December 30, 2005 in Travel

Amsterdam: Day Two: Museum Quarter

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I decided to spend the day exploring more museums. So after breakfast at McDonald’s (hey, it was cheap and quick), I walked towards the Museum Quarter. Not 10 minutes into the walk, I got distracted by another department store, C&A. There I tried on even more winter coats, but once again, I resisted the urge. As I got closer to the Museum Quarter, I also resisted the urge to browse the many antique stores that lined Nieuwe Spiegelstraat Street. It was tempting, but I wanted to allow adequate time to browse the museums.
I finally made my way to the Rijksmuseum which I would consider a must see for anyone visiting Amsterdam. I know this might seem like an overstatement, but it has some of the best artwork I’ve seen in any museum and I’ve visited quite a few around the world. The best of the collection was by far the 17 paintings by Rembrandts. The Night Watch, one that many consider his piece de resistant, had me transfixed for a good half an hour.
After Rijksmuseum, I then headed to the Vincent Van Gogh Museum. Now I’ve seen Van Gogh paintings up close before, but to see so many (apparently the museum has about 200 of the 800 he produced in their collection), was somewhat overwhelming. The collection was most remarkable.
After the Van Gogh Museum, I then stopped in at Coster Diamonds, apparently one of the city’s leading diamond-polishing factories. Since I wasn’t really shopping for diamonds, I quickly left and then headed towards Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s answer to Bond Street in London or Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. I didn’t spent much time on this street either since I was a little too intimidated to go in any of the boutiques. They were just a big too trendy and I’m sure too expensive for my taste.
I then decided to head back to the hotel and found myself walking through Leidseplein. After realizing I was close to the American Hotel where my friends were staying, I decided to head there to see if they had checked in. And wouldn’t you know, they had arrived at the hotel 10 minutes earlier. So hung around for quite a bit before heading off to dinner at Goodies located at Huidenstraat 9.
After dinner, I walked back to my hotel and in that the Red Light District was on the way, I decided to walk down Nes and Warmoesstraat two prominent streets in the area. Now I could have chosen to avoid the area, but in that there were lots of people out, I decided why not. Plus, I was somewhat intrigued. Particularly since unlike other cities where this part of the culture is concealed, this is one of Amsterdam’s main attractions. So I quickly walked through trying not to let my mouth hang open too long in shock at the scantly clad women in the windows (some of whom I’m sure where transsexuals). Personally, I think the whole area is over-rated, but then, I’m not the target audience.

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