I’d not been too well earlier in the year and I’d promised myself that I’d visit the Van Gogh Museum before 2013 was through. We made it with a little under a month to go.
I’d bought tickets for the Van Gogh Museum online and after a great breakfast in the nearby ‘Small Talk’ cafe, spent several hours in awe of the work of this amazing artist. Something of a lump in the throat, too, as I looked at his last painting, left incomplete just before his death. But Amsterdam itself soon takes your mind off things – not least the glorious canal network that surely served the commercial advance of the Dutch in the past.
And then there’s the ubiquitous bicycle. Just watch the variety of locals who ride these at speed and you get a sense of a people comfortable in their own skin.
I wasn’t quite expecting to see so much colour everywhere but then we’d been lucky with the weather and Amsterdam was gearing up for Christmas. Even these ripped billboards seem to have an artistic life of their own. You can just see the Christmas decorations hung above the street below.
One part of Amsterdam that did leave a different sort of mark was the Anne Frank House.
But then there’s always a houseboat gently resting on a canal that’s never too far away to cheer you up.
This cosy and inviting residence almost seems to sum up the warmth of an Amsterdam welcome. I’ll be back.