A travel journal
to Amsterdam by Matt Keedy
Quote: A 3-week cruise down the waterways of Europe--from Amsterdam to Budapest--is a mixture of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that will mix and mingle into a crescendo of senses.
Restaurant | "De Waag"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 11, 2003
Restaurant Café in de Waag
Restaurant | "Bilderberg Restaurant at Kasteel Doorwerth"
It was a wonderful leisurely lunch stop. We dined inside the restaurant itself, in the former carriage house, under imposing candle chandeliers. The food and service were impeccable, and although this was a leisurely lunch, it was also a restaurant where one should mind their manners!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 12, 2003
DOMINIO (KNSM--Iaan 301): Retro-Italian
**WORLD OF WONDERS (next door to Dominio--Iaan 293-299): Eclectic interiors from Surrey to Siam
*KEET (Iaan 303): Things for the kids
**POL'S POTTEN (Iaan 39): Dutch hybrid of Urban Outfitters and Smith & Hawken
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 11, 2003
There is also a fair collection from the 18th and 19th centuries. Other collections include Delft Blue and children's doll houses. This is one of the great art museums of Europe and I highly recommend going on a guided tour, or purchasing a guided tour book or tape.
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1071 ZD
+31 20 674 70 00
Attraction | "Kroller Muller Museum/Park Hoge Veluwe"
The Kroller Muller museum is near Arnhem, in the Netherlands. I have been twice and highly recommend it. It is a lot less crowded than the museums in Amsterdam, and the setting is so relaxing it is easy to become absorbed in the art and the surroundings.
The museum was named after Helene Kroller Muller, the daughter of a German industrialist who amassed an extensive collection of van Gogh's work and then started adding impressive works by Suerat, Picasso, Leger, Mondrian, and many other artists' significant work. The museum sits in a national park that was part of the extensive land holdings of the Kroller Muller family, who used it as a hunting estate at the turn of the century.
In 1961, a sculpture garden was added, which has become one of the largest in Europe. It is beautifully tended and very relaxing to stroll through. It shows the developments of sculpture through the end of the 19th century and includes exceptional pieces by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Serra, Mario Merz, Jean Dubuffet, and Claes Oldenburg, amongst others.
The museum is a wonderful legacy combining the arts of architecture, sculpture, nature, and painting--a unique combination that seems to draw art and nature enthusiasts from around the world.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 12, 2003
Kroller Muller Museum
The best aspect of the park is the 1,000 white bicycles that are free to visitors. The park has over 42km of scenic cycle paths, and visitors can pick up bikes at any entrance to the park or at the visitor center. Specially adapted bicycles for disabled visitors are also available. I spent a whole day here riding bicycles through the park, eating alfresco at one of the two restaurants, and exploring the Kroller Muller Museum, which houses one of the world's largest collections of van Goghs and a sculpture garden featuring Rodin (among others). See my separate write-up for the museum. There is also an excellent visitor center, where you can learn more about the nature, landscape, wildlife, culture, and history of the park.
This is a great cultural "day away" for the family, as you can easily combine outdoor explorations and riding bikes with a heavy dose of art. What a combo!
De Hoge Veluwe National Park
I joined the Swiss II in Amsterdam, unpacked in my luxurious room, and 18 days later tried to re-pack it all back in with the added souvenirs! Along the way, I made a lot of new friends and enjoyed the leisurely pace of river travel as I watched Europe, literally, pass me by.
All of the passengers were older Americans. During the summer, the ship is chartered by Intrav, which staffs each cruise with its own travel directors and cruise staff. The crew was made up of quite friendly young men and women from around Europe. All spoke English. Joanie, our cruise director, was helpful in making all sorts of arrangements--including a cake and candles at our farewell dinner at Gundel's Restaurant in Budapest.
My stateroom was well appointed with minibar, rich wood paneling, and two beds formed in an L-shape--which opened up the space. By day there were extra pillows, perfect for lounging and looking out the huge picture windows or watching CNN Europe on the in-room cable TV. I especially appreciated the closets, which were well lit with mirrors and lights that automatically turned on when the doors were open.
The historian typically held court on the sun deck, giving narratives as we passed castles and points of interest. He also was responsible each evening for leading after-dinner walks through the villages we tied up at in the evening (no night cruising). Every evening during cocktail hour, Joanie did a briefing for the following day, which was very helpful. The guests immediately settled into an unhurried rhythym.
Food is plentiful and always available (unfortunately). I enjoyed ordering bottles of wine in the dining room--they would keep the corked bottles from night to night so I could share with my table companions. Everything was absolutely first-class--and with Intrav, every single sightseeing trip (at least one a day) was included (hence costing a bit more than other lines, so check and see what is and isn't included). I never thought I would enjoy a river cruise so much, but I am now a convert!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 12, 2003
21 Jonge Roelensteeg
I sense that everyone is hiding somewhere nearby--that a whole city lies behind a closed door waiting to yell "surprise!" This is the city of Anne Frank. I am sure she knew this same silence on mornings when she was too scared to tip-toe in her attic for fear of being caught or seen by the unseen. The houses here have rearview mirrors in the upper floors, adjusted so one can sit in front of the TV and knit, while keeping track of the neighbors' comings and goings down below on the street. Such discretion might be advised for the prostitutes who sit in their windows and wait for customers.
I hear a new sound and look up. The apex of every roof here has a hook that's used as a pulley to lift furniture in and out of homes when moving since the stairways are too narrow. Although Dutch wives will tell you they use these hooks to lift their husbands to bed when they come home from the bar (whence the name, "flying Dutchman"!), I see enough being used this morning to know otherwise!
I find a gym and run off my jet-lag, then with map in hand, I start to re-explore one of my favourite European cities. It's spring so the tulips are in bloom and every corner finds buckets upon buckets of brightly-colored flowers being sold to passerby. Although I have been to Amsterdam many times, I have never visited the house of Anne Frank, so I decide that this time I will. It is haunting to go up the narrow staircases and see how small the rooms actually are. I am suddenly back in Mrs. Shadiow's eighth-grade English class reading The Diary of Anne Frank.
For lunch, I head over to Cafe in DeWaag which advertises its menu as "international cuisine with a Flemish twist." DeWaag was originally built as the city's gatehouse and the restaurant is within its turreted and sinister exterior. Inside a beautiful high-ceilinged, fairy-tale café is exposed.
After a leisurely lunch, ship embarkation begins, so I wander over to the station and look at the boats in the harbor. I see the Swiss II, walk over, and embark.
Ann Franks House (Princengracht 263, 9am-7pm)
Cafe in DeWaag (Nieumarkt 4)
A Bigger Splash (gym) (26-30 Looiersgracht)
Amsterdam is known for its tree lined canals, great nightlife and shopping and its beautiful multi-lingual people, including our guide Greta whom we met this morning. As seasoned traveler I usually shun rubberneck tours on buses in favor of independent exploration; today, however, I was reminded of what a wonderful tool an excellent guide can be.
We drove by the sites of Amsterdam such as the Royal Palace and the Mint Tower before pulling up to the Riksmuseum. Amsterdam has over 50 museums and galleries, but the most comprehensive collection of 16th and 17th century Dutch paintings are here. The collection includes Rembrandts and Vermeers amongst others. Our tour also included the Delft collections. Had I not been in a group tour I probably would have lingered a little longer, but I do feel I got more value for the collections I did see because of the excellent guides and their ability to agily move us from one exhibit to another without wasting much time.
After our museum morning we headed out into the countryside, leaving Amsterdam. A little after noon we arrived at the 12th century Doorwerth Castle where we dined at the wonderful Bilderberg Restaurant. Doorwerth Castle lies about 8km from Arnhem. The castle dates back from the Middle Ages, was badly damaged in the Battle of Arnhem, and has now been beautifully restored to its original splendor. We crossed the moat into the walled castle and arrived at the restaurant itself which is in the carriage house for a lunch that sizzled our taste buds. Afterwards we explored the castle which houses three different museums.
We left the castle and drove for an hour or so to Hoge Veluwe National Park. Six years ago I spent a long weekend in Amsterdam when I was living in Hungary and came out to the Kroller Muller Museum and Hoge Veluwe National Park. It was wonderful! I rented a bike at the park's edge and rode to the museum, enjoying the fields of flowers in bloom. I missed riding the bikes this time, but the museum was no less impressive.
Started by Helene Kroller-Muller, daughter of a German industrialist, the museum houses an incredible collection of art collected by Mrs. Muller. It includes extensive works by van Gogh, Suerat, Picasso, Leger and Mondrian. The land was originally bought by the Kroller-Muller family and is now a national park. The museum was built in 1938 and an incredible sculpture garden was added in 1961. The garden, one of the largest in Europe, houses pieces by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Serra, Mario Merz, Jean Dubuffet and Claes Oldenburg. I love this museum! It is so relaxing to walk the gardens, the park and then stroll inside for a feast of art. Don't miss it!
By this time we had had a full day, so it was back to the ship, docked further downstream -- home. We were someplace new and yet, I didn't have to pack and unpack today -- everything was just as I had left it in Amsterdam! Ahhh.