Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Trip to Amsterdam- Anecdotes and food

In our trip to Holland, there were several incidents worthy to mention.

1)  The kind ticket inspector -  On our way to Zaanse Schans, before we could get off, the door closed.  We actually got confused and did not think we were already where we wanted to get off. As we hurriedly walked towards the central door, where a nearby passenger showed us to go to, realizing that we wanted to get off right then and there, we saw the train inspector who at first told us that it would probably be impossible to stop the train to let us get off, but then when he saw the worried look on our faces, he decided to connect by walkie talkie with the train conductor and with a ray of luck managed to have the door opened so we could get off.  Whew!  that was a big relief...

Psalm 119 The message 169-176 
"And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me! I’ll recognize the sound of your voice".

2)  The lift in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague - Mel bought me an entrance to the museum but as she led me to the entrance, we realized that there was a steep length of stairs that I had to walk up to . Luckily, a guy that seemed to work in the museum walked down the steps and as he stopped before us, I told him how it would be difficult for me to walk up the stairs having arthrosis in my knees. Mel told him that I already bought the entrance ticket and I did not want to miss seeing the exhibits. The guy without any hesitation, led me to what did not seem to be an elevator to me, but it happened to be a gigantic elevator to be camouflaged, like in the movies...  He told me that I should take the elevator and that it would lead me to the first floor  and somebody will receive me  as the door opens up.  But then, I was headed for the second floor where I wanted to see the Vermeer's, Rembrandt's and Jan Hals' collections.  I was led to a second elevator which was also hidden with a curtain that  opened up as I stepped out.  And after I finished going through the exhibit, I only had to call one of the attendants to lead me to the elevator again. Instructions were set up, so I did not have to explain anything.  Wow, I felt very special indeed!

Source:  cob.nl
This elevator that is made of structural glass leads only to the ground floor.   All the steps are not fully shown.

3) The funny Korean waitress at a Japanese restaurant - Mel and I opted to dine in a sushi buffet restaurant with a deal of all you can eat for 27 Euros each, drinks not included.  To order the food, you have to place your order through an ipad that they provide you with.  And you can order by set of 10. At first, we did not know how to do it, even when it seemed so simple, we were just so impressed by the way the young lady explained it to us with her funny accent as she spoke.  (Mel wanted me to copy her on audio, but I didn't, jejeje...).  We had two rounds, of 20 different dishes, plus dessert, unbelievable!  And service was very quick.

There was another place where we had a good meal.  It is a Chinese restaurant by the sea called Sea Palace.  Mel was not too pleased though with her veggan meal.

4)  The hungry Dutchman and the fat man on the plane -  On our way home,  Mel reserved two aisle seats for us.  When we were seated, one at the back of the other, rows 20 and 21, a business-looking Dutchman sat in my row next to the window, and a fat man, like twice as big as I am, asked if he could exchange seat with me since he got the middle seat, so he could take the aisle seat.  I stood up immediately to offer my seat, realizing his predicament but Mel offered her seat as well so we could sit in the same row.  Then I ended up sitting  between Mel and the businessman.  The fat man was so pleased with the exchange and praised me for being a "lovely mother".  (He probably did not realize that it was Mel who made his wish happen!).

When food was served, which was pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, hardly had it been handed when the businessman started to eat so hastily.  He seemed so hungry and for a tall guy like him, that did not seem to be enough.  And he looked at me (as if saying, give it to me if you don't want it) as I doubted whether to eat mine or give it to him, or wait until it got less hot.  I decided to give him 2/3 of my share, plus the dessert.  He said that the pasta was good the first time, but even better with the share I gave him. Hmmm...  I told him he could have asked for another serving from the flight attendant, but he seemed ashamed to ask for more, but not to take my share...  hmmm...  Then we were offered some chocolate squares and he seemed to think that I would give him my share too.  But then I decided to keep it for Mel who was then trying to sleep, sorry for him.

Before we got off, the two men were all praises for Mel and me and even while we were having coffee as we waited for Ron at the airport and as the fat man passed by, he greeted me again and told me to have a pleasant stay.  (He probably thought that I was a tourist, jejeje)...  How simple it is to make others happy! And as someone once said:  "You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."

And then I remembered the dawn as I looked by the window of our hotel room before we left as I waited for Mel to wake up.  I seemed to have seen the waters reflected in the sky, a beautiful scenery of peace and happiness that can only come from the depth of the soul.

Another trip has ended but will remain intact in our memories.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Trip to Amsterdam -The Hague

The Hague is a city in the Netherlands, and is the seat of the Dutch government and a home to the royal family. Its cultural offerings include Jan Vermeer’s famous painting, “The Girl With a Pearl Earring.”  Source Huffingpost.

The first in our list as we visited The Hague was, Madurodam - Park with scale models of a Dutch city.  It is home to a range of 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, historical cities and large developments.

What is most interesting about the Madurodam is that it shows a realistic view of the Netherlands in a scaled down environment.  Everything, including flora (which are all natural and real, except for the giant tulips) and street decoration, is modeled to scale. Producing scaled-down trees is time consuming.  Also, there are a lot of little people around the buildings.  This shows the real life of the Dutch people.  These "residents" also change with the weather.  in the winter they wear jackets and warm clothes and in the summer they wear T-shirts.  The "residents" of Madurodam have become more and more multicultural, and include some who appear to have come from other countries (immigrants), reflecting real life in The Netherlands. Wikipedia.

Transportation by trains was very efficient since they leave  every 15 mins and leave you just across the Madurodam. It was raining when we arrived, but Mel was smart enough to find a place in the snack bar inside Madurodam where we had our lunch as we waited for the rain to stop.  Surely enough, after a quick lunch of a sandwich, salad and "Chocomel" the sun came out and I could take all the pictures I wanted.  Here are some of them:

This car is cable controlled to deliver an order for clogs.  Anyone can insert of coin of 1 Euro in a slot machine in front of the field, and the truck delivers the order after going through the field and passing through the factory. Nice!  Aside from the truck, there were others that were controlled automatically, like boats, trains, cars, figures, etc... Even I as an adult enjoyed watching the animated objects.  Note:  This tulip field is made up of tiny glass.

Aside from the Madurodam, Mel bought for me a ticket to enter the Mauritshuis Museum.  It contains a government collection of 841 objects of art with works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Holbein the Younger, mostly Dutch Golden Age paintings.  But I was mainly interested in the paintings of Vermeer, specially the "The Girl with Pearl Earring".

It took me some time to get to see the painting since there were several people wanting to get close to it and some even wanted to be pictured with the painting!  Then I was left by myself to enjoy Vermeer's paintings.  What a wonderful experience.  Vermeer had two other paintings in The Hague and two others in the Rijskmuseum so it was really a big pleasure for me, thanks to Ron and Mel's taking me to Holland.


Binnenhof, a complex of buildings in the city center of The Hague, next to the Hofvijver lake.  Wikipedia

After visiting the Mauritshuis, we went directly to discover the  Scheveningen beaches.  The Hague is the only major city in the Netherlands that lies directly on the sea.  With 11 kilometers of coastline to enjoy for hours.  Unfortunately,  it was too cold that day, but Mel had to go to see the beach, and off we went.

The pier was long and filled with places where to eat, but mostly closed by the time we arrived. There was also a terrace where one could take a view of the beach.

Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus the luxury hotel in the Hague overlooking the Scheveningen with a breathtaking views of The Hague.

And to end the day we dined near the sea while watching the sunset.  Nothing could be any better!