Back to Holland for business. This time for a longer stay - around ten days. This resulted in having a Sunday on the first weekend, and then the entire next weekend, to hang out in Amsterdam. It was a lot of fun.

At the train station in Amsterdam.

This family was on their way home from somewhere and finishing up their math homework. The little boy was frustrated that he could not solve all of his sister's problems. (he was probably 5 and she was 9.) He got a fair number of them nonetheless.

Just coming out of the central station in Amsterdam. I put my luggage in a locker (that was cool) and was able to just stroll around. I wanted to just scope out the city, wander around, and see what it was like.

Amsterdam is a big city, so I have a map below to show you where I spent nearly all my time in the few days I was there. I was on foot the entire time, and got to do a lot of walking. Hold you mouse over the image below, and it'll highlight the areas where I was.

As you can see, it is laid out in a half-ring way, with lots of canals. As you'd expect, the canals add an element to everything that make it wonderful.

I arrived at about 9am. I left Austin around noon the day before. There is a 7 hour time change, so my body thought it was 2am. To give myself a little boost I stopped into a touristy looking restaurant along Damrak and had a coffee. They brew it very strong, and serve it in little cups. It's really good.

After finishing my coffee I strolled south on Damrak and headed towards Dam Square. I *think* this is the royal palace.

Notice how dark this photo is. Most of the pictures from this trip were hard to take because it was really sunny, and the light was really low. So the shadows were long, and the contrast was too much for my camera to handle. Roll your mouse over this and you can see how much the exposure changed when i refocused on the obelisk itself. I'm confident that I can merge these two images somehow to make it perfect, and doubly confident that I'm not going to take the time right now to do that.

I think this was the Lutheran church in town. It doesn't really look like one, but it's bigger than most other Lutheran churches I've seen. While their is a guy in the foreground with his luggage, the city was very low on tourists, which was nice. I really like being places with a minimum of other tourists.

A shot along one of the canals.

Another, with a water taxi going by.

One of the bike path areas. (Remember, people are nuts about bicycles in Holland.)

This was really neat - a store that sold only dental stuff, and they had a model ferris wheel in the window, and the seats were populated with little modified toothbrushes to seem like passengers. Very creative.

Having walked down to Leidsplein, I decided to get another coffee.

These guys were there. (Look at all the bikes parked outside.)

There was a guy running an errand who had parked his bike. (drool)

Off in the distance you can see two little peaks? That's the top of the Rijksmuseum - The national museum. It's undergoing some serious renovations, but they still had a bunch of Rembrandt stuff on display. I headed over that way.

There he is, as a young man, and an older man.

While waiting to cross, these three cruised by.

I paid my 10 euro entrance fee and went in. I also got the audio tour so I knew what the hell I was looking at. I know nothing about art, I just know I enjoy looking at non-religious paintings. Lorin has some art history training, so when we go to some European museum, she seems to know what most of the stuff is before I can lean over and read the little plaque. Without her, I needed the audio tour.

This painting is meant to capture the peak of the Dutch Empire - these guys are all wealthy merchants. There is a lot of stuff you can't see without being there, but the detail and way the fabrics were painted is mind-blowing.

This is an example of Delft Blue porcelain. When the Dutch merchants went to China they saw all the neat porcelain they were making over there. They brought the techniques and styles back to Holland. (I wonder if back then all the Chinese were bitching about cheap imitation Dutch Porcelain?) This is a FLOWER stand - if you look on the corners, you can see little nubs - those have holes in them, and they are meant for tulips to be put in there. I'll bet it looked cool with flowers in it.

This is a TERRIBLE photo, but I took it to remind myself to share this with you - these are wealthy merchants - they are wearing frilly collars that were a sign of high status back then. They are starched lace, and they were starched with wheat starch during a time of famine. People were going hungry, and these guys were using food to make their collars stiff. Each of these outfits costs the equivalent of about $13,000 in today's dollars!

This is the famous "Night Watch" painting. It's huge and has a bunch of stuff going on in it. I took a god-awful photo of it, so forgive me. Click the link and wikipedia will do a better job of educating you than I ever will...

This is the museum viewed from the other side, or the Museumplein.

Some big letters on Museumplein. "I Amsterdam" is the tourist slogan of the town. Appropriately, we tourists flock to the letters and photograph them.

Chess is really big in Amsterdam. (Get it?)

Another beemer.

Here comes the tram. Look how close it comes to the people. I have to believe that in America, this would last about five minutes. Someone would get run over, then sue the tram company into oblivion.


Keep in mind, this thing is ROLLING along. It's not parked, everyone just gives each other the right amount of space and keeps moving.

Some canal shots. (I was starting to long for Venice.)

Taking the ladies out for a row.

Another beemer, with more rowers in the background.

Check out this neat bike - you put the kids (or whatever - you see lots of delivery bikes like this) in the front wagon part of it.

It's very common to ride around side saddle on your friend's bike.

Another tram - note the reflection of the palace in the windshield.

Yet another beemer.

This stroller is way cool.

Ok, my Sunday was over, time to head down to Eindhoven for a long week of work.

Is this my train?

I was a little bit early... (Vertrek is "departs.")

Some new windmills...

An old one.

View of Eindhoven from my hotel room.

This is a big animation (1.8MB) but let it load - this is the LED covered Xmas tree that Philips set up in the square. The color changes...

They were projecting a funky pattern onto this old church. It was pretty neat.

Winter sports were popular - they had an ice-skating rink set up.

And a portable sledding run. This is probably the tallest hill in the Netherlands.

Ok, back to Amsterdam for the weekend...

The train station in the background.

A cat that I met.

This has been turned into a big shopping center. I didn't go in, but I heard it was nice.

Looking down one of the canals.

The Anne Frank House/Museum

Some dude. Looking up one of the canals towards that church that I thought was a Lutheran church.

Time for some more art. I was looking forward to this one.

Van Gogh.

This band was standing on the street and blasting out marching music.

That's it, thanks for looking.