#5 Thessaloniki, Greece, May 31, 2019

I photographed our apartment Saturday, and then we walked a different way to the store to explore the neighborhood more fully. It’s called ‘Ano Poli’ meaning ‘Old Town.’ It’s quite charming and pleasant, although does have quite a bit of graffiti—-it is said that many ‘leftists’ live here.

When we got home, Burt got busy cooking octopus. He tried a new method (from what he used in Sicily) which involved ‘seething’ them—-they are put in a covered pan over very low heat with two tablespoons of water. Reddish colored juice comes out (which is discarded) and they are tender in a half hour, ready to spice and eat cold as a salad.

The following day it was our intent to visit the Jewish Museum. The Jews in Thessaloniki have an interesting history. They were the Sephardic (meaning Spanish) Jews that got kicked out of Spain in 1492. Many came here to settle and became one-third of the population, along with Christians and Muslims, who lived together peaceably until the 1940s and World War II.  There is a large Jewish Museum that sounds very interesting.

Unfortunately, that day was election day—-both state and local, and so the museum was closed. So we moved on to a Turkish (Muslim) site, called Bey Hamam. It is the oldest Turkish bath in Thess, built in 1444. And unfortunately IT was also closed as it was completely under reconstruction.

And that’s not all. When we bought croissants the other day for our breakfasts, we mistakenly got them with chocolate in the middle, not our favorite, at all! So that morning we decided that we would walk up to ‘our area’ where there is a bakery that makes the BEST croissants, and buy some for the next couple of days. We would get them put in a box, and Burt would put them in his carry bag, which we would then carry to see the two sites that we intended to see. Well, bakeries are NOT open on Sundays, which this was, and so NO CROISSANTS!

Defeated, we taxied home and consoled ourselves with gin and tonics on our balcony, in beautiful weather, watching wonderful balloon-like sailboats on our bay!

 

Since no museums are open on Monday, we hung out at home——watched BBC and DW, the two English channels on TV (you do get a different picture of the European news than we get at home), walked up to the supermarket and bought some pork, which Burt cooked lovingly with potatoes and onions, had our gin and tonics on the balcony and then watched “Suits” on Burt’s computer (Netflix) in the evening.

Tuesday was our last sight-seeing day (we reserved Wednesday for organizing and packing) so we made quite a big day of it. We started with the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, a beautiful building built especially for this collection. The building was
the best part of the display; although we enjoyed the contemporary art, also. There
was a special sculpture in the courtyard called “Umbrellas” by Zongolopoulos.

 

 

 

 

From there we looked in on the Church of Panagia Chalkeon, a red brick church from 1023, although it was closed. Still, the exterior was quite stunning.

Then, we finally got to the Jewish Museum, a beautiful villa, nicely preserved.

There were gravestones from a cemetery on the first floor, and a timeline on the 2nd floor that was very interesting. Still, the most interesting thing about this museum was the security. The door was locked and we were let in by a very muscular man, who kind of ‘looked us over.’ There was a police kiosk outside of the front door; the ticket seller was less than cordial. There were no photos allowed.  Apparently there is again some anti-Semitism going on, and they must be careful.

The history was interesting—-Jews first came to Thess in 315 BC, with another wave coming from Spain in 1492.  Then in 1943, 49,000 of them were sent on cattle trains to Auschwitz by the Nazis to be exterminated. Many locals seized their property.  In the museum there was a memorial wall patterned on the one in Washington DC for Vietnam vets that listed all the names of the exterminated Jews from Thess in 1943. What a sad museum.

After we had a lovely Greek meal in a restaurant across the street—-fish soup—- and then taxied home.

 

 

Our last day in Thessaloniki we took it easy, enjoying the perfect weather and the lovely view. Around 1:00 we meandered down to a nearby restaurant (Brusco’s) and had a delicious meal.

 

We had fried goat cheese with macadamia nuts and sesame seeds, sausages, and lamb meatballs, all three dishes with lovely sauces. Yes, lots of protein, but a few greens, too, and each a draft beer. What a lovely walk in the sun, both going and coming—-
back home to organize and pack.

The next morning we had a bit of breakfast, finished putting the apartment to bed and then Kon came to see us off in the taxi that he had arranged.

We flew to Amsterdam, staying overnight again in that peculiar hotel; then flew home the next day, where we are now. It was a lovely trip——we really enjoyed Thessaloniki. Roger and out——

Carol and Burt

Posted in 2019, Thessaloniki, Greece | Leave a comment

#4 Thessaloniki, Greece, May 24, 2019

Saturday was one of those excursions that didn’t quite jell. I had put the English name of the museum into ‘Google Translate’ so I had the Greek version of the name, also, but when I showed it to the taxi driver, he used his GPS and took us to a different place—-it turns out that they have three museums with similar names. We were looking for the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, but got something else. And there wasn’t much to see—-but at least there was free admission that day. There was one mildly interesting thing—-it used lipstick tubes plus magnets plus little metal BBs, and when approached, it went into action and made a noise with the BBs rattling around. OK!

While we were in that area we noticed there was a “Young Photographer’s Museum” so we stopped in for a look. That was much more interesting. There seemed to be a female perspective on many of the photos. One was of wedding dresses but the brides were wearing masks, denoting the roles women play in marriage.

There were some stunning photos, but we both ran out of gas about then, and decided to go to the Modiano Market and buy some food for Burt to use for our linner, which we did, and then taxied home.

Sunday was mostly devoted to cooking—-a small leg of lamb, along with potatoes, zucchini, and a salad. We also spent at least an hour trying to order theatre tickets in Minneapolis for a play in June about my hero, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, a 16th C. nun in Mexico. Why is that so difficult for us oldsters? Anyway, we finally got them ordered.

Later in the day we walked up to ‘our area’ but the supermarket was closed, this being Sunday. We did buy some gelato to take home to our freezer——to eat sparingly.

Monday we taxied to the most well-known landmark in Thessaloniki, the White Tower. It
was built in the 15th C. but got its name because in the 19th C. it was white-washed to get rid of bloodstains (real or symbolic?) from The Turks killing young men that they deemed traitorous.

We walked along the seawall, stopping for a cappuccino freddo (frosted). We also came to a ‘Nut Emporium.’

It was selling all kinds of nuts and dried fruit—-the things looked delicious, although we didn’t buy any.

 

 

 

 

We eventually wound up at a special pizza restaurant that Burt had researched on the Internet. That tasted really good, along with a draft beer.

 

 

One of the things that we see in this town, are people on powered, rented scooters. I guess they’re getting popular all over the world.

By the way, Thessaloniki is often spelled in English as ‘Salonica’ so if your map is labeled like that, yes, that’s the same place as Thessaloniki, where we are.

 

A leisurely walk up past ‘our area’ took us along the old walls of the city and past the Trigurion Tower, a 15th C. part of the fortifications. It was a beautiful day with blue sky and perfect temperature. We did a little grocery shopping and when we got home, enjoyed our balcony.

One beautiful day followed another so we took a little harbor cruise on the Arrabella (does that sound Greek to you?) The captain was colorful, and took us around to see the Port and Aristotelous Square, among other points of interest.

We had a close up look at Mt. Olympus, too, which has shown off her snow-cap beautifully during the last few days.

 

 

On the way home we stopped at a big bookstore so Burt could buy yet another book on Greek Cookery, although this one was really special.

 

 

 

Our big excursion yesterday was strenuous and only mildly rewarding. We taxied to the Church of St. Dimitrios for openers. St. Dimitrios was an early Christian, who was killed in a Roman Bath by Galerius in 303 AD for his faith. He became a martyr and they built a church on the site in the 5th C. In the 7th C. they replaced it with a bigger church, which is the one we visited.

 

It was kind of a ‘plain Jane’ church after seeing such fancy ones that were newer.
St. Dimitrios’ ashes were in a reliquary, (the silver round thing) which was well-visited by the people worshiping in church. The churches are all visited by many local people.

We went down to the Krypt which had some ruins of the old Roman bath where he was killed. Old stones, these——.

Moving on, we tried to use my iPhone with its GPS to walk to our next church, the Church of Acheiropoitos. We had some trouble making it work, but asked several shopkeepers for directions and found it after about 8 blocks of walking.

It was an even plainer-Jane.

 

 

 

 

It had various levels of the old floors preserved under glass walks.

It also had the original columns and capitals with 8th C. mosaics between them.

When the Turks captured the city in the 15th C. it was the first church to be turned into a mosque.

Moving on, we did successfully use my GPS to walk to the Church of Agia Sofia. This one was built in the 7th C. supposedly as a copy of the one in Constantinople (Istanbul). I’ve seen that church more than once, and believe me, it doesn’t resemble it at all! OK, it does have a dome with murals of the Ascension of Christ, but this dome is pitifully small in comparison and held together with braces. Still, the mosaics are awfully old—-8th to 11th C. It, too, was converted into a mosque in 1523. Then converted back to Christian worship in 1912.

 

Still, it was fun to see these
‘old rocks’ (as Burt calls them) with their traditions. They had many-priced candles to light here—-you could certainly have a choice!

 

 

After the churches, we walked to the Modiano Market and bought some octopus, eel, veggies, fruit (their cherries are delicious) and coffee, then taxied home.

We’re still loving Thess—-not so many days left, now.

Carol and Burt

Posted in 2019, Thessaloniki, Greece | Leave a comment

#3 Thessaloniki, Greece, May 17, 2019

Saturday we visited the Museum of Byzantine Culture—-what a beauty. It was built new in ’94 and had nice display areas, as well as things to be displayed. Mosaic floors and amphorae for oil and wine were fun to see from the early years—-about the 3th C.

 

4th C. decorated tombs were removed whole to this museum; they also contained jewelry,
of course.

And then the wonderful icons. Years ago Burt knew a nun at St. Scholastica in Duluth, who made icons like these in the Byzantine style.

We were planning on visiting another museum, too, but we found that this was enough for that day, and taxied home. Burt cooked skate (fish) for our dinner, after a cocktail hour on our balcony in perfect, sunshiny weather of 78°, as we gazed out at Mt. Olympus—-home of the gods.

 

As we were enjoying our cocktails, there was the loud sound of urgent sirens; a bit later Burt spotted a fire near our apartment.

 

First it blew white smoke, then black, then white again, as the fire was put out. It reminded us of Thessaloniki’s history—-they had a horrible fire in 1917 that burned a third of the city!

It turns out that there is an awful to see in this city. There is a book in the apartment that spells out seven walks, in addition to the one we already have from the Lonely Planet. We had the taxi drop us at Aristotelous Square, pronounced by the taxi driver when he eventually understood me with the emphasis on the ‘tel’ part. (Everything here has the emphasis where you’re not expecting it.) It’s a gorgeous long square (about 3 blocks) built after the 1917 fire. At night we can see all the lights from our apartment. There is a statue in the Square of, guess who? His toe needs to be touched for good luck, apparently. Or maybe that will make me smart?

 

We visited a church by the taxi drop—-it seemed new, rather than archaic, but since there was not one word of English, we couldn’t figure out the name or the details. Still, it was over the top beautiful.

Further on our walk, we saw an orange tree, right on the street, with only oranges at the top of the tree—-clearly the lower ones had been picked off!

 

 

 

 

 

We did detour into the Ladadiki neighborhood, though, which had many pretty streets, along with it’s many nightclubs.

 

Tuesday we walked up to ‘our area’ again, shopping at our supermarket. We also peeked in the church there
—Agii Anargyri. This appears to be quite new, but beautiful, like they all are, with beautiful murals.

For dinner Burt made gemista, which are hollowed out veggies (tomato, zucchini, onion, etc) then stuffed with meat, rice, tomato and the veggie innards.

The next day we went far afield (way out in the northern suburbs) to see the State Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in the Lazariston Monastery. This is the Costakis Collection of Russian Art, saved by Costakis, who worked as a driver in Moscow in the early 1900’s. He was untrained artistically but ‘had a good eye’ and rescued 1800 pieces that would have been trashed by the Soviets. The whole thing reminded me of the Savitsky Museum in Uzbekestan—-same idea, rescuing wonderful art from the early 20th century from the Stalinists. However, these were generally small paintings on cardboard unlike the Savitsky that contained many large canvasses.

Afterwards we stopped across the street for a Greek coffee, which is always served with a small cookie. I was going to ask the waiter to take our picture, but he was too busy, so I had to put the camera on the next table—-. There were two young men sitting near us monkeying with worry beads.

We had a picture-perfect day, weather-wise and enjoyed our balcony when we got home.

Burt made wonderful pork souvlaki and beet-greens salad for ‘linner.’

Thursday rain was predicted but Burt and I kept it away by bringing our umbrellas!

 

We taxied downtown and looked at a variety of sites, including the Arch of Galerius, built in 300 AD, celebrating Galerius’ victory over the Persians. There are carvings on it that show his victories.

From there to the Rotunda, also built in 300 AD as a temple or a mausoleum—-they know not for what. However, it was turned into a Christian Church in the 5th C. and then into a mosque in the 16th C when a minaret was built to call the Muslims to worship. Inside there are mosaics from the Christian era—-5th C.

When I was here nine years ago, I stayed in a hostel a few feet from here. I had my breakfast each morning on the terrace overlooking the Rotunda! Sure enough, today we found the same hostel, still here. It was called “Rent Rooms Thessaloniki.”

 

We visited the Roman Forum, a block-square area all excavated from Roman times. It is complete with a restored Odeon (theatre) that they use currently.

By now we were hungry and walked to a restaurant that Burt had found on the internet. It seemed like a ‘down home’ restaurant with authentic Greek cooking. It was called Tsarouchas, which I had put in my GPS on my phone. Well, they’re not always exactly right, and we nearly went past it but Burt recognized the restaurant from pictures on the internet, and sure enough, it was Tsarouchas. My GPS said we had another block to go!

 

We shared Moussaka, Russian Salad, Tripe Soup and Artichokes. Then we walked up to a busy street and hailed a taxi to go home.

A lovely and non-rainy day!

 

We’re taking the day off today since we ‘worked so hard’ yesterday, doing all that walking. It’s a beautiful day, so I’m doing two loads of laundry. We hang it on our second balcony, which is off my bedroom.

Last night I photoed Aristotelous Square, which was really humming with a Street Food Fest, which we had seen advertised when we were there. There was loud music emanating from the square, which kind of disturbed our time on the balcony just at dusk.

It’s fun to watch the continually changing scene of the big ships anchored out in the harbor. We have seen between four and 12 at any one time. Of course at night we see them lit up.

When we taxi home, we watch for this Greek flag that signals the taxi should stop and let us off, as from this corner, we walk down quite a number of steps to reach our front door. Then, of course, we walk up two flights of stairs, carrying our groceries, etc. as there is no DSC05714.jpgelevator.

We are definitely enjoying Thessaloniki—-the apartment, the food, the sites. The people are so friendly to us—-cab drivers, persons on the street, etc.

Posted in 2019, Thessaloniki, Greece | Leave a comment

#2 Thessaloniki, Greece,May 10, 2019

Sunday we started our sightseeing by looking at the first two places on a walking tour layed out in the Lonely Planet. Our apartment is right near the walls that were first built in Roman times and later updated in the 5th C and 13th C. We walk past them (and through the gate) each time we walk to the supermarket.

We also visited the Vlatadon Monastery, the only one in Thess that’s still open and working. Many families were visiting—-Burt was amazed that in the Greek Orthodox Mass being said, a young woman holding a toddler was acting as Altar Boy, serving Mass. Since Burt was an Altar Boy in his youth, he thought this quite outstanding.

We continued our walk to ‘our area’ where the supermarket is (not open on Sunday) and we each had a Greek coffee and shared a piece of cheese pie as our breakfast.

The next day we did some shopping in earnest. We stopped in at Jack the Butcher’s but no suckling pig—-maybe Wednesday. Then to the bakery and the supermarket. We lugged home all our supplies, which included such spiffy items like garbage bags and detergent for the washer.

It’s a clear day today and we can see Mt. Olympus across the bay—-it has snow on the top.

 

More grocery excursions—-buying a leg-of-lamb to roast; having access to lovely fresh garlic;

 

 

 

 

 

stopping at the souvlaki to pick up some mutton souvlaki pita sandwiches to take home.

The weather is cool but sunny. Spring is late here, too.

Thursday we made a little excursion to see the 5th C. Church of Osios David. It involved going down lots of steps and steep streets, which we had to navigate upwards, too,

Stay tuned!

Posted in 2019, Thessaloniki, Greece | Leave a comment

#1 Thessaloniki, Greece, May 4, 2019

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Dear Everybody,

Burt and I are traveling again—-this time to Thessaloniki, Greece. I was here once about 10 years ago, and thought I would add it to my short list of where I would go when I got too old to hop on a bus every other day and stay in hostels. Well, that time has come and so my partner, Burt, and I have rented an apartment here for the month of May. We flew from Minneapolis to Amsterdam on May 1st, just barely missing out on volunteering to take a two-hour later flight for a Delta voucher of $800! They were oversold, but unfortunately for us, four people didn’t turn up to take the flight so they didn’t need our seats. We also have tried a new travel device to keep from getting so tired—-we stayed overnight at a hotel in the Amsterdam airport before going on to Thessaloniki the next day. And THAT was an experience!

It was the MCitizen’s Hotel, about one block from the terminal. Easy to walk and push our new luggage with 4 wheels.  When we arrived, we found a lobby that was VERY modern and full of places to sit, drink, lounge, etc.  We were confronted with computers—you check yourself in—-it said to put in my last name and first name—it didn’t find my reservation.   Since I couldn’t make it work, a helper came. The helper put in the confirmation code, which I had—-Burt’s name came up.  They had asked for both guests’ names; then since his was the man’s name, they changed the reservation to his name.  I had put the reservation in my name, and in fact, my print-out of the reservation showed that. Ironically Burt and I had both watched the movie on the plane called “On the Basis of Sex” about Ruth Bader Ginsburg arguing in front of the Supreme court in favor of women’s rights 50 years ago!!

Got to our room—crazy.  The TV kept proclaiming, “Welcome Citizen Burton!”  The toilet was in middle of the room—you pulled two semi-circles of frosted glass shut; shower, the same—also in the middle of the room and you pulled together 2 semi-circles of plain glass; there was a huge square bed in one end of the room, which was against the wall on three sides. There was one chair, no closet but a few hooks.  There was info about the ‘mood pad’ with which you controlled everything electronically like blinds, heat, etc.  It was an Apple device like an iPad and was also the clock.

When we napped we lay down in the bed as it was—-Burt on the outside and me on the inside.  Of course when I wanted to go to the bathroom I had to climb over him.  We finally figured out we could sleep with heads to the window and feet to the room, by which means we could each climb out without going over the other.  Still, not too handy!

We got up very early the next morning and checked into Transavia Airlines to Thessaloniki.  Flight left at 9:40 AM and we arrived at 2:00 their time (one hour ahead of Amsterdam).  We got a taxi to the apartment.  It is located in Old Town on a tiny street.
Kon, our host, spent 2 hours orienting us and fixing my ‘What’s App’ thing on my iphone to use his directions to places.  He showed us how to walk to the supermarket, restaurants and taxi stand.  Later we did, and bought a few things at the supermarket. Then we ate a meal at a lovely restaurant.  We had eggplant/feta cheese salad, veal and calamari, which we shared.  I had oozo and Burt had beer.  It was all very good.  We expect to be well fed in Greece!

Our apartment is great!  Good things are: killer view over city and water (can see Mt. Olympus on a clear day);

 

 

 

 

 

big LR with lovely furniture; nice DR table with 6 upholstered chairs; 2 small balconies; 2 good-sized bedrooms; kitchen with regular stove with oven and regular refrigerator, also a washer; interesting neighborhood, with lots of cats.

 

 

 

Bad Things: shower and bathroom are tiny, and have no hot water unless you put it on 40 minutes in advance; the apartment is on 2nd (our third) floor with no elevator.

 

This morning we again walked over to the area where we were  yesterday to get a taxi to go to the Modiano market downtown.  This market is one reason this town was on my short list—-it is the BEST!  Burt bought wonderful seafood and lamb, along with many veggies for his  cooking for the next few days.  

 

 

After all our shopping we had brunch at a little restaurant in the market. 

 

 

We shared a   Greek salad (with bread to sop up all the good olive oil in the bottom of the dish), grilled  sardines and mussels
Saganaki, which was a mussel soup with hot peppers and feta.  

Even though it was only 12:00, we each had a glass of  ‘wine from the barrel,’ which was very fresh and light.  

To go home, we flagged a taxi down in the street, but had trouble communicating our destination with the driver.  Our apartment is on a tiny street that nobody has ever heard of, but Kon had written down an intersection nearby where we could be let off.  Well, that didn’t do it, so I called Kon and he and the driver had a very long conversation that got us home!  Now Burt has started cooking for tomorrow——stay tuned!

Posted in 2019, Thessaloniki, Greece | Leave a comment

#2 (final) Amsterdam, March 13, 2019

Dear Everybody,

Our vacation is now over and we have come home to piles of snow!

Last Saturday we again went to the Seafood Bar for lunch. This time I had a Plateau of Seafood—-about 10 kinds in all. Burt had Turbot, which really tasted awfully good, but I couldn’t resist having the ‘Plateau.’

 

We followed this with a concert at the Concertgebouw by the Netherlands Philharmonic. The program included a wonderful Bartok viola concerto. A Zimmerman Symphony included the big pipe organ, which was also great, finishing with some Beethoven for dessert! Our seats were in back of the orchestra, which was fun, as you really can’t see much of the players from down front.

Back to our apartment—-each day the maid comes to clean—-she even does the dishes in a tiny dishwasher. What a nice place to stay!

Some observations:

*Dutch women do not wear earrings and do not have pierced ears, for the most part. A     few women wear them, but they may be tourists.
*Amsterdam is very ‘organized’ and clean. People seem to be very earnest about using recycling receptacles.
*We have seen almost no obese people in Amsterdam. What must they think when they come to the USA?

We attended a Sunday morning concert by a choral group called Groot Omroepkoor—— sensational—-lots of modern stuff, all acapella
—-how can they do that??  Many of the singers had tiny tuning forks tied on their wrists.

Then there was a harpist, Lavinia Meijer, who played with the singers for one number, and then played Clair de Lune solo, which was lovely.

At noon, we partook of a brunch at the Concertgebouw, which included a lovely glass of Moet Chandon champagne; then a ‘lunch,’ which was rather ordinary, but the setting was fun.

 

 

 

 

As usual, we stopped in the supermarket on the way home. It, too, is located right in this vicinity.

That evening we heard David Fray play J. S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” Unfortunately our seats were such that we never could see him well. The music was great, though.

And the next morning—-an upset tummy for me! I had to stay in all day, what a drag. Burt did go to the Van Gogh Museum, which he enjoyed.

The following day all was well, and we went to the Rijksmuseum. Of course we saw Rembrandt’s “Night Watch,” and many other of the Dutch Masters.

 

 

 

 

We even saw three small Van Goghs.

 

 

 

 

We had lunch at a Rijsttafel restaurant before walking home in a very cold wind. The weather has not been pleasant, but our activities were mostly indoors, with only small distances to walk. 

Amsterdam is a lovely city—-we really enjoyed it.

Carol 

Posted in 2019, Amsterdam | 2 Comments

#1 Amsterdam, March 8, 2019

Dear Everybody,

Yes, here I am again, traveling to Amsterdam with my partner, Burt. This is just a little 10-day break from the winter. We left Minneapolis on Monday, March 4th, arriving in Amsterdam on Tuesday, March 5th. And we left the below-zero temps and another blizzard that is coming this weekend.

Arriving in Amsterdam, we got a taxi (Tesla car) to take us to Nova Apartments. We’re in a beautiful historic neighborhood with a lovely small apartment, very near to the three BIG museums (Stedelijk, Van Gogh, and Rijksmuseum) and the Concertgebouw, the premier concert venue of all of Europe. How lovely to go to a beautiful concert, walking just 4 minutes to and fro.

The apartment has a small kitchenette, living room and small bedroom and bath.

The kitchen just barely works
for Burt, although Netherlands cuisine isn’t as interesting for him to cook, compared with French or Italian.

We made a visit to the local supermarket, which is located next to and under the Stedelijk Museum, stocking up on snacks and things to cook. We also located a liquor store, buying some jenever, a substitute for gin. (I thought it fine, but Burt thought it tasted yeasty.)

Wednesday, Burt made a lovely pengasus fish dinner, with potatoes and tomato/ gorgonzola cheese salad. At 8:00 we walked four minutes to the Concertgebouw for a wonderful concert of Mahler’s 7th Symphony by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. I had booked seats on the internet a few weeks in advance. At the time it was almost sold out. Well, when we arrived we had the dumbest seats on opposite sides of the hall. Mine was the worst. It was a chair against the wall with me looking at a pillar and a five-foot stage. Looking up, I could barely see any of the musicians. Burt came over and, lovely person that he is, insisted on changing seats with me as his seat was somewhat better.

We had heard that the acoustics of this concert hall are outstanding; they REALLY are! This symphony included a mandolin, a guitar, and two harps. We could hear each part clearly, while it blended with the rest of the large orchestra. Hearing that Mahler Symphony was a thrill.

The next day we had a croissant and cappuccino in a nearby patisserie before going to the Stedelijk Museum. This is their modern art museum, and since this is the most liberal city in Europe, much of it was too far out for us.

 

 

 

There was a featured artist, though, called Raquel Van Haver, that had some outstanding paintings.

That evening we again were at the Concertgebouw, this time in the ‘small hall’ which isn’t very small, again with funny jump seats on the side of the regular aisle of seats. A patron told us that most people present had season tickets, which was why these were the only seats available on the internet a few weeks ago. Still we could see and hear very well——the Kopelman Quartet, made up of four older Russian men. It was a lovely program of Mozart, Kissin, and Tchaikowsky.

Interestingly, wine and soft drinks were provided for everybody at the intermission! 

The weather has been cool and misty, except for the first day when the sun shone all day. It really hasn’t interfered with our activities, as they’re pretty much all indoors. 

The bicycles in this city are amazing. There are bicycle lanes next to the pedestrian walks,
on which great numbers of bicycles and motor scooters whizz past. It certainly keeps the car traffic from being too dense, but one has to BEWARE when crossing at the corners, as they come fast. 

 

This morning we went to the Rijksmuseum to see a special presentation of all the Rembrandts in the museum, except the “Night Watch,” his most famous one. We will go back to see the rest of the Dutch Masters and the Night Watch on Tuesday, and we shall eat in their Michelin-stared restaurant, which reservation we confirmed today. The Rembrandts were wonderful and yes, I can see what special lighting he incorporated in his paintings.

 

 

 

From there we walked to The Fish Bar and had a fabulous lunch of Fin de Claire oysters, razor clams, and several other kinds of seafood. Burt introduced me to a new wine, called Rias Baixas. 

Home to rest and have some special herring for an evening supper. Burt claims that this is how the Dutch eat this herring!

 

 

 

We’re certainly enjoying Amsterdam! 

Carol 

Posted in 2019, Amsterdam | Leave a comment