My take on Amsterdam is drastically different from my husband’s. He thinks it ugly, I adore it and find it beautiful.
Amsterdam does not possess the beauty of Italy or France: there are no places like Italy and France, but Amsterdam is beautiful in its own unique way. Well no, it’s not beautiful – it’s handsome. It’s definitely masculine. This city is no “she”, it’s a “he”. There is nothing frilly about him. Even though his gabled houses are more akin to doll house than to actual dwellings inhabited by humans, they are painted dark colors or made of brick. The architecture is distinctly Dutch and I love its uniqueness. But what really stole my heart was his canals.
Maybe, it’s visceral memories of my Saint Petersburg’s childhood, but I just melt at the sight of these canals!
I also love Amsterdam’s hidden courtyards, of which we visited one today, the most famous among them, Begijhof. I also love the slow onset of dusk, which blankets everything with translucent, slightly opalescent light, erasing imperfections from the buildings and people alike and honing in on their beauty.
I love the energy, design shops and art galleries, Dutch pancakes and Dutch masters.
Not so much food here and not so much contemporary Dutch artists.
We went to the Stedelejk Museum today and were a bit underwhelmed. In addition to the few well established impressionists and post impressionist, it exhibits modern art, which, in my (and clearly highly personal) opinion conveys no beauty, no form, not even angst – just a shock value. Oddly, on display there were Rosenthal dishes I use for the not-so-fine dining in my kitchen and several old children’s books in Russian, same as the ones collecting dust in my basement.
We had another miss today – went to a free lunchtime concert at the Opera House, searched the opera house in vain, were told to get into a long line for tickets, stood in line for half an hour with other hapless tourists waiting for Godot, until a kind Dutch soul checked the Dutch-language website only to find out that the free lunchtime concerts start next week :-((
On a positive note, the weather was great and we walked around a lot.
Also, our hotel is cool, funky, and artsy, and offers free cookies in the library, which are delicious!.


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