Amsterdam Journal Day 3: Checks Yourself Before you Rijks Yourself

Rain! It was pouring this morning. Coming from the land of constant sun, we had no umbrellas and had to borrow one from the hotel. We walked to a little place called Omelegg, a rustic little bistro. Guess what they specialize in? I ate an omelette with Dutch spicy bacon (which it wasn’t), mushrooms and farmer’s cheese while 1920′s music played (“If you knew Susie like I know Susie…”) and Nick had a local dish called Shakira? Skapscrunch? Cap’n Crunch? (Shakshuka! I had to look it up.) It’s eggs in some kind of spicy tomato sauce.

Omelegg's rustic interior

An omelette and Nick's Shakalaka

After breakfast, Nick had to hang with the guys at Guerrilla Games so I caught a taxi to the Rijkmuseum (15 euros for a 2 mile ride! Geezus.) and on the way me and the cab driver got down to Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer.” Once again, I’m in a musical time warp. The driver told me two things: that it shouldn’t be raining in August, and he’s sick of almost hitting people on bikes playing Pokemon GO.

He dropped me at the Rijkmuseum - drove right up onto the sidewalk to let me out since the city was unwise and didn’t build a drop-off lane. It was still quiet at 9 am, and once again my early-birdness was rewarded. When I left a few hours later, the line wrapped around the inside and went right out the door.

Fools! That'll show you to sleep in.

The Rijksmuseum (pronounced “Wrecks-museum) is a great but overwhelming place. If you start out carefully examining every display, by the end you’ll be staggering past artistic masterpieces like one of the city’s highly medicated street musicians. I paced myself by focusing on my favorites–detailed Northern Renaissance portraits and medieval wooden sculptures. The latter can be pretty creepy, but you can’t help but bow down to the skill needed to make them. Oh, and speaking of creepy, they had some interesting reliquaries…

St. Thekla, the patron saint of googly eyes.

St. Vitus, patron saint of small washtubs.

St. Frederick, patron saint of metal headgear.

…and some hilarious paintings of the Virgin and Child.

Six-pack Jesus, I'm so far away without you.

Air quotes Jesus.

Jesus eating peanuts.

Aside from various images of Messianic hilarity, another unlooked-for benefit of visiting the museum was being exposed yet again to a visitor with horrendous body odor. This guy made the one from the day before smell like a metric foot-ton of lavender sachets. I swear, it was hard to see the artwork when this guy was in the room because his stench permeated galleries 20 by 20 foot with 12 foot ceilings. I did all I could to avoid him, but somehow he kept finding me and announcing his presence with the eye-watering sour smell of decay.

I needed a literal breather so I went to the park that sits between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum and had a mediocre latte from one of the little stands along the path. It’s a great place to people watch and pass the time if you don’t mind dive-bombing pigeons and being engulfed by pot smoke.

Not wanting a contact high, I went and stood in line at the MoCo (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) to see its inaugural Banksy/Warhol exhibit. The museum’s inside a gorgeous old villa and honestly, I was more impressed with the building than the art show. I like Warhol, but his work can be absorbed as quickly as a Campbell’s soup can (which I guess was his intention. Warhol was about surfaces, not depth.) and Banksy’s occasionally amusing, but makes ugly art. Ah well. Now I can say I’ve been there.

Still prefer Andy over Banksy.

Banksy takeover.

I wrapped up the museum marathon with the Design museum. As usual, the modern collection made me yawn, but the design side was pretty interesting, especially a special exhibit they have going now of the Amsterdam School. This was a creative movement from the 1920s that echoed the nouveau/arts and crafts movement I love so much. Lots of beautiful stained glass, organic furnishings, beautiful fluid textiles, etc.

Beautiful. 1920's bronze and wooden clocks.

Scary. Fake fur vagina coffin.

Three museums was all my phone could stand so I hoofed it back to the hotel on aching feet. The stupid GPS wouldn’t update in real time and believe me, I suffered before I finally ran into the hotel. At least I didn’t get into a taxi right around the corner from it and look like a weirdo like I did in Munich.

Stupid, high-maintenance Americans.

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