Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Now this would make a great lantern...

Spotted at Amsterdam's most famous day market,(they told us this every time the tram passed by) with stalls lining both sides of the Albert Cuyp street. 

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Let there be light...

Travelling to and from Tours railway station for our trip to Amsterdam gave us the opportunity to view the completed roof works...

 ...quite a difference from these pics from earlier in the year.



Monday, 29 October 2012

Friday's post...and restoring my faith in human nature.

When in Amsterdam we visited the Van Gogh museum which has a new temporary home in the 'Hermitage' while work goes on in its original setting.

There are over 70 of his paintings on display as well as letters, drawings and objects relating to his search for his art, all of  which serve to give you a better understanding of the man behind the artist. Interestingly enough the other exhibition on display here until January 2013  is dedicated to the French 'Impressionists' with pieces by pioneers like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro on display plus Paul Cézanne's 'The Smoker' and Paul Gauguin's 'Woman with Fruit'.

Here is a link to their website.

It is presented as a timeline and explains the changing face of Paris as the impressionists evolve their style with a look back at their predecessors in the company of their contemporaries and eventually on to their successors...very interesting.

As we walked around the exhibitions there were a number of places to sit and view the works on display and at one of these I was careless enough to leave my hat (as 'featured' below) lying.

I retraced my steps with no success and asked if it had been handed in at the security, information and lost and found desks but no luck. One of the young men at security suggested I should leave my address and proceeded to right it out on a 'post it 'note, suggesting that it would only cost around €10 to return it to France should it be found. I would have to admit to a certain amount of scepticism re this outcome but thanked him for his assistance. The next day, as Pauline had gotten the opening times of a couple of 'Canal House Museums' we wanted to visit, wrong by an hour, we decided to pop back and try our luck again. There were different staff on and a quick check at the desks again proved fruitless plus there was no sign of the 'post-it' note. I resigned myself to the fact that my uncovered head would not reunited with my black 'Stetson' hat. 

Imagine my surprise when on Friday our post lady handed in a jiffy bag with my hat enclosed along with a note that read ;"Chér Mr. Craig, On a trouvé votre chapeau.C'est formidable! Encore une tete chaude!" and signed Dana & Freek. How kind were they? As I said restored my faith.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Church on Sunday... St. Nicholas, Amsterdam

Staying in Amsterdam with a visit to  St. Nicholas' (or St. Nicolaaskerk in Dutch) the 19th century Catholic church in the old centre district of the city.

Built in a 'Neo-Baroque' style it is rather imposing internally...

with your eyes being drawn in every direction...

before ultimately ending looking upwards to its wonderful dome.

The pulpit and the baptismal font of the church are quite extraordinary if not a little 'over the top'!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Upfront shop fronts...

Here are some shots of Amsterdam shop fronts which are self explanatory... prizes for guessing what this shop sells - Delftware on display...

...this shop wouldn't look out of place in Betz le Chateau, would have liked to have spent a long time in here looking at the iconic album sleeves - would that have made mean 'elpee'? The Banana is from 'The Velvet Underground and Nico' and is of course by Andy Warhol. 

Love the Dutch for longplayer - 'Langspeelplaat', that's probably why they use elpee!

You can just hear them after sampling this shops delights "We are the friend"

Smokers paradise?

Nothing to say about this pic....other than I was not sure what size to make it!

There are of course other shop fronts in this interesting city for 'window shopping' but I did not think it appropriate to take photographs. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

On your bike...

Bicycles are as you can imagine are  a big part of the Dutch transport system with no better example than in Amsterdam itself where you cannot avoid them!... 

...this one is either for a baby with very long legs or a very brave parent.

Left over from the sixties?

Bike on-board.

In the pink.

White write...with its newsprint chain guard.

 Now where did I leave my bike?

 Elegance on two wheels.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bridges & canals of Amsterdam...

 Here are some photographs of our Amsterdam trip...

We had a lot of fun with our pronunciation of place names!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

.A place to rest your head...

By the time we arrived at our hotel (10pm) in the museum quarter of Amsterdam we were a bit out of sorts after our travelling but we still managed to head into the city centre for a meal in a good little Italian restaurant   
before heading back to our charming little street.

Our room was small but we decided as we would not be spending a great deal of time in it, it would do...

...that was before we spent an uncomfortable night in a bed that we discovered had started life as a single bed and had been given a rather crude extension - they moved us to a much superior room after breakfast. 

In the top picture there are a couple of things to point out that we saw as very characteristic elements of the city. The protruding beam from the rooftop that aids furniture movements...

...and the ability of the locals to cycle and hold an umbrella.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Unexpected stop-over...

Just when we thought everything was going so well and went for another look at the departures board at Gare du Nord we were met by the news that first, our train was 21/2 hours late, then eventually that it was cancelled!

Sadly someone had chosen to end their lives by stepping in front of the train - it certainly put our troubles into perspective!

We were told that we could take the next train to Brussels where we could catch a train to finish our trip to Amsterdam. This solution meant that all the passengers from our train had to be accommodated in the Brussels train - not easy. We were told that it would be on a first come first served you can imagine the scene, We managed to get seated but all around us people were arriving to claim their previously reserved seats and there was quite a bit of reorganisation by the hard-pressed guards. We were lucky that we had picked seats that apparently had not been reserved previously.

We arrived at Brussels station where we headed for the Thalys help desk to see what options were available to us - she asked if we wanted to use the Intercity train that was just about to leave and when we said 'yes', stamped our tickets to allow us to do so.

So we got to see a little of the Belgium capital from the train window. Our decision proved not to be a good one as it took us another 3 hrs to reach Amsterdam! - but we did eventually...

11 hours after leaving Le Grand Pressigny!