Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Today we went into Amsterdam. I really enjoyed the day. It was not an academic day. We were to imagine what life was like in the 17thCentury. We started out touring a 17th Century ship, but it was a replica of 'The Amsterdam", A trade ship. It would of had 320 persons on board and all the cargo in the hold that they imported and exported. The boat's officer's deck and the deck for the crew reminded me of 'Master and Commander', but it was a trade ship not a war ship. We were beginning to understand the commerce center that Amsterdam became after the 80 years war. They controlled the largest port at Antwerp and the city of Amsterdam. 60% of the population was urbanized. The stock exchange for shares began here in Amsterdam. They quickly became an economic powerhouse which meant people had a high standard of living. Even farmers could buy art work for their homes. The marinar's museum was closed due to renevations so we did not see the ship and ship yard paintings. She rearanged the day. We went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum that had displays of life from the 17th C. There were also models of Rembrandt and a torture chamber. The torture chambers of the men condemed to death was hilarious. The girls were screaming and afraid. I think at one time I had three of them clinging to me and then I screamed when a man in white jumped out of the darkness at me and well, that set them off screaming again. I laughed and laughed. I sure am with a great group of people. Unfortunately one of the girls from Albania I believe, named Ame did not meet the group on time after the museum and the instructor is very strict about this, so she decided to leave her behind. I am not sure I would like that! The girl did have her return train ticket on her and should be alright. Next we went to the Amsterdam Historical Museum and gained perspectives about before, during, and after the Golden Age. Here we looked at some paintings that are not very famous. One grouping was about 'painting anatomy'. Here we saw some interesting images. The one by Rembrant was about a surgeon exploring the brain in an autopsy of a prisoner who was executed. Another was about a still born infant and the men all studying the corpse. You saw the trade and morality influences of the Prodestent and Calvin Churches. I began to understand why the Dutch are considered one of the most tolerant people on the globe, then and now. I also understand their relationship with Germany and Spain. More to learn. However we had a treat, as next she put us on a Holand International, cruise boat. We had a wonderful one hour cruise of the harbour and canals. I took like a 100 photos. I love the tall, slim architecture with its decorative facades. I was intregued by the floating communities along the canal walls and the bycicles rule. Our instructor said that when a Dutch person gets on a bike they become cycotic (pun on psychotic and cycle)! How true. You had to be aware all the time of trams and bikes. I tried to capture with my camera the transportation. I was most surprised by the parkades like our stadium on campus for vehicles, but here it is full of layers and layers of bikes. Being on the canal made my day. It was also amusing to see the Dutch out enjoying the heat. They were sitting along the canal walls, having a cool one. Many were in their bathing suits cruising the canals in their motor boats and some were even jumping off the dock in the harbour. I am not sure if they should be in the water, but they enjoyed getting wet. When we were back in Utrech we saw a group in front of a cafe with their feet all in a kid's swimming pool. On the train back we made a mistake and went into first class. We had to then find a seat in second class but were not successfull. Sveva, Marie, Corrina and I are a travel buddy group. I stood for a third of the trip then got a seat by a young man from Amsterdam. We visited about the soccer world cup and the Tour d' France. After super it was 'drink night' for students at the local Irish pub. I went for a couple of hours. I knew people at five tables - go figure. It was fun, but I am too tired to carry on all night, plus I need to do my journal!! I am going to bed and will post this tomorrow. It is almost midnight here Tuesday, July 20th.