how to post photoshop files at some European internet café.

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Back in one piece

Pondering the Serra

Between the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis stands this spiral steel sculpture by Richard Serra. I was hesitant to like it, but once I wound through the metal walls and lost my sense of balance and felt the heat brush against me like a ghost, I decided it was nice.

I’m picky about big rusting pieces of metal guised as art. A junkyard is infinitely interesting. However, simplicity can be arresting and in this case, it works.

Like a donut, my weekend in St. Louis was tasty – bookended by a trip to Kansas City to see Art’s photography at an opening. Sadly, I’ve little time to recount as I hop on a plane for Amsterdam in t-minus 49 hours.

Work. Work. Clean. Pack. Woosh.

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