Highbrae's Travels

Day 5 – Rijksmuseum, Waterloopein, Frites and NLD vs ARG

Our 5th day started with more rain, we had decided the day before that our first destination would be the Rijksmuseum and since it had recently reopened last year after a 10 year renovation would allow as much time as it required before making any other plans for the day. The only other definite agenda item would be to find a pub for 10pm in time to watch The Netherlands play Argentina in the World Cup Semi-Finals.

One significant difference with the Rijksmuseum, was their willingness to allow the taking of photographs as long as no flash was used. This means that we are not only able to share a few of the images that we enjoyed by Rembrandt, Vermeer and others, but we are able to share some of the wonderful construction and interior design that is the result of their 10 years of renovations. I don’t think it would be possible to take enough photos and certainly not upload enough to truly do this magnificent museum credit. As we found at the Van Gogh Museum, it was interesting how many people completely bypassed wonderful works of art, with an interest of proceeding directly to the great works. Certainly The Night Watch, The Wardens of the Amsterdam Drapers’ Guild, the Militia Company of District XI, the Milkmaid and so many others, while completely bypassing so many wonderful and unique pieces of art. Our 4 hours could have easily been an entire day and still not have really seen and appreciated the volume of work and the details that so many offered.

After leaving the Rijksmuseum, we decided it was time for some Belgian Frites. Remembering that we were in Amsterdam, these are not always easily come by. Many people don’t realize that not just any old french fries are true Belgian Frites. The first and most important difference is that true “Frites” are double cooked. After cooking at a lower temperature (usually around 320f) to ensure the inside is properly cooked, they are finished at a higher temperature (typically around 390f) for the last couple of minutes. After the hand cut frites have been perfectly cooked, they must have the ideal sauce, while there are any number of choices at a good frite stand, the standard is usually mayonnaise and any good frites, should be judged with this standard (IMHO).

On our way to Waterlooplein, with rain still drizzling we decided to make a stop at the Floating Flower Market, I found this disappointing compared to the market that I remember from our last visit in 1999. Looking back I have photos of Karen wandering around the stalls in this unique market filled to overflowing with flowers. Today most of the stalls seem to be filled to overflowing with gimmicky, touristy gift items, including tiled floors and fluorescent overhead lights some of the stalls looked more like Micheal’s stores than flower stalls on a canal in Amsterdam. After leaving the market, we head for Waterlooplein Flea Market, unfortunately, with the rain falling intermittently, many of the stalls at the market had started to close early and with the rain continuing to fall seemed to take the heart out bargain hunting, even for two intrepid bargain searchers such as Karen and Katie.

After leaving the Waterlooplein, we stopped by the apartment to deposit our packages and grab a quick bite to eat before heading back out in search of a pub with lots of oranje, large TV screens and cold beer. After some time on a tram, walking a few blocks we found the party waiting for us, with kickoff only a few minutes away, we got our chairs and beers at Café Lange Leo. Here we were made to feel completely at home as if we were regulars coming in for a regular club game. Although orange and enthusiasm was everywhere, it sadly was not enough to help the Netherlands defeat Argentina, who successfully used penalty shots to dominate the boys in Orange.

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