Saturday, April 20, 2013

Amsterdam - Day 2

I caught the Number 10 tram down to Weesperplein in the morning.  I had considered walking but glad I didn't as it was a fair way down.  I got off near the Intercontinental Hotel and started walking to the Hermitage.  About five minutes later I realised I probably was going the wrong direction, so decided to ask someone.  They didn't know so I backtracked to the hotel and asked the doorman who put me right.  I asked about the hotel and it was built in 1866..  This is looking down the Amstel River with the Hotel on the left..

And this is the back of the hotel...

I walked along the river stopping to take photos...

This is a canal leading off the river with a whole lot of houseboats lining it.  Apparently you can rent these out, but Anne tells me they are quite expensive.

The Magreg Bridge which pops up in the middle  to let higher boats through

A boat coming through the locks..  The boats ply up and down the river quite frequently.  I saw no less than 4-5 in the short time I was there..

Another house boat, but I think this one is one that can be moved, and not fixed at the side of the canal.

Spring is really only starting and the trees are only in early bud - but I can tell each day they get a little more green.  It makes the canals really pretty..

Tulip planter boxes are everywhere...

I kicked myself for not carrying my bigger lenses when these two birds put on a sprigtime love display.  I watched them for a while and saw one dive under the water and grab the leg of a coot swimming nearby pulling that under.  With great squawking and much ado, the Coot went off in a huff leaving these two talking about it.  This is the second time I've seen birds do this and I wonder if they have a sense of humour!

The Hermitage and my destination where I saw the Vincent Van Gogh Exhibition and then Peter the Great - the Russian Tsar exhibition on the other side.

The Van Gogh was quite crowded, and once again no loop system for the audio guide so I had to push in to read all the blurbs next to the paintings.  I hadn't realised Van Gogh only 'decided' to be an artist at the age of 27, and that he even studied Japanese art.  So I learnt quite a bit today.

We weren't meant to take any photos but i couldn't resist and sneaked in a couple...   This one was a self Portrait as an artist.  The other one was taken in the gardens of the sanitorium he was at..

I then headed back to the apartment for a much needed rest and waited for Anne to get off work.  We then went for a walk through Vondelpark which was stunningly beautiful.  Lots of birds too - I saw my first stork, green parrots - also making love in plain sight!  Ducks, Egyptian Geese, and a wonderful heron.  All very obliging for photos.  I plan to go back with my big lens in a few weeks.

The park was beautiful in the late afternoon sun, throwing wonderful shadows...

Loved seeing people enjoying the park...

The magpies here have lovely colours - compared to our black and white monsters in New Zealand
Spring was in the air...
My first Stork
And the lovely Great Heron.

We then headed to the airport and flew to Porto, Portugal for the weekend.  We're both extremely tired though and not racing around quite yet.

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