Friday, April 27, 2012

I AMsterdam [Part 2]

After a long bus ride from London back to Amsterdam, we arrived to the Flying Pig two hours earlier than we planned. Instead of arriving at 9:30 am, when the boys were expecting us, we arrived at 7:30 am. Luckily, the guy at the Flying Pig desk was a sweetheart and let us sit in the coffee shop area until LA & GA woke up. We snuck upstairs after a couple hours of waiting and took turns taking showers. We got ready relatively leisurely. The guys were feeling super sick, both LA and GA-- all 5 of us have finally fallen prey to the illness-- so the guys stayed behind. However, all 5 of us did go out for breakfast at an Irish pub and Kelsey and I split a "traditional Irish breakfast" of toast, sausage, fried egg, and black and white pudding. After breakfast, the guys headed back to the hostel and Kelsey, Stephanie, and I all headed over to the Van Gogh Museum. On the walk, we stopped at grabbed waffles which I was not expecting to be as positively delicious as it was. I think they put chunks of sugar inside of the batter so when they cook it, it has pockets of extra sweetness. It's either that or some sort of magical ingredient that makes it the best waffle I've ever had in my life.

I mean, just look at how happy I look? Kelsey talked me into buying some fashion glasses in London so you get to preview my new look in the above photo too.

Anyways, we went to the Van Gogh museum and I was blown away. I was expecting to see just Van Gogh paintings and only Van Gogh paintings, but no, there was a huge collection of other artist's work as well. I got to see Gauguin, Monet, Manet, Toulouse Latrec,  Cezanne, etc, etc! It was incredible. I just took an exam a few weeks ago on these exact paintings that I'm standing face to face, inches from! It's just so cool to be that close to such famous works of art that I have studied the ins and outs of! 

The coolest thing about the Van Gogh paintings themselves was truly being so close to them. I have always appreciated Van Gogh's art, who doesn't love and adore starry night? However, one of the most  amazing aspects of Van Gogh's paintings are the texture of them. His paint is so thick that almost creates a relief out of the canvas. He has a choppy, quick brushstroke that provides swirling movement to his work. He didn't always paint like he painted in Starry Night or with the Sunflowers, he painted with the classical, styles as well, portraying things realistically. It was amazing to walk from room to room to see his style change and develop. Wow, just wow. It was very humbling to see his progress and how he finally settled in his own unique style. He painted reality in his own special way, with his own sense of rhythm and flow. He used rich, thick colors that celebrated his surroundings and nature itself. The best thing was seeing the surface made out of color, they are more than just paintings, they are thick and textured and complex. To me, it was as beautiful as seeing the Trevi fountain in Rome. 

I saw most his his famous works of art, the skeleton smoking a cigar, the irisis, the sunflowers, the night cafe, his vineyards, etc etc. However, I didn't get to see Starry night. It is housed in NY and I was seriously bummed that I didn't get to see it. But now I have one more reason to visit NY... I need to get myself out there. Traveling Europe has reminded me just how little of the United States I've seen. People I meet at hostels or around the foreign cities, will say! Oh I've been to the States once, I went to Florida, have you ever been there? It's embarrassing when I answer "No, I haven't." But here I am all the way in Holland? I need to see more of the states, I've never even been to the south at all. Unless you want to count Arizona, but that barely counts. The only states I've been to are: California, Oregon, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Illinois. That's 13 states for you. That's not super pathetic, but it's not impressive either. I have friends who go to school in or who live in almost every state, I need to go visit them. I just made my class schedule for Fall 2012 back at University of Iowa and I only have classes Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday so that means 5 day weekends! And that means plenty of time to pop over to Delaware to visit Dana or up to Boston to visit Kelsey and Steph or down to New Orleans to visit Lauren. This needs to happen. Anyways, I digress.

The rest of the afternoon we spent wandering.. we met up with the guys much later and then we caught our flight to Prague. 

One sad fact is that my boots I brought here from America, my boots that I have worn almost every single day so far in Greece died. (Luckily, I bought 4 new pairs of shoes in London so I was ready to make the change.) My boots had been ripping and tearing and it was no bueno, but the sole of the shoe finally cracked and every step I took felt like I was stepping on a nail, so they had to be trashed. Let me just show you up close and personal the wear and tear my boots had suffered. They lived a good life, a long life, but it was time they were finally put to rest. 

We're all off to Prague now, minus my trusty ol' boots...  So here we go!

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