visiting van gogh – my blog is still in holland while i’m in greece

I’m back on Paros and I haven’t yet caught up on blog posts from my trip. So in order to catch you up and move on, I figured I’d start with my last day which was a visit to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

I’ve always had a kind of hit and miss relationship with the work of ol’ Vincent, but there was plenty to see and it was actually quite interesting to see painting he did in his explorations of styles and colour.

There were a lot of self portraits…
I was particularly taken with this painting of red cabbages… perhaps due to my recent experience dyeing fabric with it… Nah. I think I just liked it.
One of my favourite paintings. It was funny to read about how obsessed Vincent was with perspective and how he used a perspective frame when painting. All I could think of was “where was the persepctive frame when he painted his bedroom”.
I especially loved this portrait of a boy…
… and this portrait of a man. Brilliant.
Of course, I loved seeing his tools as well.

Visit the Van Gogh Museum website if you want to see more.

Moving right along…

I have no idea why this trip was the first time I notice/saw/learned about the Stolpersteine

Scattered throughout Europe, planted in the streets and sidewalks of cities whose past is not forgotten, commemorative brass plaques eternalize the lives that were lost in the great tragedy of the 20th century. Called the Stolpersteine (in English: “stumbling stones”), the shiny bronze plaques commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime in more than 1,100 locations in 17 European countries.

More than 45,000 of these stones are solidly rooted across cities in Europe, including 916 places in Germany alone, where large strides have been taken to memorialize Jewish life, history and culture. Each Stolperstein commemorates a victim of the Holocaust at that person’s last known address. The plaque includes the victim’s name, date of birth, deportation date and death date, if known. In Berlin, more than 5,000 Stolpersteine have been carefully implanted in the city’s sidewalks and streets, serving as a constant reminder of the many valuable lives lost tragically during the Holocaust.”

Walking in the streets of the Netherlands, one often comes across a friend in a window…

Or some very strange friends in other windows…

Its always pretty on the narrow streets of old towns with their cobblestone roads. I’ve always loved them.

I saw quite a few buildings with text on their walls. Usually quotes from famous authors like the one below. (Don’t ask me to translate!)

As I’ve said before, the dutch are really good at combining the old with the new – below is the Zutphen town hall where they incorporated the original building into a modern structure with a glass ceiling, creating an interior courtyard with a lobby and reception for the new building.

The first time I ever saw large communal tables in a cafe was in the Netherlands – and I confess I love them. I love sitting at a large table in a cafe anyway, its way more homey than sitting at a tiny table for two. But I also quite like sharing a big table with strangers. I’m odd that way. This cafe in Zutphen didn’t have a huge communal table, but the the idea is still there. Sit and meet new people. Yay. (We didn’t. Inge had reserved a table for three of us.)

I don’t remember the name and don’t have any photos of it, but there was a lovely cafe in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam which had the best, huge, rustic table to share. I spent a lovely day rollerblading in the park with a friend and having a coffee to warm up afterwards at a communal table very much like the one below.

There were also countless hours spent sitting at communal tables in many cafes in Melbourne having coffee or brunch over the years… with rollerblades on and without. ah, those were the days!

Now, just for fun, here are photos of textures… I’m obsessed with textures… I have a huge collection of photos of walls, roads, timber, bark, etc… So, here are some dutch textures.

A cafe wall.
The gate to an old building.
The external wall of a new house with some discolouration to make it interesting.
The external wall of an old house.
The bricks of the Zutphen wall.
A street.
Another street.
Another street.
A fancier street.

I think that wraps up my Netherlands trip.

From now on its back to boring ol’ me and my life and creations on Paros.


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