The Dutch know how to make their homes comfortable. Thanks to the Dutch habit of living without curtains and window blinds, we were able to peek at wooden book shelves, inviting armchairs and lights so yellow that you would think they have not yet stopped selling light bulbs in the Netherlands.
While we walked the cold and sometimes wet streets, they sat inside, enjoying books, hot drinks and a coziness that looked hard to beat. And if they did venture outside, they laughed and drank* in warmly lit bars, pubs and breweries just a little away from the overcrowded center.
* Well, we did also see that one guy who kicked another man off his bike. He would better have stayed at home and been comfortable instead of walking the streets.Van Gogh decided to become a painter at the age of 27 and worked hard to get there. I think that I somehow assumed that he had just started to paint in those bright, expressive colors right away. Instead, he started with rather dark images and learned through a lot of practice.
I share this bit of knowledge with more than a million annual visitors of the museum. We bought ticket vouchers in advance so that we could use the fast track queue but we still had to wait over an hour. Since we had nothing else to do, we observed the queues and understood that the fast track queue was not really faster but only shorter. If you are planning to visit the museum, try to book timed tickets on the internet or check the weather forecast carefully. Depending on what the sky has to offer, ticket vouchers and museum cards still buy you an hour-long wait in the rain, snow or heat.
Meat can be made from soy. In search for something to eat, we walked into a place called De Vegetarische Slager (The Vegeterian Butcher). We entered without really knowing what to expect, and discovered that almost everything in there was made with fake meat. We sure did expect everything to be vegetarian and we were happy about that. But we were extremely skeptical about fake meat. But we were also extremely hungry, so we ordered “chicken” sandwiches. And if we had not known that the meat was made from soy, we would not have been able to tell it was not real. Even the texture was very close to actual chicken. The portions are not large and it is not cheap but I would recommend a visit if you ever come across one of their branches – there are several in the Netherlands.
Time of visit: December 2014
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