Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Tonight I am a tourist"

There's a lady at work who invited me to go to a yoga class at her gym last night. I was more than excited to go... until I found out it would cost me 16 Euros for a 1 hour class. Well... determined to make an effort to make it there by 7pm, even though it was more than I would like to pay, I left work right at 5pm. Luckily for me, the metro was waiting for my arrival, but the tram to my house was not as kind as I waited for it for 15 minutes. Even still, I was on track to make it to the gym on time. That was until I passed my stop by quite a ways, because I was too engrossed in the book I'm reading. I then had to walk home, and didn't get there until 6:15. So I gathered my things and ate dinner, of course. I was all set and ready to go, left my house in just enough time to make the tram (so I thought)... and missed it by a few seconds. And because I missed it, I couldn't make it to the gym by 7:00. Was I disappointed? Not really. Maybe I unconsciously willed myself to miss my stop, or not leave 2 seconds sooner to make the tram to the gym… or maybe it was just fate. If I had a bike though, none of that would be an issue.

Ah... a bike. How I can't wait to buy one. Instead, I have to submit myself to the wills of public transportation. Is that a bad thing? Definitely not... I love not having to drive, and to be able to do something else during my commute other than focus on the road.

Anyway, last night I did not do yoga. Instead I took the opportunity to play tourist. Since moving here, I've felt this undefined embarrassment to take pictures of things (I want to blend in I guess). So, I had to keep running this phrase in my head last night... "Tonight I am a tourist." It worked, and I ended up with some good photos because of it.
Due to my yearning desire for a bike, I ended up taking a lot of pictures of them. It's actually not a difficult thing to do, since (I think) there are more of them here than there are people. Bikers have their own special lane as well, since there is as much bike traffic as automotive traffic.
I walked to Museumplein where a number of museums are located, and put my money to better use than yoga. I bought a year long pass that is valid for a large number of museums all over Holland. For those of you who are planning on visiting Amsterdam at some point in your lives, I highly recommend getting one. It only cost 40 Euros, and to visit one museum costs 10. You do the math. For me, it’s an investment well spent… especially since I’ve been to 2 museums since last night.
I spent my evening with Rembrandt and a few other Dutch painters of that era at the Rijksmuseum (first opened in 1830). Unfortunately, only the left wing is open due to construction, but I was able to see a large number of paintings, along with Rembrandt’s famous “Night Watch”.
After my visit with the artistic masters of the Golden Age, I walked around the park behind the museum. I was lucky enough to find a 3 second gap to get a picture in front of the I amsterdam sign (see beginning of this post - also note: the Rijksmuseum is right behind me). Granted I waited for 10 minutes, but the 3 seconds I found was quite a rare occasion, since it is a highly touristic spot, and generally looks like this.


Courtney said...

Great pictures! Thanks for being a "tourist" for the night so I can enjoy some of the sights of Amsterdam!

ReL said...

We should have bike lanes here... perhaps more people would ride their bike places.
I love the I AmSterdam picture of you but the other one was pretty funny too, with all those people standing on the sign and such.
I'm glad you spent your money on the museum pass instead of the Yoga, a much better investment in my opinion. I also can't wait to see a picture of your bike when you finally get one!